Annual Report

Annual Report 2008


GISPRI Symposium 2007

Employment, education and training of young people
Providing career education and better employment opportunities for young people

Date: November 21, 2007, Wednesday
From 10:00 to 17:05
Venue: Nadao Hall, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Purpose of the Symposium

The economic recovery seen for the last few years (2004-2007) has drastically improved the employment of younger workers, at least in statistics. When comparing unemployment rates among generation groups, however, the age group of 15-24 shows much higher unemployment rate than average, even reaching almost two folds. Moreover, there are many factors that are not necessarily reflected on the unemployment rates. For example, the younger workers are more prone to take unstable irregular jobs, or to become so-called freeters (job-hopping part-time workers), although the number of freeters has decreased to 1.87 million in 2006. The issue of younger people’s employment does not only reflect the problem in labor market structure, but also constitutes a serious social problem that wants major policy approach.

To address these problems, the Government of Japan implemented cross-cutting measures among relevant ministries and agencies under the “Youth Independence and Challenge Plan” and “Comprehensive Plan to Support Re-challenge” since fiscal 2004. To solve fundamental problem, however, more effective measures will be needed.

This Symposium was held to present and analyze various new challenges and measures adopted at schools, corporations, or for those at the transition stage, and to explore the way to solve fundamental issues involved in the employment of younger workers in Japan.


10:10 - 10:30 Keynote Lecture “Employment, Education and Training of Young People”
Lecturer: Akira, Takanashi, Professor Emeritus, Shinshu University
10:30 - 12:10
Session 1: “Career Education and Vocational Training at Schools”
Panelists: Ken-nosuke Kashima, Professor,the Chiba University of Commerce
Takako Kojima, Associate Professor, Rikkyo University Graduate School
Moriki Terada, Professor, Nagoya University Graduate School
Tatsuo Watanabe, Researcher in Industry-Academics Cooperation, the University of Tokyo Graduate School
Moderator: Shigemi Yahata, Professor, Hosei University
13:20 - 15:00
Session 2 “Human Resource Development in Industries for the Future”
Panelists: Naoto Ohmi, Secretary General, Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation)
Kouichi Sakata, General Manager, Personal Affairs Dept. and Human Resource Development Dept., Toppan Printing Co., Ltd.
Kenn-ichi Nagasaki, Executive Director and General Manager, Isetan Co. Ltd.
Kunio Hara, CEO, Mary Chocolate Co., Ltd.
Moderator: Kazuo Ido, Professor, Tenri University
15:20 - 17:00
Session 3 “Challenges and Measures for Transition from Schools to Social Life”
Panelists: Kei Kudoh, Chairman, NPO-Sodateage Net
Yu-ichi Furuhata, Leading Profession Councilor, “Hello Work” (public job placement office) Shibuya, Tokyo Labour Bureau
Yukie Hori, Researcher, the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training
Moderator: Reiko Kosugi, Senior Researcher, the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training

Keynote Lecture:

“Employment, Education and Training of Young People”
By: Akira, Takanashi, Professor Emeritus, Shinshu University

Since fiscal 2006, I chaired the “Research Committee for human resource development and job creation for younger generations”, which is to analyze and assess the employment and training offered to young workers. I would like to point out first what issues the Committee identified and what measures developed.

As the issues involved in the employment and unemployment of young workers, the Committee identified the following facts and factors:

First, there are higher unemployment rates among young workers. Higher turnover rates of these young people are described as “7:5:3 phenomenon” (turnover rates for new employees after 3 years employment showing higher rates of 70 % for junior high school graduates, 50 % for high school graduates, and 30% for college graduates). Moreover, the number of “freeters” (job hopping part time workers) and “NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training)” has shown drastic increase. At the back of such phenomenon, there could be inadequacy and inefficiency of vocational education at schools.

In the past, students graduating from schools were introduced to industries rather smoothly. Today, however, such system of schools introducing students to industries is no longer functioned. Those young workers tend to hop from one job to another in a very short time, so they can no longer earn sufficient work experiences or develop skills and abilities. This will undoubtedly lead to considerable loss of human resource development in the Japanese society, the trend that may pose grave consequences in the end.

The cause of job-hopping can be the shift in young workers’ judgment criteria in selecting professions. These young workers tend to emphasize “finding employment by selecting profession” rather than the conventional way of “finding employment by selecting a company.” This may result in a mismatch between job availability and workers wills in the transitional stage from schools to social life, which can further broaden in the future. And that is the point of my concern.

In today’s society, especially in the business society, young workers hardly have any opportunities to understand the significance and values of various professions, and to experience the pleasures and hardships involved. Therefore, it will be very important to rebuild school education system in a way that can best conform to the structure and requirements of today’s industry and society.

During the economic recession of late 1990’s, massive workforce reductions especially among middle-aged and senior workers were seen everywhere, and the “management based on disposable workforce” and the introduction of pay-for-performance system by further subdividing jobs and imposing detailed manuals took place in many sectors, mainly among service industries. Witnessing such actions taken by industries, many young people saw their trust of industries and businesses rapidly disappearing.

The issue of young workers’ employment will directly affect the way of national economic and social system as a whole. Countermeasures require not only the addressing of employment measures but also the overall restructuring of a socio-economic system. This will call for the society-wide mobilization of economic, industrial, educational and other policies and to develop them into a comprehensive and integrated socio-economic policy.

I would like to recommend 3 key measures as follows.
(1) Provide and implement vocational training curriculum from the compulsory education stage
(2) Build a economic and social system that enables young people and children to find “hope and pride” in jobs and professions
(3) Restrict the use of irregular type employment, such as part-time, temporary, daily contract jobs that are mostly unstable and lower wages, and encourage the shift to regular type employment, while improving the treatment of workers.