Japan sang the praises of lifetime employment for its workforce yesterday at Group of Seven talks on unemployment. Japanese Labor Minister Takanobu Nagai told economy and labor ministers from the seven richest industrialized countries meeting in Lille in northern France that the tradition of lifetime employment had kept Japanese unemployment at low levels and was a boon to companies, an aide reported. U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, however, said jobs for life were a thing of the past. ``We can't bring back job security in an economy that is changing so fast where businesses are necessarily innovating and altering the employment mix,'' he said. France, with higher unemployment than either the U.S. or Japan, hammered out the same theme. ``There will no longer be jobs for life, but employability for life,'' Labor Minister Jacques Barrot said. The U.S. favors greater market flexibility to stimulate job growth, while most European countries are skeptical this can be done without boosting job insecurity.
- Industry Minister John Manley said yesterday at the G7 meeting in Lille that he was confident lower interest rates would help drive down the unemployment rate. Canada's achievement in cutting short-term rates ``goes directly to job creation,'' Manley said. He said he could not forecast how much unemployment would fall as better economic times brought more people into the workforce. But he said the lower rates and a solid export performance, combined with pent-up consumer demand, should improve the economy which would help unemployment. The jobless rate has fallen to 9.4% from 11.2% in 1993.
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Revised: May 10, 1996
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