The labor ministry warns that Japan’s labor force will decline by 9.5 million workers by 2030 if the government’s employment measures do not work, although one bright spot is the expected increase in the number of working women.
In its forecast of the labor force population released on July 23, the ministry lowered the extent of the expected decline by 2030 from the 10.7 million in its previous 2007 estimate.
The change is the result of the growing numbers of working women.
A research team on employment policy under the ministry compiled the forecast of the labor force population. The labor force is made up of people who are 15 years old or older and employed or unemployed but are willing to work.
The team used population estimates compiled by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research. In the latest estimates released by the institute in January, it revised the birthrate upward.
The labor ministry team considered a worst-case scenario where the economy is in a zero growth mode and employment measures for young and elderly people have no effect.
Under that scenario, the labor force would fall from some 66.3 million in 2010 to 61.9 million by 2020, a decline of 4.4 million, and to 56.8 million by 2030, a drop of 9.5 million.
The ministry estimated in 2007 that the number would shrink to about 55.8 million by 2030.
The team also assumed another scenario where the economy maintains an annual average growth rate of 2 percent in real terms and every related measure is effective.
In that case, the labor force would total 65 million by 2020, a decline of 1.3 million, and drop by 3.7 million to 62.6 million in 2030.
The research team also issued a report calling for providing support to young people seeking a job and to businesses trying to create jobs. The proposals also called for steps to foster human resources and improve working conditions for women.
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