Japan unemployment rises further

07/30/2010 21:36

From AlJazeera.net

The unemployment rate in Japan has increased to its highest level since November last year while production of cars and electronics fell in June, showing weakness in the world's second largest economy.

The country's jobless rate rose to 5.3 per cent, leaving some 3.4 million people looking for work, the country's ministry of internal affairs and communications said in a report on Friday.

Meanwhile, industrial production retreated 1.5 per cent in June from the previous month as factories reduced output of cars and mobile phones.

International shipments of cars, gadgets and components have been crucial in offsetting weaker demand in Japan.

But concern is mounting that Beijing's efforts to cool China's economy, together with doubts over both eurozone and US demand, may hit the Japanese economy.

"Industrial production continues to show an upward movement although it has been pausing temporarily in part," the ministry report said.

Political challenge

Companies surveyed by the ministry expected factory output to fall 0.2 per cent in July, however a 2 per cent climb is expected in August.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio also fell to 0.48, which means that there are 48 jobs available for 100 job-seeking candidates.

This data poses a challenge for Naoto Kan, the country's prime minister. His government must balance Japan's uncertain economic reality with plans to cut down the industrialised world's biggest public debt.

Kan, the former finance minister, took over from Yukio Hatoyama in June and is the country's third prime minister in five years.

His party, the DPJ, won a landslide victory in a general election last September after promising to cut fiscal waste and focus spending on consumers.

But tables turned when the ruling coalition suffered a major blow by losing its majority in upper house elections on July 11.

Kan's ratings fell after he launched plans to increase Japan's sales tax while failing to convince voters that he had a clear plan for fixing the country's economic problems.


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