The government on Thursday outlined its long-awaited emergency steps to bolster job security and revive industrial competitiveness, setting a target of 720,000 new jobs.

To meet that figure, the scheme calls on both the central and local governments to directly employ 300,000 workers on a temporary basis within two years.

The government draft was approved Thursday by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and will be endorsed at today’s Cabinet meeting.

Although the hiring binge runs counter to what it called its principle of allowing the private sector to create employment, the government said it is important for the central and local governments to take an active role in fighting joblessness.

The government is also taking the initiative in job retraining, as it plans to provide programs to help 100,000 mid-career people who have lost their jobs find others.

The government is also banking on a ripple effect that it hopes will create another 200,000 to 300,000 jobs. It is also hoping to give the ripple its impetus by promoting nonprofit organizations and outsourcing government jobs in areas such as nursing and teaching.

The plan is in accordance with LDP proposals mapped out Tuesday. In it, the government departs from its traditional policy of helping companies maintain jobs for the sake of long-term employment as it attempts to nurture growth industries such as biotechnology, information and communications.

The 720,000 target figure includes 150,000 jobs that will come from front-load hiring by companies moving into growth industries with financial support from the government.

To this end, the government will boost the amount of its emergency job-creation fund, which currently totals 60 billion yen.

Another 70,000 jobs are expected to be created through the government subsidizing companies who are willing to hire laid-off workers.

The government also hopes to add 200,000 jobs by temporarily easing prerequisites that prefectures have to meet before being eligible for job-creation subsidies.

To revive industrial competitiveness, the government envisages easing regulations and tax burdens on corporations involved in split-ups, buy-outs, holding company formations and other reorganizations.

The package also urges the Fair Trade Commission to discard its domestic definition of “monopoly” for a global definition when using the Antimonopoly Law to screen corporate mergers and acquisitions.

The Antimonopoly Law is also expected to be amended to introduce debt-equity swaps that would allow deeply indebted companies to pay off their loans by issuing new shares to their creditors.

Although the scheme has finally been outlined, it still needs to be molded into legislation and pushed through the Diet before taking effect.

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