NRI Papers
No.32   September 1, 2001
  Setting Social Policies for Japan's Declining Birthrate and Growing Elderly Population  
Minoru NAKAMURA and Ritsuko WADA
        As Japan's birthrate continues to decline and its elderly population grows, we are facing the need to make changes in our social systems. Particularly, Japan's social security systems have to be reformed. These reforms include (1) reducing pension benefits, (2) increasing investment in IT, and (3) implementing the necessary housing policies. Each of these reforms is needed in its own right.
    First, reducing pension benefits is necessary to ease the burden on current workers, which is the basic principle of public pension reform.
    Second, increasing investment in IT is important to (1) reorganize the current medical system into medical care insurance for the elderly and medical insurance for current workers, and (2) to enhance insurance industry functions.
    Third, implementing housing policies is necessary to support the elderly and their daily lives.
    Meanwhile, Japan's economy must keep growing to compensate for the falling birthrate and the growing population of the elderly by increasing the number of workers. This will necessitate promoting the employment of the elderly and the further participation of women in social activities. If greater participation by women is vigorously advanced, we must establish a social environment in which child-care and work can stand together, which will eventually require (1) increasing the number of day-care centers for children, and (2) amending Japan's tax and social insurance systems. If we borrow a statement from the 1993 employer and employee contract agreement in the Netherlands, we will have to "take heed of...the employees' child-care and care for the elderly."
Contents
I Facing the Declining Birthrate and Growing Elderly Population
II Public Pension Reform
III Medical System Reform
IV Life Plans for the Elderly Examined
V Improving the Living Environment for the Elderly
VI Measures for the Declining Birthrate
VII Increasing the Number of Day-Care Centers for Children
VIII Preferential Treatment for Families Rather Than Singles
IX Introducing US-Style ESOPs to Japan
X Are Families Sufficiently Reproducing the Next Generations?

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