On June 28 the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced the job-finding record of people who have completed vocational training under the government's job-seeker support system.
The job-seeker support system, which began in July 2009, is designed to assist job seekers who are unable to receive unemployment benefits because they previously worked in non-regular jobs or for some other reason and job seekers who have been unable to find work before their unemployment benefits ended and run the risk of long-term unemployment. The system provides free-of-charge vocational training in order to upgrade skills required for employment, as well as benefits to guarantee livelihood during the training period, with the aim of achieving the independence of job seekers as soon as possible. As its financial source, the system uses the government's emergency human resource development and employment support fund. The system was revised and renamed the Support System for Job Seekers in October 2011.
From the start of the system until the end of January 2012, 50,800 people had used the vocational training scheme. Of them, the ratios of people able to subsequently find employment was 69.7% for the basic course, in which trainees acquire the basic skills common to many jobs, and 71.8% for the practical courses, in which trainees acquire practical skills required in specific jobs. By age, trainees in the 25-29 age group accounted for the highest share of those finding work (15.7%), followed by the 35-39 age group (14.7%) and the 30-34 age group (14.5%).
Of the courses available, which are held in training facilities, 27.4% of the trainees took the basic course. The practical courses, meanwhile, are divided into 19 categories, and the most popular ones have been nursing care (18.8%), marketing, sales, and administration (15.2%), and information and communications (10.6%).
The unemployment situation remains severe in Japan. The ratio of non-regular workers in the total labour force began increasing little by little from the 1980s, exceeding 20% in 1990, 25% in 1999, and 30% in 2003. Since the Lehman Brothers shock in 2008, impacted by such factors as the Great East Japan Earthquake, the strong yen, and the crisis in Europe, it has stayed above 30%, reaching a record high of 35.2% in 2011. In addition, according to a fiscal 2010 survey, the job-offer ratio for new university graduates fell to an all-time low of 68.8%, and the number of long-term unemployed reached a record high.
RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) makes policy proposals aimed at providing vocational skill development for all workers and strengthening human resource development to support Japan's growth and competitiveness. These proposals include calls on the government to promote job support by matching the needs of companies looking to fill vacancies with job seekers; the expansion of vocational training and other schemes targeting the needs of companies and local communities, sectors suffering a shortage of labour, sectors expected to create new employment, and so on; and the expansion and strengthening of training contents and training periods.
The Job-Seeker Support System
(Persons eligible for support = specific job seekers)
Persons eligible to receive assistance under the job-seeker support system are specific job seekers who meet such conditions as (1) persons who have submitted a job-seeking application at a Hello Work office, (2) persons who are not covered by employment insurance and are not receiving employment insurance benefits, and (3) persons who have a will and enthusiasm to work. Specific job seekers include persons who are not subscribed to employment insurance, persons who did receive employment insurance benefits but were unable to find reemployment by the time those benefits ended, persons who cannot receive employment insurance benefits because their subscription period was too short, and persons who are still looking for jobs after graduation.
(Vocational training course benefits)
Livelihood expenses of 100,000 yen per month and transportation expenses to the training facility are provided as long as the trainee meets all of several conditions, including (1) income of 80,000 yen per month or less; (2) total household income of 250,000 yen per month or less (3 million yen per year); (3) total household assets of 3 million yen or less; (4) not owning any land or real estate other than the present abode; (5) attendance on all of the training days; (6) no other person in the same household receiving these benefits at the same time; and (7) not having received any specific benefits through deception or other dishonest acts over the past three years.