First Vice Health Minister Lee Ki-il (Yonhap)
First Vice Health Minister Lee Ki-il was set to depart for Japan on Sunday to look into the country's national pension scheme and caretaking policies for the elderly, the health ministry said.
During the four-day trip, Lee is expected to meet with Kazuhiro Oshima, Japan's administrative vice health minister, and policy experts to hear their advice on reforming South Korea's national pension system, according to the ministry.
The itinerary also includes visits to medical and caretaking facilities and meetings with healthcare experts on tackling the low birthrate and rapid aging.
The visit comes as the government is moving to revamp the national pension system and announce a blueprint for reform in October amid concerns pension funds could dry up faster than expected due to rapid aging.
Last week, President Yoon Suk-yeol said that reforming the pension, labor and education systems is essential for the nation's sustainability and called for every effort to make that happen.
Japan has revamped its national pension system twice, in 2004 and 2012, by hiking insurance fees and revising eligibility requirements to receive funds. (Yonhap)