Japan has already taken some bold and determined steps in recent years to tackle its economic, social and environmental challenges. But broad-based reforms across a range of areas are still needed.
Women represent a vast untapped resource for Japan. Their employment rate in 2014 was fully 18 percentage points below that of men. Closing that gap is particularly urgent for Japan: the total population in Japan has already begun to fall and is projected to decline by almost 25% by 2050. Moreover, the share of the elderly (65+) is projected to rise from around 26% today to almost 40% at mid-century.
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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.
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.
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Gains in female education attainment have contributed to a worldwide increase in women’s participation in the labour force, but considerable gaps remain in working hours, conditions of employment and earnings. More specific data for Japan are available in this country note.
Society at a Glance – Asia/Pacific Edition 2011 offers a concise quantitative overview of social trends and policies across Asia/Pacific countries and economies.
Governments should invest more money on children in the first six years of their lives to reduce social inequality and help all children, especially the most vulnerable, have happier lives, according to the OECD’s first ever report on child well-being in its 30 member countries.