Japan retailer Nojima invests on longevity
FUJISAWA (JAPAN) – Tadashi Sato, 72, is trying to define a work culture in a country with a fast-ageing and shrinking population, at Japanese electronics retailer Nojima’s sales outlet in Fujisawa, south of Tokyo,
Nojima made it official last month to let its workers remain until they turn 80. “I think it’s wonderful,” Sato said.
Sato, with colleagues often in their 20s and 30s, adds, “I used to imagine a 72-year-old as an ancient person. But I now feel like I’m in my fifties, and I’m working hard so as not to fall behind young people.”
As per the scheme, Nojima’s 3,000 regular employees can stay on the job until 80. The annual contract will be renewed once they have hit the company’s retirement age of 65, opening the gateway for more store clerks like Sato at Japan’s sixth-largest home appliances chain operator.
According to United Nations data, Japan is the world’s most advanced ageing society, with people who are 65 or older making for 28 percent of the population, compared with 23 percent of the second-ranked Italy.
Yoshiyuki Tanaka, Nojima’s executive director, said it is only natural to find ways to make effective use of senior workers as Japan’s labour force shrinks. He sees the new policy would be beneficial to its customers as well.
“We have many elderly customers visiting our shops. There are young people on the staff. But being waited on courteously by someone of similar age must be good for them,” Tanaka said.
Sato, echoes Tanaka’s sentiment, “Hundreds of people are involved in manufacturing a single refrigerator. And those of us at retail shops are engaged in the very last stage of that process.”
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.