4,000 in Tohoku to lose jobless benefits as extensions end


Around 4,000 coastal residents of tsunami-hit Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures will become ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits by March as their special disaster extensions run out.

The government granted extensions of up to 120 days to those who lost their jobs in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Tohoku on March 11, 2011.

It also granted an additional extension of 90 days starting from last October to jobless people in 45 coastal municipalities in the three prefectures.

Around 1,300 people became eligible for the additional extension in October and 2,700 the following month.

Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry officials said the ministry does not intend to grant further extensions because job offers are rising in conjunction with reconstruction projects.

The total consists of around 400 people in Iwate, 1,700 in Miyagi and 1,800 in Fukushima, according to labor ministry data.

The availability of unemployment insurance benefits ranges from 90 to 330 days, depending on age, period of enrollment and other conditions.