The Ageing Crisis: The Japanese Response


Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 16 March 2010


Miller Theater in Old Canberra House


Professor Yukinobu Kitamura


Henry Keenan
6125 5559
An ageing population, coupled with a declining birthrate, is a challenge confronting policymakers in many countries across the developed world. In Australia, discussion has been focused on raising the pension age and changes to immigration policy. It is Japan, however, that feels the effects of this crisis more acutely than most with those aged 65 and older now comprising more than 20 percent of the population while the number of new births continues to fall. Professor Kitamura believes that Japan?s pension system as it currently operates is unable to handle this impending demographic imbalance. He argues for two key policy reforms to ensure that payments to retired citizens can be sustained into the future. Firstly, there is an urgent need to assign clear responsibilities to each of the pension participants, the Social Insurance Agency, and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Secondly, full tax financing of the National Basic Pension must be implemented to guarantee that pension requirements will be met. Although there will be some net financial burden for certain age groups, Professor Kitamura contends that it is possible to smooth that burden and make the transition for those still in the workforce less painful.

After obtaining Bachelor of Economics at Keio University in 1981, Professor Kitamura attended the
University of Pennsylvania where he obtained a Master of International Relations in 1982. He received his PhD in economics from Oxford University in 1988 before commencing work at the OECD in Paris. He has also worked at the Bank of Japan, Keio. He currently holds a professorship at Hitotsubashi University in the
Institute of Economic Research. His research is focused on empirical works on the Japanese economy, which includes public finance, monetary policy and household behaviour.

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