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No.59(2011/9/13)
DPJ President Noda Elected Prime Minister
Following the resignation of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Democratic Party of Japan President Yoshihiko Noda was elected Japan's new prime minister on August 30.

General Secretary Hiroyuki Nagumo of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), the DPJ's largest supporting organization, issued a statement saying, "Our country is facing many issues, including recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. On the basis of party unity, we hope that Prime Minister Noda will bring the ruling and opposition parties together to overcome this national crisis and take steps toward the restoration of Japan."

While holding consultations with both ruling and opposition parties, RENGO will continue to strengthen its support for and solidarity with the DPJ administration with the aim of realizing policies for workers toward the building of an anxiety-free society centered on work.

The Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (September 2011)
Power-Saving Plan Achieves Good Results
This summer the government has been restricting electricity consumption by large-lot users in eastern and northeastern Japan to avert power shortages amid the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Under the nation's first mandatory power-saving drive since the 1973 oil crisis, large-lot users in the service areas of Tokyo Electric Power Co.(TEPCO) and Tohoku Electric Power Co. are required to reduce electricity consumption by 15% from a year earlier during peak usage hours on weekdays. Those who intentionally violate the restriction face fines of up to 1 million yen.

Industries and households are under pressure to save electricity usage this summer in order to avoid triggering blackouts if demand exceeds the reduced power generation capacity in regions damaged by the March disaster.

The government has asked small-lot users and households to voluntarily cut electricity consumption, also by 15%, by working out power-saving plans involving such steps as curtailing the use of air conditioners and switching off unnecessary lighting. However, it has also frequently warned against excessive cuts in the use of air conditioning as that could cause heatstroke

After the order was issued, average electricity use in peak hours on weekdays in TEPCO's service area fell 20.4% in July and 21.9% in August from the previous year, exceeding the required 15% cut.

After determining that the hot weather had passed its peak, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced on August 30 that it has brought forward the end of its mandatory curb on electricity consumption for most of TEPCO's service area from September 22 to September 9.

Industrial Production
---Industrial production on recovery trend following Great East Japan Earthquake---

Industrial production in July 2011 increased 0.6% over the previous month, registering a rise for the fourth consecutive month but down 2.8% from the previous year. The index in July was 93.2 (seasonally adjusted).

Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) transport equipment, (2) information and communication electronic equipment, and (3) general machinery, in that order.

Commodities that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) small passenger cars, (2) cell phones, and (3) drive transmission and control parts, in that order.

According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase 2.8% in August and decrease 2.4% in September.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in July
(1) Expenditure for two-or-more-person households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household for July was 280,046 yen, down1.8% in nominal terms and down 2.1% in real terms from the same month in the previous year.
(2) Income and expenditures for workers' households
The average monthly income per household stood at 572,662 yen, up1.9% in nominal terms and up 1.6% in real terms over the same month in the previous year. The average monthly consumption expenditure per household was 309,356 yen, down 2.3% in nominal terms and down 2.6% in real terms from the previous year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
Since March 2011, labour force survey results for the whole of Japan have been published excluding the three prefectures that suffered the most damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake (Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima). Therefore, the time series data for the whole of Japan has not been connected to past series.
For comparison, retroactive data (from January 2009 through February 2011) are also shown in the table below. "Change from previous year" indicates differences between data excluding the three prefectures.

(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in July was 59.73 million, a decrease of 200,000, or 0.3%, from the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in July was 2.92 million, a decrease of 230,000, or 7.39%, from the previous year. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.7%.

According to a separate report released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, job availability improved in July, with the ratio of job offers to job seekers standing at 0.64, up 0.01 over the previous month. This figure means that there were 64 jobs available for every 100 job seekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index for Japan in July was 99.8 (2010=100), the same level as the previous month and up 0.1% over the previous year.
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