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The total number of people who have become unemployed in Japan amid the coronavirus pandemic reached 79,522 as of Friday, the labor ministry’s latest weekly tally showed Monday.

Of the total, 38,009 were nonregular employees. In all, 16,717 were employed in manufacturing and over 10,000 worked in each in the food and drink sector and the retail industry.

By prefecture, 19,318 worked in Tokyo, followed by 6,657 in Osaka and 4,696 in Aichi.

The monthly number of such workers for December came to 5,199 across the country as of Friday, already topping the November total of 5,193. The monthly figure logged the first month-on-month increase in three months.

The weekly number of such workers hit a one-month high of 1,783 in the week through Friday, far outpacing around 1,000 each in earlier weeks.

A senior labor ministry official expressed a strong sense of crisis amid the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, saying that the pandemic could have a delayed impact on the employment situation.

Furthermore, the situation is believed to be more severe than suggested by the ministry’s survey, which only covers cases found via prefectural labor bureaus and Hello Work public job security offices.

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