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Although Japan’s economy has come through the worst phase of the current crisis, the government’s October economic report shows that the unemployment rate remains high. At 5.5 percent in August, the rate was only slightly better than the all-time high of 5.7 percent registered the previous month. There were still 3.61 million people out of work, or 890,000 more than a year earlier. The ratio of job openings to job-seekers was at a record low of 0.42. Clearly, the government is under pressure to prevent the situation from worsening and to somehow increase employment.

In response to the unemployment figures, the government has worked out a package of emergency measures to help unemployed and other hard-pressed people find work and housing in shelters. The government will cooperate with local governments to establish a service counter in public employment security offices where people can find jobs, housing and other forms of public support, such as livelihood assistance, without being shuffled from one office to another. Special consultants will also be on hand in the offices to help prospective university and high school graduates.

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