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6 million workers on leave in Japan as coronavirus takes toll

Unemployment still low but furloughs risk becoming permanent

Automakers have cut back operations at many plants, including this Daimler facility in Kawasaki, Japan, due to the coronavirus pandemic.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- A record 5.97 million Japanese people were employed but not working last month, official data released Friday shows, as the private and public sectors try to shield workers from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The figure, which includes furloughed employees as well as those on parental leave, is about 9% of Japan's entire work force. The total had hovered around 2 million for the preceding year.

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