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In an effort to improve the worsening job climate, the government said Tuesday it will focus public works projects in areas suffering from serious unemployment, such as Hokkaido, Kyushu and city areas of the southern Kanto and Kinki regions.

The decision was made by the government task force on unemployment, made up of all Cabinet members, following an announcement last week by the Economic Planning Agency that the unemployment rate hit a record high of 4.1 percent in April.

It also agreed that the government, in cooperation with business organizations, will boost its functions to provide unemployed people with job-related information, counseling services and vocational training.

After the gathering, Labor Minister Bummei Ibuki said he wants to create a flexible job market that meets job-seekers’ demands and companies’ needs. Such a market could be achieved by amending the Labor Standards Law and other legislation, he said.

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who heads the task force, told Tuesday’s meeting that the best way to improve the current unemployment situation is to put the economy back on a recovery track.

He said swift implementation of the planned 16 trillion yen pump-priming package will be most effective to achieve this.

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