Give the Japanese credit. They stick together. Their corporations are fiercely loyal to their workers, guaranteeing lifetime employment. And, as demonstrated in this linked article, their government is just as loyal and proactive in trying to maintain extremely low unemployment. With only 4.4% unemployment (a figure sure to rise, though, as huge drops in exports begin to bite), the Japanese government has implemented a program that pays foreign workers to leave the country, in return for a promise to never seek work in Japan again. Here are key excerpts from the article:
Rita Yamaoka, a mother of three who immigrated from Brazil, recently lost her factory job here. Now, Japan has made her an offer she might not be able to refuse.
The government will pay thousands of dollars to fly Mrs. Yamaoka; her husband, who is a Brazilian citizen of Japanese descent; and their family back to Brazil. But in exchange, Mrs. Yamaoka and her husband must agree never to seek to work in Japan again.
“I feel immense stress. I’ve been crying very often,” Mrs. Yamaoka, 38, said after a meeting where local officials detailed the offer in this industrial town in central Japan.
“I tell my husband that we should take the money and go back,” she said, her eyes teary. “We can’t afford to stay here much longer.”
Japan’s offer, extended to hundreds of thousands of blue-collar Latin American immigrants, is part of a new drive to encourage them to leave this recession-racked country. So far, at least 100 workers and their families have agreed to leave, Japanese officials said.
The program is limited to the country’s Latin American guest workers, whose Japanese parents and grandparents emigrated to Brazil and neighboring countries a century ago to work on coffee plantations.
In 1990, Japan — facing a growing industrial labor shortage — started issuing thousands of special work visas to descendants of these emigrants. An estimated 366,000 Brazilians and Peruvians now live in Japan.
Mr. Kawasaki led the ruling party task force that devised the repatriation plan, part of a wider emergency strategy to combat rising unemployment.
Compare this action to the U.S. where, in spite of 8.6% unemployment (which is certain to rise above 10% this year), the government still imports foreign workers at a furious pace, yielding to corporate lobbies eager to hold down labor costs by flooding the labor market and exacerbating unemployment.