In March, Japan’s unemployment rate rose to 4.8 percent, a four-year high. To ease the competition for jobs, the government says it’s willing to pay ethnically Japanese guest workers-mostly the descendants of early 20th century Japanese emigrants to Brazil-to permanently cede their right to work in the country. The state is offering ¥300,000 (about $3,320) to the head of each household, plus ¥200,000 (about $2,909) per dependent, to cover the cost of a plane ride back to their country of origin.
The plan is unusual, but it isn’t unique. Spain, with an unemployment rate of 17.4 percent, has adopted a similar program, though participating immigrants there can return to the country to work after three years. And in February, the Czech Republic established a $3.2 million program to purchase one-way tickets for foreigners who can prove they have been laid off and can’t find a job. In Ireland, some political parties are proposing a plan to give unemployed foreigners six months’ benefits if they promise to leave the country.