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Statement on enactment of bill to raise retirement age for government employees

Kurosawa Koichi
Secretary General
the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
June 4, 2021

The Diet today enacted a bill to amend the National Public Service Act and other laws to raise the retirement age after being approved by the House of Councilors on June 4. The raising of the retirement age connects the employment with the pension plan. It is hoped that the measure will accelerate the raising of the private sector retirement age. However, we express strong dissatisfaction with too long hours having been spent on the legislative process. We also point out that many problems remain to be solved, including cutbacks in wages and a lack of consideration for workers who are engaged in excessively heavy workloads such as late-night work.   

Under the amended law, the retirement age will be raised in stages over eight years from fiscal 2023 (April 2023-March 2024). When a government worker turns 60 before fiscal 2031, his or her wages will be reduced by 30 percent. The current reemployment system will be preserved as a temporary measure.    

The retirement age is likely to be raised in the private sector too. We are concerned about the possible adverse impact the lowering of wages might have. It may not be easy to introduce the system in the private sector because it is considered as disadvantageous modification of the working conditions. Still, many companies are scaling down wages for elderly workers by relieving them of responsible positions. It appears justifiable to do so. But we cannot overlook any arbitrary selection and discrimination being introduced.  

In both the public and private sectors, those workers who have excessively heavy workloads such as late-night work are making heartrending cries saying that it is difficult to continue to work until the retirement age. Physical decline that comes with aging must not affect the people’s lives and livelihoods. Due consideration is needed for people who are engaged in such hard work by reducing workloads or by paying extra benefits. It is necessary to improve work environment for everyone to be able to work until the retirement age.

Every two years after the retirement age is raised, there is to be a pause in the recruitment of new hires as no one retires, and therefore new school graduates are unable to apply for a job. To deal with this problem the government should formulate concrete recruit plans. We strongly demand an increase in the maximum number of public employees to protect the people’s lives and living and to end the public service workers’ overwork. 

Zenroren is calling for improvement of healthcare and administrative systems to save people’s lives. It is determined to do its utmost with its friends around the country to advance the movement to get public services and education improved, oppose the adverse revision of the Constitution, and strengthen the disaster prevention and measures to prevent infectious diseases.



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