nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2005‒08‒20
two papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. Reforming the Japanese Retirement Income System: A Special Case? By Bernard H. Casey
  2. An Update on Pension Data By Alicia H. Munnell; James G. Lee; Kevin B. Meme

  1. By: Bernard H. Casey (The Pensions Institute at The Cass Business School)
    Abstract: In some ways, the Japanese system is not unlike that of other industrialized countries. This is not surprising in so far as Japan, once it opened to the west in the nineteenth century, made a point of learning from the western countries. Moreover, although a full public pension system was not properly established until after the Second World War — no later than in many western European countries — it was established under the American occupation. Therefore, similar to other industrial countries, the state has an important role in providing pensions, and the public system is based upon a pay-as-you-go principle with a partially proportional benefit formula. Company benefit systems supplement the public system and, in some cases, predate it. Despite the similarities with other countries, however, the retirement income system in Japan does have a number of special characteristics. First, unlike in many other countries, people in Japan keep working well after the “normal” retirement age. Second, older people in Japan are much more likely to be living with their adult children than are older people elsewhere. Thus, incomes in old age comprise a considerable element of intra-familial transfers. In these respects, Japan is “a special case.” Like most industrialized countries, Japan is confronted with the challenge of supporting a rapidly aging population. Indeed, Japan is aging faster than almost any other in the industrialized world. In this respect, Japan is not “a special case.” Moreover, the employment and social structure of Japan is also changing. Working in older age may be a less viable option in the future. And families are becoming less willing and less able to provide homes and care services for their parents. Accordingly, the way that Japan has been “a special case” may be fading over time, which could undermine retirement income security. In short, the challenges that Japan faces are more profound than those faced by many other societies.
    Keywords: Japan, pension system, retirement, aging
    JEL: H55
    Date: 2004–09
  2. By: Alicia H. Munnell (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); James G. Lee (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); Kevin B. Meme (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: This brief focuses on trends over the past two decades in employer-sponsored pension coverage. It explores who is covered by a pension plan and who is not, how much retirees receive in pension income, and how pension coverage and receipt have changed over time. This brief updates our previous work on this topic.
    Keywords: pension, employer-sponsored
    JEL: J26 J33 H55
    Date: 2004–07

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