The present report on Japan is the seventh report in the Investing in Youth series. In three statistical chapters, the report provides an overview of the labour market situation of young people in Japan, presents a portrait of young people who are not in employment, education or training (the NEETs) and analyses the income situation of young people in Japan. Two policy chapters provide recommendations on how Japan can improve the school-to-work transition of disadvantaged young people, and on how employment, social and training programmes can help the NEETs find their way back into education or work.
Earlier reviews in the same series have looked at youth policies in Brazil (2014), Latvia and Tunisia (2015), Australia, Lithuania and Sweden (2016).
Over the past ten years economic growth in Asia has contributed to a reduction of poverty as well as fertility rates, and greater prosperity has contributed to gains in life expectancy. However, at present many workers still work in informal employment, frequently for long hours at little pay and without social protection coverage. A growing demand for social support, extending the coverage of social protection benefits and improving the job quality of workers will be among Asia’s major challenges in future. This report considers these challenges, providing policy examples from countries to illustrate good practice, including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore and Viet Nam.
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.
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.
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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.