With gross government debt of 226% of GDP, Japan’s fiscal situation is in uncharted territory and puts the economy at risk. Japan needs a detailed and credible fiscal consolidation plan, including specific revenue increases and measures to control spending to restore its fiscal sustainability.
The OECD/Korea Policy Centre fosters the exchange of technical information and policy experiences relating to the Asia Pacific region in areas such as health statistics, pension reforms and social policy and expenditure.
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To achieve greater gender equality in employment and more inclusive growth, Japan needs to change the workplace culture and ensure that the tax and social security systems do not reduce work incentives for second earners in households.
OECD analysis shows that income inequality has been on the rise in most OECD countries since the 1980s, which often means growing exclusion in the labour market, lower intergenerational social mobility, and greater polarisation in educational and health outcomes.
Reconciling work and family commitments is a challenge in every country, but particularly for Japanese men and women. Much more so than in most other OECD countries, men and women have to choose between babies and bosses: men choose bosses, women less so, but on the whole there are very few babies and there is too little female employment. These shortcomings are increasingly coming to the fore and will have to be addressed.
The global economic crisis has had a profound impact on people’s well-being, reaching far beyond the loss of jobs and income, and affecting citizens’ satisfaction with their lives and their trust in governments, according to a new OECD report.
Given the high debt level, large-scale increases in social spending are not affordable. Instead, Japan needs to focus on the underlying cause of rising equality and poverty through structural reforms that can provide a double dividend by boosting economic growth and social cohesion.
Country Notes from OECD Economic Policy Reforms: Going for growth 2011 presenting OECD recommendations for structural reform priorities for individual countries.
Society at a Glance – Asia/Pacific Edition 2011 offers a concise quantitative overview of social trends and policies across Asia/Pacific countries and economies.
While Japan has achieved outstanding scores on the PISA exams, further improving educational outcomes is important to sustain growth in the face of rapid population ageing.