Japan has defied expectations and revived its economy by refreshing its labor force with the elderly, women and foreigners, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
Now, the country is in its second-longest economic expansion since World War II despite its aging population and low birthrate, the newspaper said.
“The fabric of the country has changed quite a bit in the last 10 and especially the past five years,” says Izumi Devalier, head of Japan economics for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Tokyo.
In 2004, the government raised the social security retirement agent from 60 to 65. It also required companies to either raise or completely abolish retirement age. In some cases, companies began a system for re-employing workers who did retire.
In addition, government officials also introduced programs to get retirees into the workforce and reverse the outmigration of young people. Similar efforts were made to get women into the workforce, the newspaper said.
In 2012, female participation was 63 percent – just above the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average of 62 percent. But by 2017, it had increased to 69 percent.
The government also eased the rules for foreigners to work in Japan. And last month officials created two new visa categories and expects an additional 340,000 mostly blue-collar workers from outside Japan over the next five years.