FOCUS: Japan Weighs Exit Strategy for COVID-19 Relief to Keep Jobs

Politics

Tokyo, July 8 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government is trying to map out an exit strategy for special measures under the employment adjustment subsidy program introduced more than two years ago to forestall a spike in unemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exceptional measures contributed to keeping Japan's jobless rate lower than in overseas nations, but a surge in subsidy payouts has led to a serious depletion of the program's financial resources.

Critics call for a revision, saying the special measures are serving as a disincentive for people to switch jobs, in particular to small and midsize companies as well as to sectors suffering labor shortages.

According to the labor ministry, the cumulative approved total of employment adjustment subsidies since the start of the special pandemic relief measures in spring 2020 stood at 5,815.9 billion yen as of June 17.

As part of the employment insurance system, employment adjustment subsidies are provided to companies that pay leave allowances to furloughed workers. In an additional effort to maintain employment amid the novel coronavirus crisis, the government raised the subsidization rate to up to 100 pct and the upper limit on daily payouts to 15,000 yen per head.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press