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2014年4月 8日 (火)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「ポスト定年世代」考える /東京

January 19, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Time for young people to take center stage
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「ポスト定年世代」考える /東京

While there are still a few days left until the campaign for the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election kicks off on Jan. 23, so far candidates who are 65 or older are getting all the attention. Some candidates are in their 70s and 80s. If they worked at a private company, they would have been retired a long time ago.

Just as I was watching TV during the New Year holiday, former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone and Yomiuri Shimbun Chairman Tsuneo Watanabe appeared on the air, discussing various issues Japan is facing. They are 95 and 87, respectively. Although they are considered conservatives, their strong passion for international cooperation and world peace made their points very convincing.

Meanwhile, the young, from those in their teens to their 30s, claim that they keep getting a bad deal in life because they were born in the midst of the decades-long recession. They also have to face problems with the aging population and declining birth rate. People in this age group might not have a guaranteed pension and it's hard for them to climb up the corporate ladder because the older executives remain in power. Some even struggle to find regular full-time employment. The young sometimes slam the older generation for "hanging onto their vested interests."

However, when opportunities rise, those in post-retirement age are usually the ones who raise their hands to do the job. Some might argue that young people don't have opportunities, but I often hear people say things like, "The person in their 30s I asked to take the director position firmly declined my offer" and "Nobody raised their hands to serve as the chair when we invited applicants among the young."

The younger generation may have sensed from the massive volume of information they have access to that responsible positions are not worth it. Some think that they don't want to fail and embarrass themselves and some might value freedom over a career or social status.

Nevertheless, it's sad that every time something big happens, we see the older generation on center stage.

As I was rambling on about such a cultural environment to my friends, they asked me, "Wait, what about your generation that falls in between the old and young?"

Indeed. We haven't seen people in my age group, in their 50s, or those in their 40s, who are eager to take responsibility for society since Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto emerged on the scene.

I wonder if we, under the age of 60, would become interested in standing up and taking action after we hit that age where we are free from roles in an organizational structure, or if we would continue to hesitate to take center stage no matter how old we become.

In any case, we need to think about what we should do to change the cultural tendency where people rely on the post-retirement age group to take on responsible jobs.


(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2014年01月14日 地方版


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