Wednesday, October 13, 2010

East Asian Colloquium

EAST ASIAN COLLOQUIUM (Presented by the East Asian Studies Center)
PRESENTER: Joseph Coleman (Roy W. Howard Professional-in-Residence, School of Journalism, Indiana University)
TOPIC: Silver Labor: Putting the Elderly to Work in an Aging Japan
DATE: Friday, October 22
TIME: 12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
LOCATION: Ballantine 004

(Light refreshments will be served.  You are also welcome to bring your own lunch.)
Japan, as the most rapidly aging leading industrialized nation, is also home to the world's most advanced elderly employment system. The government, worried the pension system will implode and the economy will suffer from the disappearance of skilled baby-boomers from the workforce, has taken myriad steps to keep employees on the job past the standard retirement age. Yet, ironically, the most successful silver workforce programs are happening independently of government measures, in small companies under a unique set of circumstances. Workers here have more incentive to stay at work. Pensions at these tiny firms are low, so workers feel the need for supplemental income. Personal relations between workers and management are tight, forming bonds of loyalty and familiarity that encourage employees to stay at work past retirement. Companies are also highly motivated to keep their workers. Aging is most advanced in rural and semi-rural areas where many of these companies are based, meaning a dearth of young applicants. And the work is often highly skilled and artisan-like, which encourages employers to find ways to keep their top employees.

Joseph Coleman is the Roy W. Howard Professional-in-Residence at the School of Journalism at Indiana University. He has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, mostly overseas in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He was the Associated Press bureau chief in Tokyo for four years, and his work has appeared in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and many other publications around the world. Coleman studied Japan's elderly employment system for six weeks this summer on an Abe Fellowship for Journalists awarded by the Social Science Research Council and funded by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. His recent article titled “Japan Puts the Elderly to Work” has been published at Maclean’s,

For more information about any upcoming event, please contact:

East Asian Studies Center
Indiana University
Memorial Hall West 207
1021 East Third Street
Bloomington, IN 47405-7005

Tel: (812) 855-3765
Toll free: (800) 441-3272
Fax: (812) 855-7762

Persons with disabilities interested in attending our events who may require assistance, please contact (812) 855-3765 in advance.

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