Stepping up investments in human capital

September 8 , 2017

Ishida at Sep. 7 Komeito policy research council meetingIshida (center) at Sep. 7 Komeito policy research council meeting

Komeito Policy Research Council Chair Noritoshi Ishida called a meeting on September 7 to hear from 12 government agencies about their budgetary requests for fiscal 2018.

Based on demands from all departments of the Komeito party, the upcoming budget framework includes measures aimed at bolstering human capital investment and work reform.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has allocated 990 million yen to human capital investment and will start an accreditation system for courses aimed at acquiring so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” skills, as well as a program supporting startups by exceptional IT innovators and entrepreneurs.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has allocated ¥15.5 billion for scholarships for low income high school students to subsidize textbooks and other supplies they need to attend school, while ¥36.9 billion will go to a study abroad fund for university students.

To eliminate the nursery school waiting list problem, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) has requested for an increased ¥139.7 billion, ¥42.2 billion more than last year, to expand human resources and facilities at the nursery school level. This will be discussed further during the budgetary process.

In terms of work reform, the MHLW has allocated ¥23.9 billion toward measures to rectify long working hours and ¥1.5 billion, double of last year, to accelerate the adoption of fixed rest periods/working intervals, whereby specific number of hours must have passed between employees’ scheduled shifts.

To tackle the issue of overworked educators, where working overtime has become the new norm due to an extensive amount of tasks falling under their responsibility, MEXT will increase the quota of teachers and staff by 3,200 and establish a system of outsourcing instructors for extracurricular activities.

In addition, to address the problem of surging parcel post deliveries and the burden it is placing on the transport industry, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will implement measures aimed at raising the productivity of the distribution of goods.