The Economics of Social Security in Japan

The Economics of Social Security in Japan

ESRI Studies Series on Ageing

Edited by Toshiaki Tachibanaki

This book provides a comprehensive appraisal of social security in Japan, where traditionally the burden of welfare provision has been the main responsibility of the family and employers, rather than the state. However, an ageing population, changes in family structure and continued recession has led to an urgent reappraisal of this situation.

Preface

Edited by Toshiaki Tachibanaki

Subjects: asian studies, asian social policy, economics and finance, welfare economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy

Extract

At the beginning of the twenty-first century the world must place the highest priority on constructing a sustainable socioeconomic system that can cope with the rapid ageing of populations in developed countries and with the limited environmental resources available in both developed and developing countries. At first glance, the problems of ageing and the environment may seem to be quite separate issues. However, they share a common feature: they both deal with intergenerational problems. The essence of the ageing problem is how to find effective ways for a smaller, working generation to support a larger, ageing generation. The crux of the environmental problem is to find a feasible way to leave environmental resources to future generations. Moreover, in terms of consumption, slower population growth may slow consumption and help to alleviate environmental problems. On the other hand, a rapidly ageing society may use more energy-intensive technology to compensate for the inevitable labor shortage, and thus cause a deterioration in the natural environment. Today, these concerns are highly applicable in Japan. The pressure created by the rapid ageing of the Japanese population is becoming acute; Japan must construct a sustainable society that does not create intergenerational inequity or erode public welfare. At the same time, Japan cannot deplete its environmental resources and energy, as this would leave future generations with an unbearably heavy burden. The Japanese government has recognized the vital importance of both problems. To explore and implement solutions for this difficult task, in April 2000 former...