Reforming the Japanese Retirement Income System: A Special Case?

Bernard H. Casey

GIB#4

Introduction

In some ways, the Japanese system is not unlike that of other industrialized countries. This is not surprising in so far as Japan, once it opened to the west in the nineteenth century, made a point of learning from the western countries. Moreover, although a full public pension system was not properly established until after the Second World War — no later than in many western European countries — it was established under the American occupation. Therefore, similar to other industrial countries, the state has an important role in providing pensions, and the public system is based upon a pay-as-you-go principle with a partially proportional benefit formula. Company benefit systems supplement the public system and, in some cases, predate it…