The labor ministry has decided to expand the scope of its youth job support initiative to cover people up to age 50 to cope with an increase in middle-aged people out of work, according to informed sources.
The ministry now finds it necessary to give assistance to people in the “employment ice age” generation, those who graduated from high school or college roughly between the middle 1990s and early 2000s after the collapse of the bubble economy, the sources said Monday.
Currently, the ministry provides people not in school and aged less than 40 with comprehensive employment support, including consultations, work experience programs and job interview training at 177 support stations nationwide.
According to the sources, all support stations, which are operated by nonprofit organizations and other parties commissioned by the ministry, will offer advice to jobless people up to around 50 years old starting next April.
The ministry will also set up 12 “one-stop” support stations that will also help needy people make a living and find a place to live.
For middle-aged people who are not trying to find a job, the ministry plans to have support station staff members visit and encourage them to look for work, in cooperation with local welfare offices, social workers and centers to assist hikikomori social recluses.
The sources also said clinical psychotherapists and experienced social case workers will be positioned at support stations taking care of the needy and recluses because these people may have psychological problems, including loss of confidence.
For those who move forward to seek employment, the ministry will cooperate with HelloWork public job placement offices and businesses across the country to provide a variety of work opportunities, such as jobs with reduced working hours, hoping that they will eventually win regular jobs, the sources said.