- 14 Mar 2002
An article on how Japan's senior citizens spend their retirement age: instead of relaxing, many of them prefer to put their skills and knowledge to the best use for society and go back to work. And the labour market needs them.
For some, the extra income they earn through the Silver Jinzai organization is certainly a consideration, but the money is not the motivation for most. For the majority of the 700,000 pensioners who are registered with the nationwide organization that was initially set up in Tokyo in 1975, the most important things are keeping themselves busy and giving back to society. [...] "There is a growing number of people who are healthy and very motivated to work," Okada said. "There are a wide range of reasons why our members want to work. For some it is financial, of course, but many people want to maintain their health, others want to contribute to society or make the most of their experience and skills." [...] Tasks are paid at different rates, and those vary around the country, but assistance with household chores typically earns a Silver Jinzai worker 870 yen (€6.70, $7.80) per hour, cleaning windows is 910 yen, and gardening is 1,040 yen — while the more strenuous job of clearing snow in northern prefectures is worth 1,855 yen per hour.
Instead of using retirement to relax, many Japanese prefer to put their skills and knowledge to the best use for society, and have gone back to work. They say that staying at work keeps them mentally and physically fit.