Record number of elderly workers in 2012

The number of elderly workers in Japan last year hit a record high

The number of elderly workers in Japan last year hit a record high. According to government data, the number of workers aged 60 or above averaged 11.92 million in 2012, setting a record high for the sixth straight year.

The average number of elderly employees last year increased by 170,000 from 2011, accounting for 19% of the nation’s total workforce, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry reported.

Since 2002, the ranks of elderly workers have swelled by some 3.1 million, and their presence in the total workforce increased by five percentage points. Their numbers began surging in 2007, when baby boomers born in the late 1940s began turning 60, reported Japan Times.

While the mandatory retirement age in Japan is 60, more people are continuing to work past that age due to shrinking pension benefits, and the fact that the age at which people start to receive pensions has been raised since 2001 in response to the country’s aging society and falling birth-rate.

Also, since 2006, companies are obliged to continue employing those who wish to do work until the age of 65. Among citizens aged 60 to 64, nearly 60% continued to work in 2012, the data showed.

Meanwhile, in keeping with the ageing population trend, the number of employees aged 15 to 59 fell to 50.78 million in 2012, a plunge of around 3.7 million compared to 2002. The number of workers aged 15 to 29 plummeted by 3.2 million over the same period to 10.44 million, reported Japan Times.

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