A 2021 white paper from Japan’s Cabinet Office showed that 71.0% of people aged 60 to 64 were in employment in 2020. This ratio was 49.6% for people aged 65–69 and 32.5% for those aged 70–74. Compared to 10 years ago, all these rates have increased significantly by more than 10 points.
The employment rate for men in the age range 55–59 rose to 91.3%, while it was up to 82.6% for those aged 60–64 and 60.0% for ages 65–69. This large number of people over 60 who are still employed seems to indicate their strong desire to work. The employment rate for women aged 55–59 was 72.8%, 59.7% for those aged 60–64, and 39.9% in the 65–69 age range. Within the 70–74 age range, the rate was 41.3% for men and 24.7% for women, Nippon.com reports.
Out of the 2020 total labor force of 68.7 million (total number of workers and unemployed people seeking work aged over 15), 4.2 million were aged 65–69 and 5.0 million were over 70. People aged 65 or over accounted for 13.4% of the total labor force. While 25 years ago, that ratio was 6.7%, the rapid aging of the population has seen it double.
As of September 2020, the number of seniors aged 65 and over in Japan was estimated as 36.2 million, equivalent to 28.7% of the total population of 125.9 million.
Included in the white paper on aging society were the results of a 2020 international comparative survey on the lives and attitudes of people aged over 60. The survey showed that 40.2% of people in this age group in Japan said that they wanted to work for an income, compared to 29.9% in the United States, 28.1% in Germany, and 26.6% in Sweden. This demonstrates the comparatively strong motivation of older Japanese people to keep working.