UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Finance ministers and central bank governors on Sunday discussed for the first time problems linked to aging populations and low birth rates, such as increased health care costs, labor shortages and financial services for the elderly.
The choice of Japan, which heads the Fukuoka summit in the southwest, has not been random. It could soon become the world’s largest “super-aging” country, meaning that 28 percent of its population will be over 65 years of age, In 2050.
Japan, whose economic growth has been hampered by this problem, is keen to transfer its expertise to other countries.
The world’s third largest economic power, its partners, especially less developed markets, called for action before it was too late.
“What we are saying is: If the effects of demographic aging begin to emerge before they become rich, then you can not take any effective measures,” said Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso.
“The whole world, the G-20, but the G-20 is aging at a faster pace,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria told Agence France-Presse on the sidelines of the meeting.
“This trend will continue, and I am afraid it is not something we can suddenly stop.”
In the final statement, the group said that “demographic changes … there are challenges and opportunities for all G-20 countries” and the problem requires “fiscal, fiscal, monetary and structural policies.”
– Emerging countries too –
The G-20 includes countries with different characteristics, from Japan in age to Saudi Arabia, India and South Africa with a young community.
Life expectancy and declining birth rates are contributing to an aging population in rich countries such as Germany, France, Spain, Italy and South Korea, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which has conducted a series of studies on the issue.
The problem is also affecting emerging economies such as Brazil and China.
By 2050, the world’s over 60-year-old population will double and exceed two billion.
“Aging is increasing the pressure on public budgets because it requires an increase in pension and health spending,” the IMF said in a memorandum published on Sunday for the G20 summit.
Japan has experience in this regard, with a debt of 230% of its GDP. Therefore, retirees save their money for fear of reducing their pensions, while the younger people hesitate to spend for fear of the future.
“The wealth of these countries will inevitably be affected by the end, while the number of people involved in the labor market will decline more and more,” the IMF said.
– “Low wages” –
In the case of Japan, many sectors (health care, agriculture, construction, etc.) have difficulty in hiring, with 163 job offers versus 100 applications, with a very low unemployment rate of 2.4%.
In addition to the necessary reform of pension and health systems, international organizations are also urging women and older workers to engage in the labor market to address the low labor force.
In a new report, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said, “Japan is already one of the highest rates of engagement of the elderly in the labor market within the organization.” But by the time they reach retirement age, “they are being reassigned to low-quality and low-paying jobs.”
“They deserve better,” the organization said, calling for the use of “competencies and expertise”.
Technology may also be a factor for older people to access health care or manage their money, experts say.
Finance ministers and central bank governors from the G-20 countries were on Sunday to pave the way for a summit of G20 leaders in Osaka in late June.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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