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Politicians must address retirement concerns

15 1 0

As the aging of Japan’s population accelerates, people are increasingly worried about their retirement finances. In a Cabinet Office survey carried out last August, “planning for retirement life” was cited by the largest portion of the respondents (at 55.4 percent) as main sources of their troubles and concern in life. It was against this background that a working group at the Financial System Council of the Financial Services Agency on June 3 released a report titled “Asset building and management in an aging society” — estimating that an average elderly couple whose husband used to work as a company employee and who rely mainly on public pension benefits for income would need ¥20 million in savings to cover their retirement expenses.

Although the public pension falls under the jurisdiction of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the FSA report discussed the issue of funding for retirement life from the viewpoint of emphasizing the importance of people building up their own assets to prepare for retirement expenses. However, the report triggered confused discussions over the ¥20 million figure as follows.

The government has so far explained that the public pension system will be secure for 100 years. But some opposition parties and the members of the media charged that the pension system cannot be called secure for 100 years since it would be unrealistic to expect people to save as much as ¥20 million.

In response to such criticism, Finance Minister Taro Aso, who is also in charge of the FSA, said that he would not accept the report as a formal document out of concern that it might fuel public concern over retirement life. Senior lawmakers in the ruling coalition parties joined the chorus........

© The Japan Times