An increasing number of bogus job listings and unscrupulous employers are exploiting the government-run Hello Work job centers as high unemployment continues to grip the country.

Reports have surfaced that applicants are sometimes talked into taking jobs other than those advertised when they show up for interviews.

Instead of being offered full-time employment, some job-seekers are pressured to work part time. Others have taken full-time positions only to find the jobs gone a month later and themselves transformed into “self-employed agents.”

Labor officials said it is technically difficult for job centers to block employers with dubious intentions and that many desperate job-seekers end up accepting employment under unfavorable terms.

To combat unscrupulous employers, middle-aged unemployed people in Tokyo have banded together and formed the “Union of the Unemployed.” Beginning in late March, they will offer free counseling to troubled job-seekers by telephone.

According to people at the Union of the Unemployed, a Tokyo man in his 50s was pressured into accepting a part-time building maintenance job after attending an interview with an employer that had advertised a full-time position.

Another man in his 50s in Kanagawa Prefecture told the union that he became a so-called self-employed agent for a phone service company one month after taking a full-time position. His employer had promised in the Hello Work job listing to pay “over 180,000 yen per month, with no sales quota.”

Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry officials said posting a false job advertisement violates the Employment Security Law. But apparently job centers can do little more than remove such job offers from their lists.

Middle-aged men and women in Japan are hit particularly hard by high unemployment.

On Friday, the Aichi Labor Bureau opened a job center in Nagoya that focuses exclusively on young job-seekers aged under 30.

Located near Nagoya Station, the center — Young Work Plaza Aichi — has 11 employees to help young people find permanent jobs.

The center is equipped with 20 computer terminals that let job-seekers peruse listings and do simple tests to help them figure out what types of work they may fit into within a company.

Job centers targeting young people first opened in Osaka in 2001. Since then, Kobe, Yokohama and Tokyo have set up their own job centers for young people.

Jobless center to move

Staff report The Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Friday that it will move its job information center for foreigners to the Kabukicho entertainment district of Shinjuku in the spring.

The current facility, in Minato Ward, will close March 31.

The Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners will open April 1 at Hello Work Shinjuku. The center will handle services including providing job information, setting up job interviews and advising foreign residents on visa procedures.

The information center will have full-time staff who speak English, Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish. It will be open between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.

According to the metropolitan government, almost 54 percent of foreigners working in 4,149 offices in Tokyo are from East Asian nations, including China and South Korea.

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