Japan and the pension debacle: Political elites fail to understand ordinary people

Japan and the pension debacle: Political elites fail to understand ordinary people

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

It is well and fine for political elites to provide international support to countless nations while running an enormous public deficit. After all, they don’t fear the pension debacle that awaits ordinary people because of their respective economic clout. Therefore, it was galling for people in Japan to hear that they need between 13 million yen to 20 million yen put aside after retirement.

Taro Aso, the Finance Minister, fearing opposition political parties gaining enormous traction from government inadequacy, is demanding that the Financial Services Agency (FSA) pull back on its finding. According to Aso, this is based on the anxiety of ordinary people who heard that they need vast sums just to survive retirement. However, while this is partially true, the other motive is political because the ruling party doesn’t want weakened opposition parties to gain traction.

Aso uttered, in relation to the findings of the FSA, “(The report) created tremendous worries among the public and is also different from the government’s policy stance. I have no intention of accepting it if it is submitted as the final report.” 

Yet, covering up the FSA report may backfire because what real assurances can the current government give? This relates to the FSA report that stipulates that a couple that lives 20 to 30 years after retirement will need between 13 million to 20 million yen to cover their economic monthly downturn. Hence, this shockingly high figure is setting off alarm bells in Japan because the enormous public debt – on top of a government that provides endless economic assistance internationally – is further evidence that the wealthy political elites are out of tune.

Renho, the deputy leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party, uttered strongly, “Was what you call a ‘system that is secure for the next 100 years’ a lie? The public is furious, wondering what you meant by saying couples must have a 20 million yen nest egg.” 

Sadly, Aso sums up the cronyism of political elites in the ruling party because he admitted that he hadn’t even read the full report. Aso stated, “I read the first part of it. I haven’t read the entire report.”



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