TOKYO — Japan’s US$1.42 trillion public pension fund, the largest national retirement scheme in the world, said Friday it posted an annual return of 2.32 percent on the back of stronger equity markets. The Government Pension Investment Fund result for its fiscal year to March reversed a 0.25-percent loss a year earlier. The public pension fund manages a whopping 113.6 trillion yen in retirement savings for nearly half of Japan’s rapidly ageing population of 127 million. By the year 2060, about 40 percent of Japan’s population is expected to be over the age of 65, compared with about 23 percent now — already the world’s highest proportion of seniors.
The fund, which is largely invested in low-yielding Japanese government bonds as well as domestic and foreign equity and fixed-income holdings, said the surge was helped by gains in the latter part of the fiscal year. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed to 10,083.56 as of the end of March, from 8,455.35 at the end of December. But the fund has now started to invest in emerging market equities, seeking higher returns to meet the soaring costs of Japan’s retirees.