Japan, having the fastest growing population over 65 in the industrialized world, faces enormous challenges to reform its social security systems. The debate on social security reform, which until the 1980s focused on a “Japanese-style welfare society”, is now strongly influenced by neo-liberal ideas. Recent reforms in pensions and health care have sought to implement cost cutting measures and to reshuffle the public-private mix in social security. On the other hand, a new expensive long-term care system was enacted to address the problems of an ageing society. What are the factors that shaped these reforms? Who are the main actors driving them? What are the economic, social and political implications?
This workshop addresses the issue of Japanese social security policy by analyzing recent changes in pensions, health care and long-term care.