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PARIS (Kyodo) The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development expressed strong concern Monday about the widening income disparity in Japan at a meeting focusing on the Japanese economy, a government official said.

The Paris-based policy coordination body for the world’s leading economies plans to release a report on the Japanese economy on July 20. One of the six chapters in the report is expected to cover the issue of the widening income gap, according to the official.

“I think it’s the first time that one full chapter will be dedicated to the disparity issue,” the official said.

During the meeting, OECD officials said Japan had previously been regarded as a society in which there was little income inequality but warned that the income disparity among workers has recently been widening.

The OECD thinks Japanese companies are finding it difficult to dismiss permanent workers due to insufficient legislation on layoffs and are increasingly relying on nonpermanent workers, the official said.

“Protection on permanent workers is too strong,” an OECD official reportedly said.

Japanese participants for their part said that one of the reasons for the widening income gap is the graying population and that the income disparity among workers will probably narrow if the economy picks up.

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