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There were approximately 12.5 million non-regular (temporary or fixed term contract) workers in Japan in 2010. Of those workers, an estimated 1.5 million served as the sole or primary breadwinner of their household earning less than JPY 3 million (USD 30,209) per annum, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, reports the Japan Times.
The Labour Ministry estimated that 570,000 men and 920,000 women employed in a non-regular capacity were the primary or sole breadwinners in such low income households. According to Japanese standards, low income households include single people earning less than JPY 2 million (USD 20,140) or two or more people in a household with less than JPY 3 million in income.
Based on these findings, the Labour Ministry stressed the need to stabilise employment and improve labour conditions by giving these workers a chance to bolster their skills. To help them achieve permanent status, the Ministry called for the implementation of a system that allows them to be employed on a stable basis but under narrow labour conditions, with duties and work locations restricted.
The Ministry’s white paper on this matter estimates that less than 40% of companies are currently using such a system. According to the paper, such a system would enable workers to balance their work and life.
The release of this white paper comes shortly after a proposal by the Labour Ministry recommending that the current labour regulations be liberalised allowing temporary workers to be accepted for all types of work for an indefinite period.