Measuring and Tackling Mismatches
Edited by Michael Neugart and Klaus Schömann
Chapter 4: Labour Market Forecasting in Japan: Methodology, Main Results and Implications
4. Labour market forecasting in Japan: methodology, main results and implications Fujikazu Suzuki 1 INTRODUCTION The 1990s was a time of change in Japan, as elsewhere in the world. After the booming days of the ‘bubble economy’ in the late 1980s came the socalled ‘Lost Decade’ of unprecedented economic stagnation described by the OECD as ‘a striking exception in the member countries’ (OECD 1995: xi). The unemployment rate has increased rapidly since the mid-1990s. It climbed to 4 per cent in 1997 and 5 per cent in 2001, and continues to reach record high levels. Demographic changes have also been drastic. The population is rapidly ageing, as the birth rate continues to decrease. It is estimated that the total population of Japan will peak in 2007 and then decrease for the ﬁrst time since the beginning of industrialization in the mid-nineteenth century. In addition, Japanese industries are gradually losing their comparative advantages amidst the ﬁerce competition of the world economy. All these changes indicate that the Japanese economy is now facing a turning point. Forecasting the future is becoming harder than ever in a time of such rapid change and uncertainty. However, we must realize that it becomes more and more important as well. We can never tell what will happen in the future. Anything can happen. Yet what will happen depends upon our choices about the future. To make sound choices, we must think prudently about the developmental trends with which we must cope. Labour market forecasting is especially...
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