Japan salvages its older workers

Fears of a labour crunch and a deficit of skilled workers are growing in Japan as baby boomers start hitting the standard retirement age of 60 this year, in what Japanese media have dubbed the “2007 problem”.

A decline in numbers of young workers is exacerbating the concern as the population ages at an unprecedented pace.

Japan’s proportion of people older than 65 is already the world’s highest at 20 per cent of 127 million. The figure is heading for 40 per cent by 2055…

Hidemitsu Sano, head of staffing agency Fancl Staff, hopes to expand job placements for retirees, but says companies may turn to other sources of labour in the future.

“There are only four solutions to a labour shortage in Japan – the elderly, women, NEETs and foreigners,” he says. After that, it’s robots.