Ministry looks to counter impending workforce fall

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry plans to create 3.1 million jobs over the next 10 years by urging businesses to hire more women, as well as elderly and young workers.

The plan, announced Wednesday, is aimed at preventing an anticipated decrease of more than 3 million people in the nation’s workforce by 2015, caused by the rapid aging of the population and falling birthrate.

Under the plan, the government will compel companies to introduce an employment system for workers who have reached the retirement age of 60 so they can continue working until they start receiving pension money at 65.

The government will also set target rates for working parents taking child-care leave at 10 percent for men and 80 percent for women in an effort to help them manage work and family life. Currently, around 70 percent of female workers and less than 1 percent of male workers in the private sector take child-care leave.

For young people, the ministry plans to implement a program to give them job training and opportunities to work as interns.

These measures are expected to create 1.6 million jobs for senior citizens, 1 million jobs mainly for women and 500,000 jobs for young people, according to the plan.

The ministry estimates that if no measures are taken, the population of working people aged 15 and older will drop from 66.7 million in 2003 to 63 million in 2015.