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Elderly People In Japan Are At Risk Of Losing Their Jobs Due To COVID-19

Elderly people in Japan range from taxi drivers to shopkeepers.

Facing a pandemic caused by COVID-19, a strong outbreak in Japan, the elderly people (defined as 65 years or older), which are an important part of the labor force, fell into a state of turmoil.

Many elderly people in Japan have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. 72-year-old Tomoaki Kobayashi in Shinjuku district, Tokyo, after losing his cleaning job at a game store, was forced to frequently queue for food with more than 100 other difficult elderly people. 

He was afraid he would lose his accommodation even when his pension was not enough to pay rent. Mr. Kobayashi said that because he only paid retirement insurance for 15 years instead of 33 years like most elderly people, he was only eligible to receive 54,000 yen (500 USD) for 2 months. Kobayashi said sadly:

"This is the last month, I can no longer afford (rent)."
According to Japanese government data, seniors account for 13% of the workforce, up from 9% when Mr. Abe returned to power in 2012. And more than 75% of the elderly workers are seasonal employees, Part-time and contracts - the first subjects lose their jobs when businesses are under economic pressure. 

Although for some elderly people, working is a supplement to their pensions and is a significant savings, but for low-income people like Kobayashi, part-time work is a life rope.

Currently, one in five elderly people in Japan is living in a relatively poor situation, meaning their income is less than half of the average household's income.

It is known that the unemployment rate in Japan in March was 2.5%. While this figure may be coveted for many countries, its continued increase means more elderly people will lose their jobs, placing more burdens on social institutions in the context of cherry blossoms. The worst recession in the postwar period. 

“Japan is not a country with unemployment rates rising and falling sharply like the United States. So if only increasing by 1%, the negative impact is also very large.”
Said Taro Saito, senior researcher at NLI Research Institute.
And in the world's third-largest economy, female workers are subject to warnings facing a poor future when they retire. 

Although the government has enacted favorable conditions for women, including the most generous "maternity leave" policy in the world, female workers - whether single or married, work Part-time or full-time jobs face a difficult financial future.

According to Professor Seiichi Inagaki at the University of Health and Welfare, the poverty rate for elderly Japanese women will double - to 25% - in the next 40 years. For single women, this rate can be as high as 50%. According to another study, women of the rising sun will be "penniless" by 20 years before they die.

Japan is one of the countries with the widest gender disparities in wages. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the income of Japanese women is only 73% of that of men. 

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