Japan's job availability rose in December to its best level in 22 years while the unemployment rate improved to 3.4 percent, suggesting that companies are willing to hire more workers as corporate profits recover, the government said Friday.
The ratio of employment offers to seekers climbed from 1.12 in November for the third straight month to 1.15, the highest level since March 1992, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said. That means 115 positions were available for every 100 job seekers.
The country's unemployment rate fell 0.1 point from 3.5 percent the previous month to the lowest level since August 1997, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in a preliminary report.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his British counterpart, Theresa May, agreed at a meeting in London on Friday that their countries will work together to promote free trade at a time when protectionist moves are growing in the world. (Jiji)
Despite the initial excitement among major financial institutions, the Bank of Japan's push for exchange-traded funds tracking companies that actively raise employee pay or invest in new equipment has run aground. (Nikkei)
The Bank of Japan wants financial institutions to lend more money under its large-scale monetary-easing policy. But it's worried that some regional banks are too eager to offer real estate loans, especially for building rental housing. (NHK)
Japan's financial institutions are paying less to borrow dollars as foreign-bond investment tapers off and banks lock down their own sources of the currency, correcting market distortions brought on by a severe shortage of greenbacks late last year. (Nikkei)
Japan's National Personnel Authority asked the government on Wednesday to reduce retirement allowances for national civil servants to levels roughly in line with those of private-sector workers. (Jiji)
Japan plans to push forward talks to put a Pacific rim trade pact into force without the United States, which withdrew from the multination agreement in January as President Donald Trump pursues bilateral trade deals, a government source said Saturday. (Japan Today)
The net inflow of foreign residents into Japan was the largest ever during the last statistical year, as the government pushes policies to attract foreign workers to lessen the economic repercussions from a declining and graying population. (Nikkei)