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Japanese businesses need to make the workplace safer for older workers as they keep them on payrolls longer to cope with labor shortages.

Nearly 40% of Japanese companies hire people over 70 years old

Facing labor shortages, Japan Inc. turns to elderly to fill jobs

MOTOKAZU MATSUI, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- Japanese companies are increasingly counting on elderly workers to plug labor shortages and make business more competitive. Last year, nearly 40% of businesses -- double the ratio a decade earlier -- let employees work until 70 and beyond. In the construction and retail sectors, workers 65 or older made up more than 10% of the workforce.

Many companies seem to have little choice, as the yen's recent weakness has made it harder to hire foreign workers. Still, there is a drawback in retaining older workers, as they are more prone to on-the-job accidents and employers need to work harder to ensure their safety.

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