Re: Re: [OPE] Japan's unemployment bombshell and political change.

From: <>
Date: Sun Aug 30 2009 - 22:22:18 EDT

Dear All;

In my knowledge, the ifficial statistic of Japanese rate of unemployment is na
rrowlt defined as Paul says. A person who worked one hour in the last week of
the month is not counted as unemployed. Therefore we usually roughly double th
e figure to be comparable to the figures in the other advanced countries. Thus
, 5.7% really means 11.4%, on the comparable basis.

Why does such a severe disaster hit Japanese real economy, despite of relative
 stability of Japanese banks and financial sector through the subprime-crisis,
 remains a problem in comparison with the USA and European economies? In my re
cent Japanese book 'From the Subprime to the World Crisis', I raised this puzz
le and suggested that the fundamental economic difficulties in Japan, such as
rapidly aging society, and enoumous fiscal crisis of the State, pressures of i
ndustrialization of other Asian countries, besides the resultant excessive dep
endency of export for the preceeding economic recovery, are to be counted.

Now, the land-slide victory of the Democratic party surely refects people's wo
rry for the present and future in our society. However, the Communist party an
d the Social Democratice party could not gain but just managed to maintain the
ir seat number, 9 and 7, in total 480 in the House of Representatives. Thus, a
 political change occurred yesterday in Japan due to the economic crisis, but
this may not mean a victory of Japanese socialist movement. The change has to
be pushed forward further in cooperation with the left in the world.


----- Original Message -----
>From: Paul Bullock <>
>To: "Outline on Political Economy mailing list" <>
>Subject: Re: [OPE] Japan's unemployment bombshell...
>Date: Sun, 30 Aug 2009 23:27:12 +0100
>The point here is to remind ourselves that official unemployment measures in
>Japan mean that if you work more than ONE hour a week you are NOT
>unemployed. This, I think, can be confirmed by M.Itoh ( please Makoto? ),
>and I am not sure that the figs below are of the same ilk, ie not OECD or
>ILO definitions.
>Paul Bullock
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Jurriaan Bendien" <>
>To: "Outline on Political Economy mailing list" <>
>Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 5:04 PM
>Subject: [OPE] Japan's unemployment bombshell...
>> (As I noted on OPE-L a month ago, there are big changes in the wind now in
>> Japan's political economy, and this is again confirmed by reports in
>> recent
>> days. Unemployment has begun to rise steeply in Japan, across the last six
>> months, and this will affect all the Pacific rim countries as well).
>> Japanese jobless rate hits record high
>> By Mure Dickie and Robin Harding in Tokyo and Justine Lau in Hong Kong
>> Published: FT August 28 2009
>> Japan's unemployment rate on Friday hit its highest level since records
>> began in 1960, underscoring the economic problems that could result in a
>> political earthquake in Sunday's general election.
>> Widespread dissatisfaction with the Liberal Democratic party and the
>> sharpest recession in decades have set the stage for what polls say could
>> be
>> a landslide victory by the decade-old Democratic party. (...) efforts to
>> rebuild confidence in the LDP's economic competence will have suffered a
>> new
>> setback from the bleak data released on Friday on the two economic issues
>> of
>> most concern to the electorate - prices and employment. Seasonally
>> adjusted
>> unemployment rose to a record 5.7 per cent in July, up from 5.4 per cent
>> in
>> June, while deflation also tightened its grip on the economy, with core
>> consumer prices excluding fresh food - the central bank's preferred
>> measure - down 2.2 per cent on a year earlier.
>> The change may seem slight to the layman, but consider what this means:
>> In a separate report the same day, the labor ministry said the ratio of
>> job
>> offers to job seekers in July fell to an all-time low of 0.42. That means
>> there were 42 jobs available for every 100 job seekers. (...) Tadayoshi
>> Ichida, secretary general of the Japanese Communist Party, said the latest
>> figure invalidates the argument by the government and the ruling bloc that
>> if big businesses make profits, people's incomes will increase. "We need
>> to
>> work on reviewing labor laws, including the overhaul of the labor dispatch
>> law," he said.
>> The pressure therefore builds up for labour market flexibilization:
>> Japanese employment practice is traditionally founded on lifetime
>> employment. The employee usually remains with one company for his/her
>> entire
>> working life. The employment period is thus not stipulated and the post is
>> assured until mandatory retirement age, which is usually somewhere between
>> 55 and 60 years. Such a regular employee normally does not have special
>> skills when he/she enters but tends to be trained within the company by
>> being rotated between different jobs and departments. However, this
>> tradition does not meet the needs of all employers and employees. In the
>> year 2000, the regular staff was 74% of all employees and the number is
>> decreasing
>> Unemployment continues to increase, while labour mobility slows:
>> Taro Saito, senior economist at NLI Research Institute
>> [ ], said the jobless
>> rate
>> will
>> reach the 6-percent mark by the end of the year even though the rate of
>> increase is expected to slow. (...) The unemployment rate for men rose
>> 0.4
>> point from June to 6.1 percent, exceeding 6.0 percent for the first time.
>> For women, the jobless rate increased 0.1 point to 5.1 percent. Japan had
>> 3.59 million unemployed people in July, up by a record 1.03 million from
>> the
>> same month last year. Of the unemployed, 1.21 million, up 650,000, lost
>> their jobs based on the decisions of their employers, while 1.1 million
>> people, an increase of 100,000, left their jobs on their own. The harsh
>> job
>> situation was particularly tough on young people in July, with the jobless
>> rate at 9.9 percent for those between 15 and 24 years old. (...) The ratio
>> of job offers to job seekers, based on information from the government-run
>> Hello Work job placement centers, had dropped by at least 0.06 point every
>> month from January to April.
>> Maybe old loony news, but nevertheless of interest:
>> A Marxist novel written in 1929 has climbed to the top of Japan's best
>> seller list, reflecting growing anxiety about job security and widening
>> income gaps in the world's second-biggest economy. (...) "A Crab-Canning
>> Boat" tells the tale of a crab boat crew working in harsh conditions under
>> a
>> sadistic captain. It was written by Takiji Kobayashi, a communist who was
>> tortured to death by police at the age of 29 in 1933. Most of the novel is
>> devoted to the crew's struggle to unite and coordinate a strike, and the
>> story ends with their vow to topple their capitalists masters.
>> August 15 2008, the day of the 63rd anniversary of the end of World War II
>> (day of the surrender of Japanese imperialism), was commemorated by a
>> rally
>> titled " ' Crab-Canning Ship ' -Do we allow the Constitution succumb to
>> national interest and chauvinistic nationalism?'". 580 participants
>> gathered
>> to the rally in Nakano, Tokyo. (...) The rally was opened by the address
>> of
>> a young social welfare worker who articulated the purpose of the rally in
>> the following words: "Now the whole world has become 'Crab-Canning Ship'.
>> We
>> all live in a 'Crab-Canning Ship'. But we can change the whole world when
>> we
>> are united."
>> For more labour force data see:
>> Yen reference rates:
>> (the Yen did not gain ground much after its fall in Q4 2008, and most
>> likely
>> will go down more).
>> Jurriaan
>> _______________________________________________
>> ope mailing list
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Received on Sun Aug 30 22:24:01 2009

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