1. Accounting (Source: Keiei Zaimu Magazine) Based on research conducted by KEIDANREN (Japan Business Federation), from April 2011 to March 2012, the average Welfare and Benefits expenses (both of statutory and non-statutory benefits) paid by an employer for employees was JPY 103,298 per person per month, which was a 3.2% increase compared with the previous year. Additionally, the Total Cash Earnings payment (including both salary and bonus) per person per month was JPY 546,246. Although this figure reflected a 0.8% increase compared with the previous year, people’s incomes have still not recovered to the level where they stood before the Lehman Shock. The ratio of Welfare and Benefits to Total Cash Earnings was newly recorded as high as 18.9%, but it just resulted from the fact that the part of Welfare and Benefits absorbed by employers increased by 4.4% (JPY 77,744) which exceeds the increased rate of Total Cash Earnings.
2. Taxation (Source: Weekly Digest, issued by Zeimu Kenkyukai) Overseas Property Record System will take effect from next year. The valuation method for bank accounts, real estate, etc. has already been clarified, though complete details are still to be determined. For instance, the method to value land owned by Joint Tenancy or a bank account owned by joint holders has not been decided yet.
3. Labor Management(Partial Amendment to Act on Stabilization of Employment of Elderly Persons）
In order to cope with the rapid aging of the population and provide an environment in which elderly workers can continue to work according to their will and ability at least until their pension age after retirement, the “Act on Stabilization of Employment of Elderly Persons” has been partially amended. The amended Act will take effect on April 1, 2013.
(Note: This amendment does not oblige employers to raise the retirement age to 65 years old.)
Summary of amendment
(1) Abolishment of system which allows employers to set employees’ eligibility criteria for Continued Employment System
Under the current law, when an employer who has a retirement age policy of under 65 years old introduces the Continued Employment System under the Measures for Securing Stable Employment for Elderly Persons Act*, it may set its criteria to qualify its employees for the Continued Employment System upon labor-management agreement.
This qualification scheme will be abolished by this amendment, and all applicable employees will be automatically eligible for the Continued Employment System effective April 1st, 2013.
However, a transitional measure will be provided:
In cases where the employer fixes the retirement age (limited to under 65 years old; hereinafter the same shall apply), he or she shall conduct any one of the measures listed below in order to secure stable employment for older workers until the age of 65 (hereinafter referred to as “measures for securing employment for older persons”):
① Raising the retirement age;
② Introduction of a continuous employment system (referring to the system of continuing to employ an older person wishing to be employed following said employee’s retirement; hereinafter the same shall apply);
③ Abolition of the retirement age.
(2) Expansion of scope of companies that hire employees eligible for Continued Employment System The amended Act will also allow employers’ group companies, including subsidiaries and related companies, to continue to employ their employees eligible for the Continued Employment System.
(3) Introduction of rules concerning public announcement of names of companies violating obligation Any company that does not comply with the Measures for Securing Stable Employment for Elderly Persons will be contacted by the Labor Standards Inspection Office or the Public Employment Security Office (Hello Work).
(4) Establishment of guidelines concerning implementation and operation of Measures for Securing Stable Employment for Elderly Persons Guidelines concerning implementation and operation of the Measures for Securing Stable Employment for Elderly Persons will be established.
*Measures for Securing Stable Employment for Elderly Persons (Act on Stabilization of Employment of Elderly Persons, Article 9)
4. This Week’s Words of Wisdom (NHK Program – Gift E Words of Wisdom World)
“I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.”
(Margaret Thatcher – Former United Kingdom Prime Minister)
Recently the story of former UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was made into a film in which she was played by Meryl Streep, a movie I have seen. I do think that Margaret Thatcher was a great woman for her times. Here is an anecdote about one of her visits to Japan. During a lecture, a well-known Japanese consultant raised the following question, “Do you know how to get Japan out of the current recession?”
“I have many ideas about it,” Mrs. Thatcher replied, “but there is no miracle in politics. Next question please.”
Margaret Thatcher answered directly, seriously, and assertively, despite the debatable merit of the question itself. She is a person who deserved to get to the top. Going forward here in Japan, we look to Prime Minister Abe with similar expectations.