Japan PM Abe faces condemnation on pension reports ahead of upper house elections

Tokyo, June 19: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has on Wednesday faced a stern opposition condemnation after a report cautioning retirees would not be able to spend their lives on pensions alone – an issue expected to be raised in the parliamentary election of the upper house.

According to Reuters news reports, Abe had topped reforms of social security system in priority to cope with the nation’s shrinking and fast-ageing population.

But the refusal of finance minister Taro Aso to accept its finding has generated a tense aura for Abe’s political coalition ahead of the poll for the upper house and amidst speculations, Abe may call for a snap election for the lower chamber.

A report issued by the financial services agency (FSA) this month said about $185,000 would be needed in a model case couple in addition to their pensions if they lived up to 30 years more after retiring.

The report meant to highlight the urgency to plan ahead of retirement but instead provided oppositions ammunition to damage Abe’s government.

During debate front of a parliamentary panel, Abe was told by the largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano, “What is making lots of people angry is that you are simply stressing stability (of the system) and not addressing their anxiety head-on.”

However, the prime minister said the report caused “misunderstandings” and further reiterated his led government’s position that the reforms which were introduced in 2014 had ensured its sustainability.




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