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The number of NEETs, or people not involved in employment, education or training, is rising among those in their mid-20s and older, a government white paper said Friday.

The 2009 white paper on youths said NEETs aged between 15 and 24 stood at 260,000 in 2008, down 30,000 from 2002, and that the population of NEETs aged between 25 and 34 rose by 30,000 to 380,000 over the same period.

That boosted the total number of NEETs to 640,000 — a gain of 20,000 between 2002 and 2008, the white paper said.

The major factors in determining whether one becomes a NEET are said to be truancy and quitting high school, said the white paper, which was compiled by Yuko Obuchi, state minister in charge of declining birthrate and gender equality.

The paper highlighted prefecture-level efforts to help NEETs, including a Net-based database at the Kochi board of education that helps track down such youths and a boarding school that opened in Hyogo to take them in.

The report also took note of key demographic changes.

Young people (defined as those under 30) accounted for 29.8 percent of the population, which stood at 127.69 million as of last Oct. 1. It is the first time the ratio has fallen below 30 percent, the report said.

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