Virus-hit Japanese companies turning to early retirement to cut costs

Japan Times -- Nov 09
The number of Japanese companies introducing early retirement programs in the first 10 months of the year was more than double the level over the entirety of the previous year amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by a research firm.

A rapid drop in demand is pressing executives to quickly cut costs by reducing personnel, Tokyo Shoko Research said.

Early retirement was offered by 72 listed companies to a total of around 14,000 employees as of Oct. 29, topping a total of 35 companies and about 11,350 employees in the previous year, the credit research agency said. The figures compared with 85 companies and around 12,200 employees in 2010.

“Some companies lowered the eligible age to the 30s or even to the 20s (from the typical age of around 45 or older), as they urgently need to scale back their workforce in response to rapidly worsening earnings,” the agency said.

The government has taken measures to support companies reeling from the pandemic, offering subsidies to help such firms pay leave allowances until the end of the year.

- Japan Times