Japan’s labor shortage is so bad that the government is even recruiting old folks who are willing to work.

In accordance with the Respect for the Aged Day public holiday on September 20, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has released the newest estimate for the number of people aged 65 and up in Japan: 36.4 million. That’s up by 220,000 compared to the previous year, with 15.83 million men and 20.57 million women. Perhaps most startlingly, the number of elderly folks now comprises 29.1 percent of the country’s total population, which was estimated to be 125.22 million on September 15. That’s an overall decrease of 510,000 individuals from the previous year as well.

According to a survey by the United Nations, Japan also easily tops the world’s countries in regards to the proportion of elderly people to total population. Italy comes in second place at 23.6 percent and Singapore in third place at 23.1 percent. The country’s declining birth rate, coupled with its increasing labor shortage, has already forced the government to brainstorm various solutions to combat these societal issues, some realistic and some not-so-realistic, including a push to encourage those senior citizens who wish to work to do so.

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Along those lines, the proportion of working elderly people to the total population of working people in Japan is also the highest ever recorded since 1968, with 25.1 percent being actively employed. That number makes up 13.6 percent of the total labor force aged 15 and up, which–you guessed it–is similarly on the record books. To that end, the government is striving to improve working environments for those elderly folks who continue to work in light of the country’s labor shortage crisis. In particular, the revisions to the Act on Stabilization of Employment of Elderly Persons, which went into effect this April, now require companies to make active efforts to support employment opportunities for senior citizens up to 70 years of age, including specialized training.

With the number of elderly people in general and the number of elderly working people reaching record highs, we have to wonder if more media campaigns will begin targeting this demographic. We certainly wouldn’t have any complaints if we saw more of these touching animated commercials for miso featuring a sweet older couple.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun Online
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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