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Major private-sector nursing-care providers have reported improved earnings following aggressive restructuring, according to industry officials.

The industry had performed poorly in services covered by a public nursing-care insurance plan launched last April.

Under the plan, people aged 65 and older and their families are free to choose whether to receive nursing support at home or at a facility on a contractual basis.

The new system is designed to upgrade elderly care by encouraging private nursing-care firms to participate, as opposed to care plans that were previously run only by the government.

One such provider, Comsn Inc., which slashed jobs and operational bases, posted a gross profit for three straight months from April, while another, Nichii Gakkan Co., saw its customer base grow 50 percent between April and June.

Last June, Comsn cut its operational bases to 300, a quarter of the number open when the nursing plan started.

Restructuring put the Tokyo-based company 15 million yen in the black in April, a figure that quadrupled to 61 million yen by June.

The nursing service company services 55 customers per base, above the break-even level of 50 customers.

“We have finished restructuring and now we will move on to expand (our business),” a Comsn official said.

Nichii Gakkan, which suffered losses in the year to March for the first time, said its nursing-care division wouldn’t turn a profit until next March, after investing heavily in day service facilities.

But the company said it expected to post profits in August and September in its home-visit nursing-care business.

Japan Care Service Corp., which regained profitability in January, fell into the red again in April, hit by increased costs after scrapping and merging operations.

The company expects to post profits from around July or August. It is concerned by a “lack of home helpers, especially in the Tokyo metropolitan area,” even though it has continued to recruit 50 to 60 helpers a month, an official at the care service said.

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