In historic first, G20 weighs ageing as global risk

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(Fukuoka) – Ballooning healthcare costs, labour shortages and financial services for the elderly: for the first time Sunday, the world´s top policymakers are tackling economic issues relating to ageing and shrinking birthrates.

G20 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 Saturday.

The G20 is a mixed bag of countries at various stages of development and population profiles, ranging from rapidly-ageing Japan to Saudi Arabia, next year´s G20 chair, which has a very young society.

And host Japan is eager to share its experience, with Aso sounding the alarm that nations must be ready to act before population ageing rears its head and piles pressure on the economy.