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Japan's actors, anime workers set to be covered by special compensation insurance

The building housing the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- A working group of the Labor Policy Council generally agreed to add celebrities including actors, workers in animation productions and bonesetters to the list of sole proprietors and others who can apply for special insurance as an exception, during a Dec. 8 meeting.

    The council, an advisory body to the labor minister, plans to revise related ministerial ordinances and implement the additions by the end of fiscal 2021.

    The decision to add the three job types to the industrial accident compensation insurance policy that applies to employees of companies and organizations in Japan came after the Labor Policy Council held hearings in response to requests by the Japan Actors Union and other groups. The union is headed by famed actor Toshiyuki Nishida.

    Actors work in a similar way to employees, as they receive work through entertainment agencies and perform under the instruction of directors and producers. Entertainment industry workers including technical staff effectively had to go at their own expense to receive treatment for work-related injuries or illnesses. A total of 15,000 people are expected to be newly covered under the special insurance.

    Under the program, people who paid premiums to industry groups can receive treatment costs, compensation for absence from work and other payments when they suffer accidents at work. This already applies to people including individual taxi drivers and construction workers.

    About 1.9 million people had been insured under the program as of the end of fiscal 2018. The Japanese government is considering expanding the range of applicants as a way to protect freelance workers who receive jobs from companies without signing employment contracts.

    (Japanese original by Hidenori Yazawa, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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