Taipei mayor calls for higher retirement age as Taiwan braces for super-aged society

Current retirement age of 65 no longer sustainable for rapidly aging country: Ko Wen-je

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Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (Ko Facebook photo)

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (Ko Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — It is unsustainable for Taiwan to maintain the official retirement age at 65, as the country is on track to become a super-aged society from 2020 onwards, said Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).

Ko made a case for a reform of Taiwan’s labor law when he delivered an address on the topics of aging society and long-term care on Monday (Jan. 6) organized by Shin Kong Financial Holding Co. Taiwan will face labor shortages as early as 2020 as 65-year-olds, which account for 20 percent of the total population, drop out of the labor market, reported Storm Media.

According to the mayor of the capital, Taiwan has a life expectancy of 80 years, but only 6 percent of the population aged 65 and over continues to work. The figure is in stark contrast to that of Japan and South Korea, which are also struggling with extremely low birth rates but which see 30 percent of the same demographic staying in the job market.

Ko stressed that it is the rapidity of the aging that is causing concern, not the aging itself. While it took Sweden 130 years for the senior population to grow from 7 to 20 percent, the same demographic changes have taken place in Taiwan in just three decades, he said.

The population of Taiwan will drastically decline from 23 million to 18 million by 2065. The number of citizens aged 65 or over will exceed 6 million, while the youth population will stand at around 12 million, noted Hsueh Jui-yuan (薛瑞元), administrative deputy minister of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, according to UDN.