Date
4 December 2016
About a third of new entrepreneurs in Japan were aged 60 or above in 2012, according to a government agency. Photo: Bloomberg
About a third of new entrepreneurs in Japan were aged 60 or above in 2012, according to a government agency. Photo: Bloomberg

Elderly make up rising share of new entrepreneurs in Japan

The elderly are making up a rising share of new entrepreneurs in Japan as the seniors seek to put their knowledge and experience to work by starting their own business ventures.

In 2012, the latest year for which data is available, about a third of new entrepreneurs in the country were aged 60 or above, Bloomberg reports, citing a Japanese government agency.

That compares with just 8 percent three decades earlier.

The self-employed elders tend to provide management consulting and other services, leveraging their professional experience, Japan’s Small and Medium Enterprise Agency was quoted as saying.

Older Japanese want to utilize their knowledge and skills in order to enjoy productive and fulfilling golden years, Atsuko Nomura, a researcher at the Japan Research Institute, told Bloomberg.

They also have more capital than younger people, making it easier for them to get started.

Despite this, the total number of small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-businesses has fallen steadily in Japan in recent years.

That is because many people who came of age during Japan’s long economic stagnation have become afraid of taking risk.

Those in their 30s or younger accounted for 36 percent of new entrepreneurs in 2012, down from 57 percent three decades earlier, according to official data.

Newly employed younger workers are the least inclined to start their own businesses in more than a decade, according to a survey by the Japan Productivity Center.

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