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Japan's Creaking Pension System Could Deal Abe Election Blow

  • Suggestion retirees need $184,000 in assets strikes nerve
  • Pensions scandal among woes that pushed Abe to resign in 2007
A rally against the government’s handling of Japan’s pension system on June 16.
A rally against the government’s handling of Japan’s pension system on June 16.Photographer: Emi Nobuhiro/Bloomberg

Nagging doubts about how much money retirees need have erupted into Japanese public debate, potentially hurting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in national elections for parliament’s upper house next month.

A report published June 3 on the Financial Services Agency’s website pointed to serious shortfalls in the social security system for the world’s most-aged country, saying a couple in their sixties retiring on a pension would need a nest egg of up to 20 million yen ($184,000) to help cover living expenses. Opposition parties pounced, trying to leverage renewed worries over the creaking pension system to dent Abe’s majority in the election.