Elderly Workers in Japan The Need for a New Approach


  • Philippe Debroux Soka University, Faculty of Business
  • Jacques Jaussaud University of Pau
  • Julien Martine Paris Diderot University, Paris




Elderly workers, Population Ageing, Employment, Human Resources management, Japan


Under demographic pressures, efforts to delay labor market withdrawal have replaced early retirement policies as a management tool of labor supply in many countries. In Japan, as the country is facing a dramatic demographic transition, the employment of elderly workers up to the age of 65 has become mandatory since 2006.
This article discusses the recent developments in this field in Japan and their impact on the employment of elderly workers. It focuses more specifically on how the traditional win-win way of managing elderly employment is evolving under the impact of demographics, the socio-cultural context, the regulatory environment and the consequential need for changes in the social security system. Based on a case study of five Japanese companies, and on other research findings, this paper examines empirically how organisations in that country develop human resource management practices to cope with these environmental transformations and prolong employees’ work-life.


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