Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor

Another Cure for Japan’s Shortage of Labor

Japan already has the highest percentage of those over 65 in its workforce of all G-7 countries.

Your editorial “Japan’s Immigration Harbinger” (Dec. 6) correctly underscores the profound and potentially huge shift in Japan’s immigration policy to address “an aging society and [the related] labor shortage.” Yet, your “no good alternatives to foreign workers . . . [noting that] . . . efforts to bring more women into the workforce have yielded modest success . . . [and that] artificial intelligence is a possibility,” but “robots can’t do everything,” completely miss the most obvious answer of people working longer than 20th-century retirement norms. At the November Global Coalition on Aging-Health and Global Policy Institute Active Aging Roundtable in Tokyo, this was precisely the message from Japan’s Keisuke Suzuki, a state minister of finance. And it’s already happening in Japan: At 42%, Japan already has the highest percentage of those over 65 in its workforce of all G-7 countries. Keeping even more Japanese over the 20th-century retirement age working is a very good alternative to the labor shortage brought about by the aging of Japanese society. As the third leg of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic-growth strategy, it is one already producing results.

Michael W. Hodin
CEO, Global Coalition on Aging
New York

Source: Wall Street Journal

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