The government’s decision to urge companies to secure employment opportunities for their workers up to the age of 70 aims to make up for Japan’s tightening manpower shortage and help ease the pressure on the social security system brought on by the rapidly aging and declining population. It makes sense to enable the growing ranks of senior citizens to remain in the labor market if they are healthy and willing enough to keep working. At the same time, various challenges lie ahead to keep senior citizens motivated to work longer and under decent conditions.

The law on promoting stable employment of the elderly makes it mandatory for companies to provide jobs for employees if they wish to keep working until they turn 65 — the age at which people in principle become eligible for public pension benefits — by either abolishing or extending the mandatory retirement age — 60 at most Japanese firms — or by rehiring them under a different status after they retire.

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