Tokyo, June 18 (Jiji Press) — Finance Minister Taro Aso on Tuesday rejected as “inappropriate” a Financial Services Agency estimate suggesting that people in Japan need to prepare 15 million to 30 million yen, besides pension benefits, for their post-retirement budgets.
The move came on top of his earlier refusal to accept a different FSA estimate pointing to the average post-retirement budget shortage of 20 million yen.
The 15-million-to-30-million-yen estimate is “also inappropriate if it could cause misunderstandings,” Aso, who doubles as minister of state for financial services, said at a House of Councillors committee meeting.
The ruling coalition is wary of a public backlash against the government estimates, ahead of a triennial Upper House election this summer.
The opposition camp argues that the estimates indicate the government’s admission that the country’s public pension system is collapsing.
At the Upper House panel meeting, Aso insisted that the 15-million-to-30-million-yen estimate was mentioned only in a provisional document and has never been used in an official document of the FSA.
“We won’t consider any policy, based on that data,” Aso stressed.
Over the 20-million-yen estimate, Aso claimed that the biggest problem was the FSA’s lack of explanation and consideration provoking misunderstandings and anxieties among the public.
Renho of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan condemned Aso as putting the blame on bureaucrats.
“People in power should tell the public honestly about what they plan to do about the pension system,” Akira Koike, head of the Japanese Communist Party’s secretariat, said.