• Kyodo News

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The Foreign Ministry and its overseas aid agency plan to increase their quotas for overseas volunteer programs by about 200 in fiscal 2009 to give jobless people other options during the recession, officials said Saturday.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency has been running a notice on its Web site about the programs, which typically send around 1,700 volunteers abroad each year.

Applications will be accepted from April 1 through May 18 for “young” volunteers ranging in age from 20 to 39 and “senior” volunteers from 40 to 69.

Volunteers are needed to provide skills and technical assistance in about 100 types of professions from civil engineering, surveying and machinery processing to agriculture and sports. Some of the professions require specialized educational backgrounds, skills and experience.

Volunteers are normally given two-year assignments in developing countries and receive a stipend of $300 per month. Accommodations are provided by the host countries.

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