National

Diet starts debate on retirement age hike for government workers

JIJI

The Diet on Thursday started debating bills to raise the retirement age of national civil servants at a plenary meeting of the House of Representatives.

According to the legislation, the retirement age, which now stands at 60, would be raised by one every two years starting fiscal 2022 until it reaches 65 in fiscal 2030. The hike, part of the government's social security reforms aimed at creating a system beneficial to all generations, is intended to help veteran workers continue playing active roles at workplace.

"It's important to allow willing people to work by fully displaying their abilities and support society" as the country's working-age population is decreasing amid the graying of society and the sluggish birthrate, Ryota Takeda, minister for civil service reforms, said, underscoring the significance of the legislation.

Meanwhile, government employees who have reached 60 will be removed from managerial positions in principle, a measure designed to increase chances for younger employees to serve in important posts in order to boost their motivation and help each government organization maintain dynamism eventually.

Based on examples of private-sector companies, salaries of national civil servants aged 61 or over will be reduced to 70 percent of the levels they get before reaching the age, to curb personnel costs.

The bills include one to amend the public prosecutors' offices law for raising the retirement age of prosecutors to 65 from 63.

The move comes amid a controversy over a change in the legal interpretation by the government regarding an extension of the retirement age of Hiromu Kurokawa, head of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutor's Office.

At the Lower House plenary meeting, Yuichi Goto of the major opposition Democratic Party for the People claimed that Kurokawa's case clearly shows that issues related to an extension of prosecutors' retirement age could invite political intervention.

Justice Minister Masako Mori rebutted by saying that relevant laws will be implemented appropriately.

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