FUKUOKA (Japan) • Ballooning healthcare costs, labour shortages and financial services for the elderly: For the first time, the world’s top policymakers are tackling economic issues relating to ageing and shrinking birthrates. Group of 20 (G-20) finance ministers and central bank chiefs meeting in Japan – where a rapidly ageing population is a major domestic problem – have been warned to address the issue before it is too late. “What we are saying is, if the issue of ageing starts to show its impact before you become wealthy, you really won’t be able to take effective measures against it,” Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso, the meeting’s host, told reporters late on Saturday. The G-20 is a mixed group of countries at various stages of de-velopment and population profiles, ranging from rapidly ageing Japan to Saudi Arabia, next year’s G-20 chairman, which has a very young society. In their communique, the group said “demographic changes… pose challenges and opportunities for all G-20 members”, and the issue requires a mix of “fiscal, monetary, financial and structural policies”. Host Japan is eager to share its experience, with Mr Aso sounding the alarm that countries must be ready to act before population ageing rears… Read full this story
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