Estimates cast doubt over Japan's public pension sustainability
Japan Today -- Aug 28
Japan's government unveiled estimates on Tuesday that showed public pension benefits steadily declining during coming decades, as it prepares to open up a debate on social security reforms needed to support an aging population.

Curbing bulging welfare spending is a vital step toward fixing the industrial world's heaviest debt burden, which is currently more than twice the size of Japan's $5 trillion economy.

While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has made welfare reform a top priority, it has moved slowly due to fears that it could alienate the public.

Japan has one of the oldest populations in the world, due to a low birth rate and people's longevity, putting pressure on its pension system.

In its pension estimates - which are issued every five years to gauge health of public pensions - the government estimated monthly pension benefits at 220,000 yen per model married couple, worth about 61.7% of pre-retirement income.

This pension-to-wage ratio is projected to fall to about 51-52% by the late 2040s, with the possibility of sliding further to around 45% in the 2050s, depending on growth and population outlook.

By some estimates, the ratio would fall below 40% in the 2050s, assuming the national pension fund dries up while the economy contracts mildly and labor participation stalls.

News source: Japan Today
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