Japan: One-stop centres

The 2003 meeting of OECD Employment and Labour Ministers is timely, as it will look at the acute problem posed by ageing societies, as well as discussing comprehensive policy changes to promote the employment of under-represented groups.

To secure and stabilise employment in today’s world, where ageing is a growing feature and economic and industrial structures are changing, it is essential that real job opportunities be provided to those who wish to work, including people with caring responsibilities and older people, and that labour productivity be improved. We must solve various labour issues if we are to create a society where people can work hard and, concurrently, enjoy sufficient free time.

Japan’s labour situation is severe, with the unemployment rate still high, and we are taking every possible step to dispel concerns about unemployment by, for example, promoting early re-employment, particularly of middle- aged workers that are displaced by restructuring or downsizing.

Frankly, too many younger people are without jobs. If they stay unemployed for too long, they will not be able to enhance their employability or develop their careers. We are concerned that this may lead to serious social problems, such as a rise in precarious employment and expanding income disparities, not to mention the collapse of the economic infrastructure resulting from declining socioeconomic competitiveness and productivity in the long run.

To tackle these problems, we are currently considering establishing one-stop centres that will support youth employment and business start-ups through local initiatives, and introducing a system to train them as professionals by combining practical experience in companies and educational/vocational training. The one-stop centres would be designed to provide information, consulting and employment services. We are determined to take these measures to solve the employment problems facing the younger generation.

©OECD Observer, No 239, September 2003 

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