Socking It Away in Japan

When Yozo Matsuoka was a manager at Honda's European operations in Brussels during the early 1980s, one of his neighbors was a Belgian pensioner. "This man lived a life beyond our imaging," recalls Matsuoka. "He owned his house, drove a nice car and rented a cottage in Spain for five months a year. I knew that they paid lots of taxes for the social-welfare system in Belgium, but I realized with envy the security they got in return."

Matsuoka, 46, is back in Japan now and, like most Japanese, is busy saving to ensure that in retirement he will enjoy something...