Business

Japan to support creation of 300,000 jobs for long-term unemployed

Kyodo

The government plans to support the creation of 300,000 jobs over the next three years for people who have failed to secure permanent employment since the collapse of Japan’s economic bubble in the early 1990s, a draft policy guideline showed Tuesday.

The support will include programs for human resources development and cooperation between companies and local governments to create jobs for those left behind in the “employment ice age” that lasted through the early 2000s.

The government, which estimates there are around 1 million long-term unemployed people in their mid-30s to mid-40s, is aiming to boost incomes while underpinning domestic demand, according to the draft obtained by Kyodo News.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to approve the plan, part of the government’s annual economic policy blueprint, after a meeting next week of a key economic and fiscal policy panel, sources close to the matter said.

The policy blueprint is being discussed as the government is scheduled to raise the consumption tax in October, which could weigh on consumer spending and hurt the economy.

The draft underscored that the government will “implement flexible macroeconomic policies without hesitation” if the economy loses momentum.

The government is also looking to prompt wage hikes in order to realize minimum hourly average pay of ¥1,000 ($9.20), according to the draft.

Abe will unveil the policy blueprint ahead of an Upper House election this summer.

The blueprint will also mention the need for the government to continue with social security reforms to cut costs and secure funds for economic stimulus.

The draft suggests the government is considering raising revenue from wealthier elderly people and lifting the age limit for starting to receive public pensions to above 70 from the current 65, among other steps.

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