Seniors in Japan: the economic rescue (are we far behind?)
Two recent articles, one in the Japan Times and the other in the Wall Street Journal, have examined the current impact of Japanese seniors on the country’s economy. People over 60 hold an estimated 900 trillion yen in savings, and they are spending some of it.
From study abroad to gaming arcades to gym classes, the spending has helped Japan maintain high employment levels even as its manufacturing declines. Spending by people over 60 totaled 101.2 trillion yen in 2011, a 26.5% increase over 2002, while in the same period the Japanese economy shrank by 6.2%.
Japan, with one of the highest “over 65” populations in the world (forecasted to be one-third of total population by 2030), is now in the unusual situation of seeing increasing consumer spending in spite of stagnant household income.
In Canada, the “over 65” population is proportionally much smaller than Japan’s. Without knowing exact numbers, I expect that our seniors help our economy in a similar way – something that will become more significant in the coming years as our senior population increases both in numbers and in proportion to the total Canadian population. It presents opportunities for companies here as it does in Japan!