Policy / Systems / Technology

December 28, 2005


Employment/Labor Policies Proposed for Japan's Era of Declining Population

Keywords: Government Policy / Systems Steady-State Economy 

The Employment Policy Study Group, commissioned by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, published a research report called "Labor Policy Issues in a Society with a Declining Population" on July 27, 2005. The report was specially prepared to help Japan cope with a major turning point expected in 2007 when the nation's population will begin to decline and the first members of the postwar baby boom generation in Japan (born 1947-1949) will reach their sixties, or retirement age.

The report raises issues that should be tackled intensively in 10 policy fields, aiming at creating a society where all people can work, if they want, and live comfortably, and at avoiding socioeconomic stagnation that might come with a declining population. The main issues listed include employment support for youth, women and the elderly, self-support for people who are disabled or on welfare, support for job creation in areas away from the major urban centers, support for development of occupational skills, and arrangements for safe and fair working conditions.

The labor force in 2030 is estimated to decline by 10.5 million from 2005 and by taking these measures, it is thought that the decline can be halved, to 5.3 million. In reference to these suggestions, the ministry will work on planning of future employment policies and make the best use of them for its future policy development.

The Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training surveyed 10,000 companies with 100 or more employees across the nation between December 2004 and January 2005 on their countermeasures against the declining birthrate and the aging of society. Prominent among responses in the field of management were "efforts to cut costs," "greater emphasis on profit rather than on sales," and "creating products and services with high added value." In terms of labor and employment, many companies cited "capacity-building of human resources," "making better use of the elderly by postponing the retirement age, or by reemployment," and "making better use of female workers," in order to compensate for any labor shortage.


Posted: 2005/12/28 08:58:51 PM
Japanese version