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In Ehime, G20 labor ministers call for more elderly-friendly working environments

Kyodo

Labor ministers from the Group of 20 (G20) major economies on Monday adopted a joint statement calling for safe and healthy working environments for elderly people as the populations of their countries’ continue to gray.

At the end of the two-day gathering in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, on “Shaping a Human-Centered Future of Work,” the ministers also agreed to work toward correcting the gender gap in employment.

“An aging population will bring new job opportunities associated with the ‘silver economy,’ but without appropriate actions also has the potential to result in shortages of labor and skills, slower economic growth, and poverty and inequality in older age,” the statement said.

“We recognize the importance of promoting an active aging society that enables all to participate in the labor market without discrimination,” it added.

The ministers also agreed on policy interventions targeting older workers and employers, and helping to increase job prospects for the elderly.

Citing long-term care as one of the sectors expected to grow amid aging, the ministers called for improving the quality of jobs in the sector, including wages, working hours, safety and health, and protection from violence and harassment.

The G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, in 2014 made a commitment to reducing the gap in the labor force participation rate between men and women by 25 percent by 2025, and ministers this time said “more needs to be done” to achieve the goal.

“We encourage a more balanced share of household and care responsibilities, including men’s take-up of family-related leave,” the joint statement said, adding that they would tackle gender stereotypes that may be limiting opportunities for working women.

Labor minister Takumi Nemoto pledged at a news conference to implement policies stipulated in the joint statement by cooperating with other G20 countries.

The G20 first held a labor ministers’ meeting in 2010 in Washington. The latest round, the 10th, was the first to be hosted by Japan.