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Japan planning to spend 15 billion dollars on jobs

Latest update : 2009-03-19

In the grip of its worst recession in decades, Japan is planning to spend over 15 billion dollars to protect jobs and support the unemployed, the Labour Minister has announced. The plan could be financed under an upcoming stimulus package.

AFP - Japan may spend more than 15 billion dollars to protect jobs and help the unemployed amid its steepest economic downturn in decades, Labour Minister Yoichi Masuzoe said Thursday.

The plan could cover vocational training for job-seekers, subsidies to help companies save jobs, and payments to help laid-off migrant workers or help them return to their home countries, said reports quoting unnamed officials.

"We need to map out employment measures aggressively to the scale of 1.5 trillion yen (15.6 billion dollars)," Masuzoe told reporters.

"People have concerns about what to live off while they are looking for the next job or while they are getting vocational training," he said. "We want to present drastic measures to address this kind of problem."

Asia's largest economy is heading for its worst recession since World War II, and major auto, electronics and other companies have slashed tens of thousands of jobs, hitting temporary contract workers the hardest.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it plans to halve recruitment of full-time workers in the next fiscal year starting in April to around 1,800 employees, while some other companies have cut or frozen new hiring.

Japan's jobless rate in January stood at 4.1 percent, still below its record of 5.5 percent in 2002, but is expected to rise as the global downturn bites deeper into Japan's export industries.

The Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry said last month that nearly 158,000 contract workers have or will have lost jobs by the end of March.

The jobs package could be financed under an upcoming stimulus package Prime Minister Taro Aso has announced, following two earlier spending packages worth a total of about 50 trillion yen.

Date created : 2009-03-19

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