Japan is currently experiencing a wave early retirements as dozens of teachers, police officers and other public servants move their scheduled retirements up several months. The reason is a coming reduction in the amount of “retirement bonus” public employees will receive, a change that takes effect in April. In Japan there’s a huge class of komuin (“koh-mu-een,” civil servants), a permanent bureaucracy modeled after Her Majesty’s Civil Service in England that includes all teachers, police officers, firefighters and administrative employees in Japan. When a Japanese civil servant retires, he receives a one-time “retirement bonus” of around $300,000 in addition to his normal pension, and this bonus amount is scheduled to be reduced by $15,000 for people retiring after April. While no one cares if the guy who stamps your passport retires two months early, many teachers have been retiring in the middle of the school year, which means they can’t be with their students when they graduate in March. This is viewed as a serious breach of responsibility in Japan.
Japanese public servants are rushing to retire early.