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Gov't to encourage jobless to work the land

26 Comments

The government is planning to offer jobless people work in farming and fishing in hopes of bringing new blood to the aging countryside amid a worsening recession, officials said Friday.

Japanese companies have slashed tens of thousands of jobs, many held by young people on temporary contracts, as the global slowdown cuts demand for cars, electronics and other goods made by Asia's largest economy.

Japan has one of the world's lowest birthrates and with young people for years flocking to the cities, the countryside has been rapidly graying.

As part of Prime Minister Taro Aso's emergency economic package, the government is paying expenses for 800 jobless people to go on 10-day trips to learn how to process and sell agricultural produce.

In the financial year starting in April, the program will be expanded to offer year-long stays in farming and fishing villages to about 50 people, agriculture ministry official Hisao Muneta said.

The program "is aimed at recruiting potential successors for the agricultural and fisheries industries", he said. "Some participants in the program will hopefully settle permanently in villages."

Farmers and fishermen often find it difficult to persuade young people to stay in small towns, where other types of work are scarce. Japan relies on imports for around 60% of its food, the highest rate among rich nations.

Muneta said young people could also bring new dynamism to rural communities.

"Even a small thing such as showing how to post a blog on the Internet would be great help to aging farmers and fishermen in promoting their products," he said.

The agriculture ministry will ask for help from groups that have recruited young people in the past to resettle in rural villages, officials said.

© Wire reports

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

26 Comments
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This article reminds me of the British post-apocalyptic movie "Threads" where a nuclear holocaust force the survivors to work in agriculture.

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They need to expand these year long stays in rural areas from 50 people to 50,000 people.

Use the 12,000 yen that Aso is giving to 127,000,000 people here in Japan and redirect that to this program if Japan is going to be serious about keeping their rural areas alive. (The nicest parts & people of Japan, if you ask me.)

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Gov't to encourage jobless to work the land not only in Japan , I suppose. Also in other parts of the world we will be the same...

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The countryside has been depopulated as people move to the city for work. Well, now there isn't any work in the city, so maybe they should move back.

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Unless Japanese Elec and Auto Industry goes out of business, this is a temporary measure. Japan's recession is Made in Japan artificial one nothing to do with global recession. Whatever profits (trillions of yen) big businesses earned mainly through Exports, up until Sept.,08 is theirs, account closed. Now since exports are down we do not have enough foreign earning to pay you local guys. Secondly, commodity prices in Japan were increased by 30-40% since Aug.,08 thereafter Commodity Market along with Oil has fallen by 50% and yen is appreciated by 20% or more. Why not pass on these benefits to consumers? No answer, means no recession or self-made recession.

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some14some - I'm guessing you did arts, not economics at university.

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Stupid government,why don't just employ more chinese to japan,It's not only overcome the lack of labor but aslo increase the lower population.

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Glamourize the program on a theme park image. That'll boost morale of homeless & jobless. Sustain the program with sustainable work life balance.

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lol! If peeple have no job, u should b a farmer? lol! I don't get it.

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promoting farming is good, shud have started ages ago though...........

What about garbage collection I live semi rural & the roadsides are littered with gomi, Jpn cud employ a lot of people to cut weeds on the roadsides from spring to Dec then from Dec to april they can go along the same roads & p/u all the gomi thats accumlated, right there is very steady year round employment & they can sell the paper & metals collected to boot!

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It's nice to see the government trying to do something. Even if some or most of the proposals fail, some people can be helped. It's better than sitting on their hands and doing nothing at all.

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So long as this is handled with a degree of dignity and smarts, it's a great idea.

In other words, it's going to fail incredibly.

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Government hopes this is good way, but I don't think jobless or homeless people easily become farmer or fisherman in rural areas as they neither have had any experience nor have thought about it. Maybe some do, but most don't.

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I agree with speed..... the people in japanese cities are different from real country folk. The idea that farming is hard is a bunch of bull. The real reason people want to leave the country is because pachinko parlors and conbini's are few and far between.

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I think it's a great idea. It will help revitalize the countryside and give young country ladies a greater opportunity to find spouses. One of the better, recent ideas by the government.

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If there was enough meaningful and decently paid work to go around in rural areas fewer young people would leave in the first place. I teach a private class in a rural area and the people there have told me that within living memory most of the people in the village worked in agriculture, but now, no-one is even full-time in agriculture, with farmers taking on part-time jobs in conbinis and gas-stations to suppliment their incomes. Neither argriculture nor the fishing industry is crying out for more workers.

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This is going to depend if they can get the younguns to actually go there to work. In most cases they just go back to mommy and daddy and live rent free, play video games all day, and then go out with their pals at night. First the gov needs to instill a work ethic in the younger - slacker generation. Of course of they offer free manga and gaming then they'll be there in minutes.

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In the financial year starting in April, the program will be expanded to offer year-long stays in farming and fishing villages to about 50 people, agriculture ministry official Hisao Muneta said.

good work.

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I,ve been looking for an actual reporting, but if I remember right because of the exodus of the young to the cities some towns in Hokkaido have been offering free housing and land to young people who want to start farming for quite some time now. I don't believe they have fared well with the program.

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I beleive this to be One SMALL step to repopulate the countryside Young people,Mother Japan calls you to Stand and Show the world who YOU are!!!BANZAI!!!!!

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Right you are zhazam05, Come on you young sons of Nippon, roll the legs of your Armanis and step off into that manure fertilized rice paddy!

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I think it's a good idea, hope people swallow their pride and actually go.

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I registered just for this. For once I agree with the government. There will be difficulties of course, but it's better than sitting on their hands hoping things will get better. Well done the Japanese Government. If only a handful of the young people going to the countryside stay and keep at it then it is a success. Actually, it's nice to be able to be positive about things once in a while.

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How you gonna keep down on the farm after they've seen gay paree?

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The Japanese educational model continues to produce hapless youths with no hope for the future. This program, if done right, could help change that. Farming used to be a group activity in Japan involving many generations of knowledge that got kids involved at an early age. That generation and knowledge base will be gone soon. So, finally it appears the J-govt "gets it".

As suicide and job related mental illness is on the rise in Japan, working the land is just the kind of medicine that can heal the stressed urban soul and give greater meaning to life. What could be more meaningful than producing and providing the very substance that sustains life?

Its way past time to get back to the land. This program is preferable to massive job programs building roads and paving swamps for nothing. Agriculture is both craft and art form in Japan, but the mentality about farming in Japan, as work for "uneducated people who cant do anything else", will be the greatest impediment to success.

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If the government would see the whole picture, this would be a great opportunity to use the upcoming stimulus payment money in a better way. Instead of giving the whole population of Japan 12000 yen each, they could put it in an environmental land cleanup campaign. The homeless could live in communes in the rural area, have a place to live, and be gainfully employed. For a wage of 1500 yen an hour and reduced rent,

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