The number of part-time workers topped 10 million last year, accounting for one in every four workers in Japan, according to a survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

The ministry said roughly 11.18 million people were working part time in 2001, up 3.2 million from the last survey taken in 1995.

Part-timers who were not temporary staff accounted for 26.1 percent of the workforce, compared with 17.8 percent in 1995, the survey showed.

The poll was conducted last October on 9,730 businesses with five or more regular workers, and on the 21,855 part-timers they employed.

It found 65.3 percent of the responding firms hired part-time workers to cut costs, up sharply from 38.3 percent in 1995.

Among other findings, 62.6 percent of male part-timers said they were doing so to “maintain a livelihood,” up from 46.3 percent in 1995, while 59.6 percent, down from 60.1 percent, of the women said they were “supplementing family finances.”

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