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Japan faces labor shortages, workers quit to take care of elderly

Staff writer |
The Japanese Trade Union Confederation said that Japanese businesses could labor shortage as an increasing number of employees mull quitting work to take care of elderly relatives.

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With Japan in the grip of a demographic crisis as its population simultaneously shrinks and ages, meaning the core workforce is already being hollowed out, the confederation Rengo, said that their survey showed 27.9 percent of employees aged 40 or over who had taken care of elderly relatives in the past five years had thought about quitting.

More than 1.5 percent of the 8,200 workers surveyed at firms represented by the confederation's unions had actually quit, it said.

The trade union national center, with a membership of 6.82 million, said more than 35 percent of workers had taken care of elderly relatives at some point during the past five years, with more than 48 percent of those thinking about, or having already quit, saying that caring for their elderly relatives interfered with work.

More than 44 percent of those polled said the physical exertion of both working and caring for the elderly was too much to handle, while around 18 percent said they wanted to focus solely on taking care of their elderly relatives.

The survey also revealed that caring for the elderly, however, was not without its problems. More than 60 percent said they were anxious about the costs involved, while 59.1 percent said they were anxious about how long their care-giving duties would last.

More than 40 percent, meanwhile, according to Rengo, said they were nervous about having to make alterations to their professional lives to cater to their elderly relatives' needs.

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