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Japanese gov't set to assist 'employment ice age' generation secure regular work

Posters encouraging people in the "employment ice age" generation and others to join a support program designed to increase regular employees are seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on May 29, 2019. (Mainichi/Kenji Shimizu)

TOKYO -- The government aims to increase the number of regular workers in their mid-30s to mid-40s by 300,000 through a support program designed to help people in the "employment ice age" generation.

The program will be included in a policy on economic and fiscal management to be approved at a June Cabinet meeting. According to an individual linked to the government, calculations show that currently some 50,000 people in this generation secure regular work each year, and the program aims to boost this amount over the next three years. Measures to increase such regular workers will be reflected in the fiscal 2019 budget draft.

The majority of those who experienced scarcity of employment after the bursting of the "bubble" economy in the early 1990s are some 17 million people aged 35 to 44, according to the age division of the Labor Force Survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Presumably, around 3.71 million of such people have non-regular jobs and about 520,000 are part-time workers.

Furthermore, an estimated total of some 500,000 people who have explained their reason for not working full-time as "lack of regular employment" in the survey will be considered as working unwillingly as non-regular employees under the program. The government also expects to support a total of about 1 million people including social recluses, requiring social involvement.

The government plans to introduce specific measures, such as setting up an assistance service dedicated for the employment of the ice age generation at "Hello Work" employment offices and establishing programs so such people can acquire certifications in a short period of time. It will also make efforts to create a structure that encourages prefectural governments to promote cooperation between the public and private sectors, and increase the amount of subsidies provided to companies.

Although the government plans to include measures, such as continued accompanying support, to assist retention and prevent turnover once a person enters regular employment under the policy, it does not plan to set a numerical goal to that end.

(Japanese original by Keisuke Umeda, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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