In what looks to be an innovative push to revitalize local economies and businesses, Japan’s Internal Affairs Ministry is sending middle-aged employees from the country’s top three cities that have specialized skills to smaller, less-populated ones. The ministry sees these employees, aged 40 and 60 years old, as people who just might be able to jumpstart businesses and economies of cities that are having a major lack of skilled manpower.
This plan, for the moment ending in fiscal year 2014, looks to send the skilled workers from firms in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya to smaller cities with populations in and around 40,000 to manage tourist associations and other vital posts that might serve as catalysts for these cities’ economic improvement. The government is investing in the program, funding around ¥5 million (approx. $50,700) a year per head for salaries, transportation, and other work expenses. If the salaries fall well short of what the employees were currently earning, the prospective employers are charged to make up the rest of the funding. Middle-aged employees were hired in huge numbers in the economic boom of the ‘80s. Now with the private sector hoping to modernize and move forward their workforces, they now have an innovative way to invest and use their middle-aged employees, whose experience will be valuable for business in the smaller city levels. The ministry said that it will start the program with private-sector workers armed with specialized skills and contacts, for a maximum of three years.
Potential businesses and groups who will profit from this initiative include tourist associations, travel agencies, securities firms, and even non-profit organizations that do social work. The move looks to be a positive and quite an innovative idea on the part of Japan’s Internal Affairs Ministry. It is a great solution for freeing up some places in the private sector – to cater to those who are still involved in the country’s infamous job hunt – while actually helping the smaller cities get employees who have the experience and the skills to elevate the quality of business, and hopefully improve the economic competency of the city.