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A report compiled in early June by a Financial Services Agency council that estimated that a model household consisting of an elderly couple who lived to the age of 95 would face a shortfall of ¥20 million if they don’t work and rely solely on public pension benefits to cover their expenses, and urged people to build their own assets to help cover their retirement expenses, came under fire from both the ruling and opposition parties. In an unusual move, the Abe administration said it would not accept the report as a formal document, effectively withdrawing a report released by a government panel.

As the opposition parties charged that the report raised doubts about the government’s long-standing claim that public pension finance will be secure “for 100 years,” members of the administration have distanced themselves from it, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling the report “inaccurate and misleading” and Finance Minister Taro Aso — who had commissioned the FSA council to compile the report — saying it not only caused “extreme concern and misunderstanding” but deviated from the government’s policy stance. It is deemed that the administration wanted to silence any controversy over the sensitive issue to avert negative repercussions on the performance of the ruling coalition in the upcoming Upper House election.

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