Teachers, police rush to quit before retirement pay cut

TOKYO —

Local government employees across the country are rushing to retire early before the government’s planned retirement allowance cut takes effect in February.

As of Thursday, 473 police officers and teachers in seven prefectures had signaled their intention to take early retirement, TV Asahi reported Friday. The prefecture with the highest number of retirees was Aichi with 142, followed by Saitama with 137, Hyogo with over 90 and Saga with 52. Most of those workers were due to retire on March 31.

The early retirements are the result of prefectural governments following the central government’s lead to cut benefits for government employees. The projected reduction in retirement allowance would mean up to 1.5 million yen less for teachers and police officers, if they waited until March 31.

Critics say that leaving in the middle of the financial year is a dereliction of duty and that a sudden decrease in the number of police officers, for example, may have an effect on the NPA’s ability to preserve the peace. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the national teachers union said, “The problem is with the system. We would like to see a system that supports and encourages our teachers.”

Japan Today

  • 17

    Disillusioned

    Critics say that leaving in the middle of the financial year is a dereliction of duty

    And what about the duty of the government and pensions agency to give a decent return on a 25+ year investment? And what about the duty of the government and pensions agency to provide a corruption free pension system?

    If this is the state of the pension system now gawd help the current generation when they wanna retire. The pension system is estimated to be paying out a third more than is being paid in at present. How is it gonna be in a another twenty years? I guess people will have to start taking Aso's advice and "hurry up and die" cos they won't be able to afford to live.

  • 11

    southsakai

    “The problem is with the system. We would like to see a system that supports and encourages our teachers.”

    Exactly and this is the problem with the world. People who dedicate their whole lives to work in the most important areas of society are usually treated like trash. These teachers are FULLY entitled to the 1.5 million cut.

    Unfortunately they are getting screwed over "legally" because government makes and breaks the rules.

  • 5

    FPSRussia

    @southsakai You said it perfectly. Only 1 thing, I think they are entitled to the 1.5 million and NOT the cut. No worries though cause I totally understand what you meant.

    There's not much they can change about it cause as I've always said. Japanese are too scared to bring this country to a stand still. They forgot that they are the power. People will be upset if there is a protest but fear of NOT protesting or legal threats are nothing to fear. SHUT the system down and things will recover to what they once were.

    That's a raw deal to get your retirement cut AFTER you've put in your dues. I call it robbery plain and simple. You agreed to that retirement plan a long time ago. They should honor it.

  • 3

    Farmboy

    Civilization costs money. Soon, we can go back to sticks and clubs... well... uzis, AK47s, but you know what I mean. If you can't afford police or teachers, you can't afford much.

  • 3

    paulinusa

    Not unique to Japan. How many countries are increasing retirement benefits? Sorry to say, the longer you stay in the workforce the less you will get.

  • 8

    Daijoboots

    The problem here is the timing of the cuts - reducing the benefits before March 31 and providing incentive for those already scheduled to retire at that time to do so two months early.

  • 6

    Mocheake

    Don't blame them one bit. I'd tell the critics to take their "dereliction of duty" and put it somewhere devoid of light from our shining star, if you get what I mean.

  • 3

    gaijinfo

    Critics say that leaving in the middle of the financial year is a dereliction of duty and that a sudden decrease in the number of police officers, for example, may have an effect on the NPA’s ability to preserve the peace.

    Regardless of the endless mind tricks and covert lies told by the government to con people into thinking there really is a free lunch, nobody will ever escape the most fundamental laws of economics:

    No Money, No Honey

  • -2

    Jan Claudius Weirauch

    I would also quit if I where in the same position as these teachers. Fortunately I'm not, and I'm still considered young - probably 2 generations until I reach retirement age, I invest my money in property and other things but not in a government retirement-ripoff-fund, as in 40 years I probably wont get much out of it anyway. Not supporting the system. People probably tell me this is reckless or even stupid, but I think that this system only exists since the end of the war, before that people also lived without such "assurances" and some did well and some not, just like today.

  • 1

    ka_chan

    You should study the late 20's and early 1930's. It is because of the safefy nets created after the last Wall Street debacle that today it seems apparently safe. But is it? Japan has been experiencing deflation for years. It seems to have stablize of late but it's too early to tell. The US is still doing quantitative easing. Wall Street banks as even bigger than they were when call "too big to fail". When a government starts devaluing it's own people, you know corporatons will follow. Japan is still in a deflationary death spiral. Can they re-ignite their economy? Exports are still dropping. If the US tanks, who will prop up the world economy? China? China doesn't have a true economy yet, they still rely on exports. What do think will happen to your investments when no one will want them? What the Japanese government and now local governemt has done to make the situation worse. And what is worse is that they have dishonored themselves by taking the food out of the mouths of those who served the people of Japan.

  • 3

    Belrick

    Critics say that leaving in the middle of the financial year is a dereliction of duty and that a sudden decrease in the number of police officers, for example, may have an effect on the NPA’s ability to preserve the peace. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the national teachers union said, “The problem is with the system. We would like to see a system that supports and encourages our teachers.”

    These same critics have shown a dereliction of duty by swindling pension payers out of their payments. You work for 40 years of your life, pay into the system and the government thinks it's okay to take your money and leave you without your rights to stop them!

    And if you want to support teachers (and police officers) - you don't try to condescend them by treating them as though they are nothing but shop assets that can be pushed aside!!

  • 7

    Frungy

    Critics say that leaving in the middle of the financial year is a dereliction of duty

    And not paying someone what you promised is fraud.

  • -2

    hobart_mark

    Japan could cut its total police force by 20% and nobody would notice....

  • 2

    SamuraiBlue

    The early retirements are the result of prefectural governments following the central government’s lead to cut benefits for government employees.

    The problem lies within the central government pressuring the local governments to cut cost although local governments are supposed to be independent from the central government.

    This is due to most of the grants are handed out from the central government through central collection of tax.

    As Hashimoto had pushed the consumption tax should be collected by the local government for local government spending to achieve independence of local government status.

  • 2

    The passage

    Critics say that leaving in the middle of the financial year is a dereliction of duty and that a sudden decrease in the number of police officers, for example, may have an effect on the NPA’s ability to preserve the peace. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the national teachers union said, “The problem is with the system. We would like to see a system that supports and encourages our teachers.”

    The problem is clearly with a system that provides incentives for early retirement. Who thought that one up without considering the consequences. Expecting teachers, etc to lose out on 1.5-2.0 million yen?

  • 0

    tmarie

    Someone on here last week was saying that the government shouldn't (and wouldn't) break it's promise with regards to pension/health care. I laughed and suggested they wake up. I fully expect to get nothing out of the system. The kicker? Not everyone pays. Lets put aside the no paying housewives for a minute and look at the fact that if you are a temp worker or not full time, you physically have to get off your butt and go to city hall to request you hand over your hard earned cash to a system that is broken. I've done it and I know that many folks don't bother to. Why? There is no punishment for not paying into the system. I sometimes wonder why I continue to pay but as a foreigner and my visa being held over my head...

    The is the country that had a PM who "didn't know" he had to pay into the system - Koizumi in case you were wondering. Add in the whole "We lost pension numbers" and this is how they treat workers who have actually paid?! Sick and twisted. And yet, no public outcry or demands that heads roll. Bah!!!! Democracies get the leaders they deserve.

  • -2

    tmarie

    And people still continue to praise Kozumi.

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2004/05/japa-m31.html

  • 2

    Elbuda Mexicano

    This sucks for teachers and cops! Can we really blame them??

  • 2

    Scrote

    Our retirement benefits are also being cut; I wouldn't be surprised if they were zero by the time I retire. The whole pension system is a scam: why can't they pay the money into a personal fund each year and let me decide what to do with it?

    The early retirement problem is entirely the fault of the local governments that chose to reduce the benefits before the end of the financial year. I'm sure the "critics" would also retire early if they were in the same position. If crime doesn't rise as the "critics" predict, maybe the number of police officers can be cut permanently?

  • 5

    LFRAgain

    "Critics say that leaving in the middle of the financial year is a dereliction of duty..."

    And having the pension cuts go into effect a month before these folks retire is cowardly and devious.

    Whomever the asshats are who made the decision to have the cuts take effect in February all but encouraged these police and teachers to make the choice between A) protecting their own financial futures after 25+ years of dedication to their jobs, and B) getting, by most accounts, royally screwed.

    Kudos to the teachers and police officers who made what must have been a very difficult decision, and a hearty one-fingered salute to the bureaucrats who forced the issue.

  • 1

    Tessa

    Kudos to the teachers and police officers who made what must have been a very difficult decision, and a hearty one-fingered salute to the bureaucrats who forced the issue.

    My sentiments exactly!

  • 2

    Ranger_Miffy2

    As a part-time university instructor, I fully intend to petition for retirement funds. Should help with the (so far) 70-year age ceiling, which is insulting and ridiculous and arcane.

  • 2

    sillygirl

    Hear hear to those who think of their futures and their families. I am sure they relied on that not happening.

  • 1

    Kabukilover

    I am all for the cops and teachers. Quit and get what you were promised. If things go wrong because of this it is not your faults.

  • 3

    LFRAgain

    "Should help with the (so far) 70-year age ceiling, which is insulting and ridiculous and arcane."

    I wouldn't go that far. And there's nothing arcane about the idea. People live a whole lot longer than they used to when these social pensions were thought up. Why would anyone reasonably expect lifespans to go up, but not the age at which one can pay into, and subsequently claim their pension -- at least not without bankrupting the very system they expect and demand support from?

    It's simple math, really.

    We're all healthier than we've ever been in human history. Which means we can and should be able to be productive longer than we've ever been. This means working longer and putting money away longer.

    But along those same lines, society's perception of workers in their 60s, 70s, and eventually 80s, needs to change. This stereotypic image of doddering old fools needs to be quashed. The number of people in their 60s and 70s who are not only fully capable workers, but also invaluable sources of knowledge and experience, will only grow from its current already considerable levels. These people are the intellectual backbone of society and business. Societies need to evolve to reflect this reality.

  • -6

    basroil

    DisillusionedJan. 26, 2013 - 07:55AM JST

    And what about the duty of the government and pensions agency to give a decent return on a 25+ year investment?

    Even with this "up to 1.5 million" cut, their average return on investments far exceeds inflation, sometimes having them get nearly as much per year as entry level workers, without the massive workload of the younger generation.

  • 0

    proxy

    Well, I image benefits will face even more severe cuts as there will soon be no money left. Anyone under 50 in Japan should be planning to have their pensions wiped out unless they are funding it themselves and have their money outside of Japan.

  • -3

    kazetsukai

    It is the teachers that created and sustained the system... They allowed the political system to structure the system as it now exists. Too many high degrees from so called renowned schools but with little regard for the "results"... The same with most institutionalized school systems.... all over the world...

    As long as the general public empowers politicians and teachers the right to educate their children, that will continue. As long as qualification as teacher is determined by education and degrees and not the results that the children get, the same will continue.

    It is good that those who see "retirement" money as their reward and Not the students" future... do retire. Get rid of all of them.

    After all a Nation "future" depends on the well educated and informed population. So a government must do what is right to clean up the system for the benefit of its people and their future.

  • 3

    LFRAgain

    kazetsukai,

    Your argument about poor performance at public schools has little or no relevance to this discusion. You are making a wholly unfounded assumption that the police and teachers who are retiring this March are somehow incompetent or don't care about the wellbeing of those in their charge, and that assumption is ridiculous. It's also rather obnoxius of you to question these people's commitment to their jobs without knowing a single thing about them.

    Let's put the situation into a light that may help you see past your axe-grinding:

    Imagine going to your last day of work, fully expecting to receive a full day's pay for a full day's work, as you have for the past, say, 25 years. Then your boss tells you 10 minutes before the end of the day, "Oh, by the way, we've decided not to pay you for your last hour of work. But we do expect you to stay until the end of the day, as scheduled."

    No reasonable human being would endure such an insult. So why do you expect these police officers and teachers to endure it? As proof of their commitment to the job? Twenty-five years in the same profession is a pretty strong statement about one's commitment.

  • -8

    basroil

    LFRAgainJan. 27, 2013 - 10:30PM JST

    Imagine going to your last day of work, fully expecting to receive a full day's pay for a full day's work, as you have for the past, say, 25 years. Then your boss tells you 10 minutes before the end of the day, "Oh, by the way, we've decided not to pay you for your last hour of work. But we do expect you to stay until the end of the day, as scheduled."

    No, it's more like: Imaging it's your last day of work, and your boss just realized you've been getting paid double of what you were supposed to get because someone screwed up in accounting 30 years ago. He now tells you that from now on he's only going to give you 50% more than you deserve rather than 100% more. And because of that he's going to have to give the guy who comes after you just 50% of what he deserves because you are getting half his salary.

    Either way the people retiring are getting far more than they need to survive, and getting far more than they paid into. And on top of that, they are destroying the future of the country for their greed.

  • 0

    Stephanie Simpson Matsuzaki

    This whole system is a damned joke! In 2011 I had to work part-time due to illness and when I returned to full-time last year, I was sent a letter from the govt. telling me I'd have to pay a years worth of pension because it hadn't been paid when I was working p.t. I went straight to the city office and said to the worker 'WHY should I have to pay this when I won't even get it back when I retire?' The worker didn't know what to say, and I know it wasn't his fault. But now I'm forking out an extra ¥15000 something yen per month which I've been paying since nov last year and will finish about August this year. Considering I get paid scrap for being....wait for it....A TEACHER (no, not an english teacher), that much money per month is a nasty kick in the face when living costs are already expensive enough and I'm still paying off medical bills. I agree with some others, WHY can't we put our retirement money into a special account to use when we are above a certain age, instead of handing it over to the corrupt excuse of a government?

  • -4

    tmarie

    **It is the teachers that created and sustained the system... **

    Yes, the teachers who must stand to sing the anthem or face punishment, the teachers who are now being told they may have to start working yet again on Saturday, yes, the teachers who have no power to punish misbehaving students... Yes, they're the ones at fault here...

    ** In 2011 I had to work part-time due to illness and when I returned to full-time last year, I was sent a letter from the govt. telling me I'd have to pay a years worth of pension because it hadn't been paid when I was working p.t.**

    Which is exactly the problem I outlined in my first post. People don't get off their butts to go to city hall and pay. Why is it not like Canada where your pension is taken out automatically? That way no one can avoid paying into it. FT, PT doesn't matter, you pay. Period.

    Though Stephanie, stop whining. Those not FT have to pay on their own like you're doing now ALL the time. I'm in my 4th year of forking my cash over because I'm PT. Add in health care and city taxes...

    Their is no reason why you can't put money into a separate account - I do as I know that the pension I have to pay won't be there for me when I'm older. The system is set up to support the no working wives and those too dumb to save their pennies for when they're older. Hand holding by the government that is costing those of us with a clue, plenty of money we've worked hard for. A safety net for idiots in my opinion.

  • -2

    cleo

    Why is it not like Canada where your pension is taken out automatically? That way no one can avoid paying into it. FT, PT doesn't matter, you pay. Period.

    How do the self-employed figure into that? I get paid by multiple clients, different sums each month depending how much work I did for that particular client. Having each client take a sum proportionate to the amount earned each month would mean each client knowing how much I was earning elsewhere - no thanks. Selecting one client to take out the full amount each month would work OK, except in the months I happened to do no work for that client which would end up with me having to pay the client to cover pension premiums - easier to just have the government take it out of my account each month. I don't need to get off my butt to go to city hall to pay.

  • -4

    tmarie

    I'm willing to bet there are more PT/FT works than self employed folks so wouldn't it be easier to make you the exception with regards to taxes? Stephanie is a fine example of why the current system doesn't work. Folks don't want to go and deal with city hall - and after all my experience with the whole tax thing with them (But, you're married! Why are you paying taxes??) I don't blame them. I would much rather my taxes came right out of my pay check instead of having to pay at a conbini or city hall. Everyone would pay that way - and as a business/self employed, you would more likely be caught for not paying compared to those not paying now.

  • -2

    cleo

    People might try to fiddle their taxes, but simply refusing to pay (assuming you have taxable income) is not an option - it is against the law and comes with penalties, unlike the pension.

    As it is, with regard to taxes, everyone who pays me any money takes out 10% (12.5% from next month) as源泉徴収and once a year I send all my receipts for expenses, etc., to the taxman and he sends me a tidy sum as a rebate - kinds like enforced saving. Makes for a nice spring bonus. While there may be more folk who are employed than self-employed in Japan, there are still a hefty number of us - we're not so much an exception as part of the system.

  • -3

    tmarie

    I agree it is against the law but let's be honest, no punishment means folks don't pay. Just a few days ago some foreigner was laughing saying he doesn't pay. Many foreigners don't which is why the government threatened to withhold visas from those who weren't paying. They threatened "us" but not the Japanese with by sheer numbers, are the worst offenders. Like I said, if I hadn't gone down to city hall and asked to be put on the kokumim nenkin system, nothing would have been done about me not paying. That is a sham and one that needs to be addressed. Get rid of the "option" of not paying by taking the pension and health care about of salaries before it event hits our account. Fair is fair and I shouldn't have to pay while many out there don't. Perhaps if everyone paid the system wouldn't be as bad as it is right now - it would be bad but perhaps a tad better?? As it is, its a joke.

  • -2

    cleo

    In Japan, pension is not part of taxes (I know it feels the same when it's snatched from your trembling, reluctant hand....) and the punishment for not paying pension premiums is (supposedly) no pension when you retire. Refuse to pay and you get nothing back (leaving aside the free riders who I think you and I see in the same light). As you say, foreigners who are here short-term and have no prospect of receiving a pension anyway may well laugh. Refuse to pay income tax though, and you could end up in jail.

    Fair is fair and I shouldn't have to pay while many out there don't. Perhaps if everyone paid the system wouldn't be as bad as it is right now - it would be bad but perhaps a tad better?? As it is, its a joke.

    Agree 300%.

  • 0

    lucabrasi

    @cleo

    "Agree 300%"

    I hope you've got someone else doing your tax forms! : )

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please.

  • 0

    soulless1

    As someone who will most likely never get to retire (USA), I sympathize with the teachers and police. In a world where the CEO of a bankrupt company still gets millions of dollars, after looting the company, it is hard to see other working people go without their benefits. Our various governments waste unthinkable amounts of money, then complain that they don't have the funds to pay retirement. If they left the money that had already been contributed where it belonged, it would still have been there. I am 33, and my financial planner informed me that by the time I near the current retirement age, I will still likely have at least 15 years before reaching the new retirement age! It is Zeno's Paradox, played with lives and emotions.

  • -3

    tmarie

    Cleo, and that is my issue. If it is mandatory, it should be treated as taxes are here. Failure to payment means... oh wait, no punishment on that either.

    And yes, we agree on those folks...

    And to think, TEPCO is still giving out bonuses....

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