Japan: 20% of elderly living in poverty – who foots the care bill?

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The rate is well above the OECD average of 12.6% with single women the worst-off – 52% living in relative poverty, compared to 38% of single men, according to Bloomberg.

Japan has the highest life expectancy of any country – 90 for women and 84 for men – but one 78-year-old woman who gets by on 120,000 yen (AU$1,520) a month in benefits says: “The only people who can enjoy living until 100 are those who have enough money and family.”

Now Japan’s Ministry of Finance is lobbying to push the age when pension benefits start to 68, up from 65, while elderly care and medical care contributions have already been cut.

Japanese women are under more financial strain, with only 35% of women in their late 60s having jobs, while 55% of men in the same age group are employed, according to the Cabinet Office.

Let’s compare those figures to Australia – in the 2016 Census, 46.7% of women aged over 60 were employed.

What about the other 53%?

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