The graying of Southeast Asia is becoming a reality at much faster rates than previously experienced by the developed countries. Needless to say, the social and economic and political implications raised by the phenomenon of ageing on a massive scale in the region are enormous. Population ageing, for example, would increase the pressure on governments to increase spending on pensions, health and social welfare provisions. In turn, public provisions and capacity to assist the older population are partly determined by a combination of the size of the absolute numbers of older persons and the level of aggregate wealth of a country.
*Ageing Population: Japan*ese Context
The Japanese retirement age, when workers can start receiving pensions, is gradually being increased. Japanese are healthier and can work longer than they could in 1960, and with the labor shortage, working longer has become a necessity. The retirement age was changed to 62 in 2006 and 63 in 2007. It will go to 64 in 2010 and 65 in 2013. (These are for men; for women, the changes phase in later.) Under the Act Concerning the Stabilization of Employment of Older Persons, as revised in 2004, companies must offer some kind of stable employment for employees up to this age. This can be in the form of raising their mandatory retirement age (usually 60), eliminating it, or retaining it but providing new positions for retirees.
Most companies seem to be choosing the last option, re-hiring. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare surveys, companies with official retirement ages of 60 have decreased only slightly, from 91% of the total in 2004 to 86% in 2006. Companies that have publicized their re-hiring programs include Toyota, Aeon, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and several major banks including Sumitomo-Mitsui.
In re-hiring programs, some companies move their senior employees from regular, long-term employment to fixed-term, renewable employment...