The world economy has taken a pretty big hit since 2007, and every country is doing what it can to recover. Some have been able to do better than others, but for most people, they haven’t gotten back to pre-crash numbers, whatever that may be.
While unemployment numbers have steadily decreased in the U.S., Japan has its own unique set of economic problems to deal with. With an unemployment rate sitting at 3.6% as of September, an entirely different sort of problem is rearing its ugly head here. What problems does unemployment cause? For that answer, we have to turn to the parents.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare asked a variety of questions to young Japanese between the ages of 15 and 34 to determine some details about the work force in Japan.
A shocking statistic revealed itself in the survey they called “Survey of Employment of Young People”. While many Japanese citizens in that range are employed, a lot of them consider themselves to have non-regular jobs, or temporary jobs. Temporary jobs include part-time jobs, contract employment, and any temporary work. Of these people, when asked what their main source of income was, 40.3% of them responded with “my parents’ income.”
That’s a startling number of people who don’t consider their employment to be paying them a livable wage. Of course, every person’s situation is different, but there is a lot to be concerned about when people aren’t able to live their daily lives with just their wages, suggesting that the minimum wage in Japan is too minimum. These results don’t offer enough concrete data to say one way or another though. Perhaps these part-time jobs are unable or unwilling to employ their workers for more hours in a week. It could also be that these young adults are choosing to work low hours and rely on their parents. But that is a whole different can of worms.
Another interesting aspect of employment in Japan that the survey revealed was regarding those with long-term employment. For example, of the respondents who consider themselves to have a regular income, 22.5% of them work more than 50 hours a week. That seems like a small number of people considering the “culture of working” in Japan. But then again, these are 15- to 34-year-olds, with almost half of that age range possibly still attending school.
This “culture of working” is such an ingrained stereotype of the average Japanese salary worker. But, how much overtime are they working? A question on the survey asked respondents if they put in more than 80 hours of overtime a month. On average that works out to be 3.2 hours of overtime a day which is where "karoshi" (death by overworking) occurs. A frightening 7.2% answered in the affirmative. That’s a fairly significant number of young adults that are working their youth away.
While people in other countries might focus on the overtime aspect of the survey, Japanese citizens will assuredly be more concerned with the number of youth unable to earn a decent wage. How bright can the economic future of Japan be when 40.3% of them can’t seem to earn enough to invest in their own future? It could be an incredibly important question for how well “Abenomics” is working. These part-time workers may have enough free time on their hands to influence government policy. That is, if their parents give them permission to go out on the weekend.
Source: My Game News Flash via bengoshi dot com news
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