State pension: Japan combats greying population by hiking retirement age to 70

 
Oliver Gill
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Elderly people workout with wooden weigh
Japan has the world's highest life expectancy (Source: Getty)

Japan is to hike the state pension age to 70 amid fears of an ageing population and ballooning welfare costs.

The government yesterday gave the green light to the plans, which would be implemented April 2020.

Workers would not be forced to start drawing their pension at 70, rather they will be given the option to delay their retirement. The mandatory retirement age of around 3.4m civil servants will rise from 60 to 65 under the same government plans.

Currently, Japanese people can choose to start receiving the state pension anytime between 65 and 70, with bigger monthly payments on offer to those willing to delay.

Japan has the world's highest life expectancy. Its plans for dealing with an ageing population will be tracked by many western countries facing a social welfare timebomb.

Read more: Government increases state pension age to 68 from 2037

UK

Last July the UK government decided to bring forward increases in the state pension age – it will rise to 68 over two years from 2037.

Retirement ages were originally scheduled to rise to 67 by 2028 and 68 by 2046.

But two pivotal reports for the government published earlier this year highlighted this timetable may need to be brought forward in order to stop state pension costs spiralling out of control.

Britain's state pension age will rise to 66 in October 2020. Labour has committed to capping the retirement age at this level and has blasted the planned rises.

“Conservative MPs must explain to the tens of thousands of people in their constituencies, why the burden of Tory austerity is being pushed onto them, while corporations and the richest individuals receive tax breaks," shadow pensions minister Debbie Abrahams said last August.

But Labour's pledge has drawn widespread criticism from pension experts.

“If Labour is going to attack the government’s state pension plans it needs to come clean with the electorate about its alternative proposals. Will the state pension age simply remain at 66 forever more?” said AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby.

Is it willing to spend more public money on supporting older people, potentially at the expense of the younger voters so successfully galvanised by Jeremy Corbyn at the last election?

Read more: Labour criticised for national tour attacking Tory state pension age hike

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