Annual Report

Annual Report 2008


Fiscal 2007

Research Committee for Human Resources Development
and Job Creation for Younger Generations

Fiscal 2007 Project consigned by the Japan Keirin Association


Many countries of the world, especially developed countries, have seen the rise in unemployment rates and the increase in the number of workers forced to work under severer conditions among young people. How to solve and improve such situation is a key challenge to these countries in today’s globalized world.

In Europe, unemployment rates among young people started to rise since 1970’s, and countries such as Germany and UK attempted to address the problems by developing and implementing strong policies and measures. Still, none was able to find any ultimate solution. In case of France, the situation seems to deteriorate even further these days.

In Japan, the rising unemployment rate among young people became apparent only after the collapse of its bubble economy, when unprecedentedly high unemployment rate and increasingly unsecure employment situation among young people further exacerbated the severity of overall employment situation.

To boost employment of young workers and to develop human resources, the Government of Japan implemented a series of extensive policies and measures for three years starting from fiscal 2004 based on their “Youth Independence and Challenge Plan.” Such measures included: the introduction of “Dual Japanese style system” developed in reference to German “dual system” of vocation training with schooling”; “job cafe” based on UK’s “Connexions” program to promote young people’s employment and advancement in jobs through the efforts of local authorities; and Japan’s original measures to support young people’s self-sufficiency called “Self-support Schools for Young People.” With such policies and measures implemented and the economies in recovery path, Japan’s employment situation among young people has been improving lately. New college graduates found their employment situation changed from “ice age in employment” to “seller’s market.

Still, in terms of young people’s willingness to stay at a fixed workplace, the actual record of their settlement at a fixed workplace, and the tendency of longer intervals between one employment place to another, the issues of young people’s employment can hardly be described as significantly improved or solved, and still persist in the Japanese society. Stronger policies and measures are wanted to solve these issues completely.

Based on the above viewpoint, Global Industrial Social Progress Research Institute established the Research Committee “to consider human resource development and job creation for young people” in fiscal 2006, inviting the Professor Emeritus Akira Takanashi of Shinshu University to chair the Committee. The Committee identified three stages in the issues involved, i.e. “schooling”, “vocational training”, and “after entering workforce,” examined the current situation of each stage, studied what challenges involved and explored any possible solutions.

The theme of this Committee covers many fields in educational, labour, and industrial systems, including the human resource development strategies adopted by private companies, and the relationships with local communities and families. For this, the Committee invited experts and professionals in industry, academic, public, and civil society sectors as committee members, to discuss from multi-facet viewpoints.

In November 2007, the Committee held GISPRI Symposium 2007 under the theme of “Employment, Education, and Training of Young People - Providing career education and better employment opportunities for young people”, inviting various lecturers with different expertise in addition to Committee members. The Symposium addressed and probed into various challenges involved through panel discussion.

This report is the summary of Committee meetings and the Symposium.

Today, even after the completion of the “Independence and Challenge Plan for Young People” (for fiscal 2004 to 2006), the Government adopted various measures to promote the employment of young people. We hope that the recommendations stated here in this report can influence future policy-making and that the industry sector and the Japanese society as a whole continue to address these issues and to enhance the development of concrete measures.

Compared with Europe and the US, it is still young days for the Japanese society to address the issue of young people’s unemployment. Japanese approaches may be domestically-oriented, as in the cases of forerunners in Europe and the US, for the issues of employment are closely related to the socio-economic system specific to Japan. The same can be said in the development of education and industry systems in Japan and in the ways to establish private entities.

Despite such domestic orientation, the global community showed strong interests in the measures adopted by the Government of Japan, and the performances of such measures. This may be the proof that the world is seeking more universal and fundamental solution to these issues, beyond the localization.

This report can send important messages to the global community provide an opportunity to form new alliances, and aggregate intellects and wisdoms. This is the second purpose of this report.

For these purposes, the Institute selected this theme as a part of its major missions to recommend policies that can benefit global society by finding solutions for global issues.

In concluding this article, the Institute would like to acknowledge Committee Chair Takanashi for his leadership shown in his term of 2 years, and all the Committee members and government officials for their active participation in the Committee meetings.