Asia is aging fast: by 2040, 16 percent of the region's population will be older than 65, more than double the 7.8 percent share in 2015. While the rise in healthy life expectancy is a positive development, this demographic shift poses a serious threat to many economies, which are already losing vitality.

A consistent supply of young, skilled workers was an essential ingredient of Asia's rapid economic catch-up process over the last three decades. But that process is now over, and middle-income countries like China and Vietnam are now facing accelerating population aging. In South Korea, the working-age population (15-64 years) will shrink by 10 percent from 2017 to 2030.

Against this background, the only way to sustain the labor supply — aside from immigration — is to keep people in employment beyond the traditional retirement age. The good news is that a growing number of seniors in Asia are already working. According to the OECD, the share of working South Koreans aged 65-69 was as high as 45 percent and 33 percent for 70-74-year-olds in 2016.