Japan’s largest labor organization called Wednesday on New Komeito and the New Conservative Party to review the draft government budget for fiscal 2003 in hopes of reinforcing employment measures, Rengo officials said.

Tadayoshi Kusano, general secretary of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), held separate talks with New Komeito policy chief Kazuo Kitagawa and NCP leader Hiroshi Kumagai in the Diet building, the officials said.

New Komeito and the NCP are the two junior partners in the ruling coalition led by the Liberal Democratic Party.

According to the officials, Kusano told the two coalition politicians the employment situation is “extremely severe” and sought their efforts to better stabilize the job market.

Kitagawa was quoted as saying that while he realizes the need to reform the job market to increase employment mobility, he believes workers need more job security.

Kumagai said he would like to “better respond to requests from workers,” according to the officials.

The unemployment rate hit a record high 5.4 percent in 2002, up 0.4 percentage point from the previous year and breaking the postwar record for the second straight year.

The Diet is now deliberating the budget for the coming fiscal year, which starts April 1.

A budget of 81.79 trillion yen was submitted to the Diet in late January.

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