Grasping the Reality of Today's Buraku
Towards a Post-Special-Measures Solution to the Buraku Problem
PART 5 (1)

In March 2001, around the time when the Law on Special Budgetary Measures concerning Projects designated for Area Improvement became invalid, the local government of Osaka Prefecture released a report entitled, "Study of Actual Conditions of Dowa districts towards a Solution of Dowa Problem." The study was conducted for the purpose of collecting the most up-to-date and precise data and information concerning the Buraku problem and analyzing the collected data in the hope that it will provide the local government and other concerned bodies with a basis for developing strategies in combating Buraku discrimination in the post-Special-Measures era. Here we focus on a report that examines living conditions in Dowa districts. The report is one of several reports(1) that were produced on the basis of the study's findings. It is a broad-based report, so we pick up some of more interesting chapters in this series(2) in the hope that they will be relevant to the interest of our readers. Part 5 (1) of this series focuses on the issue of employment.

VI. Employment

1. Occupation and Employment Status

Table 6-1: Distribution ratio by occupation and employment status

Male Female
Buraku districts Osaka prefectrure Buraku districts Osaka prefecture
Mainly at work 60.7% 71.9% 32.6% 27.5%
Housekeeping while working part-time 0.5 0.4 9.0 14.6
Part-time while attending school 0.8 1.3 0.7 1.0
On leave 2.9 0.8 1.3 0.4
Employed/unknown 0.1 * 0.0 *
Looking for a job 7.0 5.2 3.9 2.6
Housekeeping 1.6 0.8 27.5 37.3
Attending school 5.0 9.5 4.4 7.7
Other 20.5 9.2 20.1 8.4
Unemployed/unknown 0.1 * 0.1 *
Unknown 0.9 1.0 0.5 0.5
Total number 3,685 3,634,093 4,120 3,825,727

Notes: 1) Data for Osaka Prefecture is from the 1995 National Census

2) *: No relevant item in the national census

The proportion of Dowa districts male respondents who answered "mainly at work" was 60.7%, which is lower than the 71.9% figure for Osaka Prefecture males, while that for Dowa district females is only 32.6%, which is higher than the 27.5% figure for Osaka Prefecture females. The 11.2 point difference between Dowa district and Osaka Prefecture males can be attributed to the fact that many males in Dowa districts were under suspension from work, unemployed, or not at work due to poor health conditions or age at the time they were surveyed.

In fact, 2.9% of Dowa district males responded with "on leave", which is more than three times the rate for Osaka Prefecture males. 7.0% of Dowa district males responded with "looking for a job", which is 1.8 points higher than Osaka Prefecture males. The large number of unemployed residents in Dowa districts suggests that employment for males in Dowa districts is unstable.

The above table shows that the proportion of respondents who answered "other" (ailing and aging) is high amongst both males and females in Dowa district. As was reported in Part 1, elderly people constitute a large population group by age in Dowa districts. It is assumed that those who are unemployed due to age are included in the "other" group. The percentage of those "attending school" is lower amongst both males and females in Dowa districts, which is mainly due to the lower rate of progression to college. Many high school students in Dowa districts enter the workforce immediately after graduation, which results in a lower rate of school attendance in Dowa districts than for Osaka Prefecture.

The percentage of Dowa district females who answered "mainly at work" is higher than that of Osaka Prefecture females by 5.1 points. This can be attributed to the high number of female spouses who work to supplement the income generated by their male spouses, the high ratio of single-mother families, and the availability of day-care services for preschool children in some districts.

These facts are demonstrated by the difference in percentages for "housekeeping while working part-time" (9.0% for Dowa districts, compared to 14.6% for Osaka Prefecture). Many women in Dowa districts say, "work first, housekeeping second," instead of, "housekeeping first, work second." The percentage of Dowa district respondents who answered "housekeeping" is lower than that for Osaka Prefecture by 9.8 points, which is probably due to the same factors.

(2) Workforce Rates

Table 6-2: Employment rate by age

Male Female
Dowa Districts Osaka prefecture Dowa Districts Osaka prefecture
15-19 22.8% 20.5% 20.2% 18.3%
20-24 74.2% 72.6% 63.5% 69.4%
25-29 85.2% 92.5% 66.0% 55.6%
30-34 87.5% 94.9% 55.1% 47.1%
35-39 87.3% 95.8% 65.5% 52.7%
40-44 84.3% 96.1% 67.9% 58.8%
45-49 82.7% 95.7% 57.8% 64.0%
50-54 84.9% 95.5% 60.3% 59.5%
55-59 77.6% 92.9% 55.3% 51.5%
60-64 51.9% 65.9% 33.2% 35.6%
65-69 32.4% 47.0% 15.2% 21.8%
over 70 17.0% 27.9% 7.1% 10.6%

Notes: Osaka Prefecture data is sourced from the "Basic Survey on Workforce Structure"
The workforce data comprises of respondents who answered "mainly at work",
"housekeeping while working part-time", "part-time while attending school", "on leave" and "employed/unknown".

As is shown in the above table, the proportions of Dowa district males in the workforce for the age groups of "15 to 19" and "20 to 24" are higher than those for the same age groups for Osaka Prefecture males. However, for all age groups over 25, the rates for Dowa district males are lower than those for Osaka Prefecture males. This is due to the higher unemployment rate in Dowa districts, as is shown in Table 6-3. Furthermore, as has already been mentioned, the fact that the percentage of Dowa district male respondents who answered "other" is high also contributes to lower rates of workforce participation. The proportion of Dowa district females in the workforce for the age group "15 to 19" is higher than that for Osaka Prefecture females, but it is lower for the age group of "20 to 24". It is also higher for the age groups of "25 to 29", "30 to 34", "35 to 39", "40 to 44" and "55 to 59", but lower for those aged over. The fact that the percentage of Dowa district males in the workforce for the "15 to 19" and "20 to 24" age groups is high could relate to the fact that percentages of young Dowa district people who attend high school, college and university are low (especially for those who are of college and university age). Many of those aged 15 to 19 and 20 to 24 work since many young people start working without proceeding to college or university after they graduate from high school. This is also true for the Dowa district female "15 to 19" age group.

The fact that the percentage of Dowa district women in the "20 to 24" age group who work is low, however, is not due to progression to college or university. In general, if they start working earlier, then they tend to get married earlier as well. In Dowa districts, many women get married before the age of 25. The low rate may therefore be due to their retirement from work upon getting married or pregnant.

(3) Unemployment Rates

Unemployment rates represent those who were unemployed and looking for work at the time they were surveyed (from May 8 to 14, 2000).

Table 6-3

Male Female
Dowa Districts Osaka prefecture Dowa Districts Osaka prefecture
total 9.70% 6.60% 8.20% 5.60%
15-19 31.3% 15.6% 20.6% 12.1%
20-24 15.0% 9.9% 16.9% 8.9%
25-29 9.5% 6.6% 9.1% 8.3%
30-34 6.8% 4.8% 8.4% 6.8%
35-39 6.8% 4.1% 5.6% 4.7%
40-44 10.0% 4.2% 4.7% 3.7%
45-49 8.0% 4.2% 8.9% 3.2%
50-54 6.3% 4.1% 4.3% 3.0%
55-59 6.1% 5.4% 8.0% 3.6%
60-64 13.5% 15.2% 6.5% 5.0%
65-69 13.4% 11.3% 3.6% 3.6%
over 70 9.9% 7.3% 2.1% 2.9%

Notes: 1) Osaka Prefecture data is from the 1995 National Census
2) Unemployment rates are attained by the following computation:
unemployment rate:"looking for work"/ ("those who are employed" + "those looking for work") x 100

The total unemployment rates for Dowa districts males and females are higher than those for Osaka Prefecture by 3.1 points and 2.6 points respectively.

Regardless of age group, unemployment rates are generally higher for Dowa districts than for Osaka Prefecture. The unemployment rate is especially high for males and females of the "15 to 19", "20 to 24", "45 to 49" age groups, for males of the "40 to 44" age group, and for females of the "55 to 59" age group. While high unemployment rates among the elderly are not noticeable, it is a grave concern that unemployment rates are very high among young people in Dowa districts and for males aged over 40 years old, who represent the main financial support for their families.

.ƒto be continued>