Pension reform and individual retirement accounts in Japan

Sagiri Kitao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The paper studies effects of introducing individual retirement accounts (IRA) as an alternative to the employer-based pay-as-you-go public pension in Japan. Without any reform, projected demographic transition implies a massive increase in government expenditures in the magnitude of 40% of total consumption at the peak. Gradually shifting earnings-related part of pension towards self-financed IRA, expenditures can be reduced by 20% of consumption, providing a major relief for the government budget. The reform generates a significant rise in capital, as individuals save more for retirement, which is invested for many years. As a result, wage, output and consumption are also higher, leading to a sizeable welfare gain in the intermediate and long-run. Current generations, however, can face a large welfare loss depending on how the transition is financed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-126
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of The Japanese and International Economies
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging demographics
  • Individual retirement account
  • Japanese economy
  • Pension reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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