FUJIYOSHIDA, Yamanashi Pref. — The Japan Federation of Employers’ Associations (Nikkeiren) called on the central government Thursday to implement a 1 trillion yen emergency employment scheme to help cope with rising unemployment.
According to the three-year scheme, adopted by business leaders during Nikkeiren’s summer seminar here, the central and local governments would utilize the fund to offer 1 million short-term jobs and various job-training programs.
Nikkeiren will demand the national government include the plan in its supplementary budget for this fiscal year — if one is drawn up — or in the national budget for fiscal 2002, officials said.
The proposed scheme includes a 700 billion yen fund that local governments could use to create various jobs that meet the needs of their regions.
Jobs proposed by Nikkeiren include career advisers for children, tax collectors and assistants who would handle parking infringements. Unemployed people should be preferentially hired as support staff for the World Cup soccer finals to be held in Japan next year, officials said.
The scheme includes 250 billion yen to fund a government job training program to help jobless people increase their work skills.
Business leaders at the seminar also urged the private sector to take the initiative and to create jobs in such industries as housing, information, telecommunications, environment, and medical and nursing care.
The implementation of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi plan to dispose of banks’ bad loans is expected to result in an increase in unemployment and bankruptcies.
National and local governments should not hesitate to increase public sector jobs while promoting economic structural reforms, said Nikkeiren Chairman Hiroshi Okuda during the seminar’s morning session.
Employers should also make more effort to develop innovative technologies, products and services to create new employment opportunities, said Okuda, who also serves as chairman of Toyota Motor Corp.
“It is up to political and business leaders to take measures that allow people who have been laid off to find other jobs easily,” he said.
While some experts call for easing rules for dismissing employees, Okuda opposed this strategy.
“I think people would endure pain caused by structural reforms only if business and political leaders are willing to accept pain themselves . . . and be responsible for protecting as many jobs as possible,” he said. “The easy cutback of workers could eventually cause a social collapse.”
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