1999 and 2000 registered

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1999 and 2000 registered record high unemployment levels: 4.7%.

Restructuring and bankruptcies as a result of the economic decline had over a million people out of work last year. Jobs are hard to find for those who've been "involuntarily unemployed." Sogo, a major department chain, let go 179 people. Only four of them have found new jobs.

While Japan is bemoaning its high unemployment, America is celebrating record lows. Last year's average was only 4%. Not much difference between the two countries, is there? To put it into perspective, in 1992, Japan's unemployment was about 2.5% while America's was 7.5%.

Japan's economy is not improving much and the trend towards higher unemployment doesn't seem to be changing. Certainly the government will want to do something to "fix" the problems.

In Singapore three years ago, the goverment stopped granting visas to foreign workers and encouraged employers to hire Singaporean nationals. Will Japan choose to do the same? I guess we'll wait and see.

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