Japanese cosmetics maker Pola apologizes for racist poster

Updated 26 November 2017

Japanese cosmetics maker Pola apologizes for racist poster

TOKYO: A Japanese cosmetics firm has apologized for a sign banning entry for Chinese people posted in one of its outlets, highlighting lingering hostility to foreign visitors from some in Japan as it strives to extend a shopping-driven tourism boom.
Pola, a unit of Pola Orbis Holding, said that images of an “inappropriate” poster were shared on Chinese social media sites on Friday, without specifying the contents or location of the offending item.
Photos of a sign handwritten in Japanese saying “Entry by Chinese people prohibited” in a shop window were trending on Chinese and Taiwanese social media on Sunday.
Pola, which has around 4,600 stores across Japan, apologized for causing “unpleasant feelings and inconvenience to many people” and said it had removed the sign.
“As soon as we confirm the facts, we will suspend operations at the store and implement strict punishment,” it said in a statement posted at the top of its homepage in both Japanese and Chinese.
Pola’s mea culpa comes as Japan looks to boost a Chinese-powered inbound tourism boom ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — a policy championed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government.
Japan is weighing looser visa rules for tourists from China, sources told Reuters earlier this year, as it looks to widen a tourism boom and lend support to consumer spending.
Some 23.8 million visited Japan in the year to October, setting it on course for an annual record. Visitors from China — the No.1 source — climbed 13 percent from a year earlier to 6.2 million during the period, government data shows.

Saudi labor force figures on the rise before pandemic

Updated 08 July 2020

Saudi labor force figures on the rise before pandemic

  • Trend driven by increase in female employment, but second quarter data will reveal impact of virus on jobs

RIYADH: Saudi unemployment dipped below 12 percent in the first quarter for the first time in four years — but the government data does not reflect the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

The Labor Force Survey published by the General Authority of Statistics (GASTAT), which was conducted in January 2020, before the pandemic, showed that the total unemployment rate amounted to 5.7 percent in the first quarter, unchanged compared to the first quarter of the previous year.

Regional economies have been hit by the double whammy of the coronavirus and weak oil prices which has forced major employers to lay off staff throughout the Gulf and led to the departure of thousands of expatriate workers.

Last week the International Labor Organization warned the outlook for the global jobs market in the second half of 2020 was “highly uncertain” and that employment was unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels this year. 

“The estimates have revised upwards considerably the damage done to our labor markets by the pandemic,” said Guy Ryder, ILO director-general.

The Saudi unemployment rate decreased to 11.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020, from 12.5 percent the same period in 2019, and compared to 12 percent in the last quarter of 2019. 

The figures also reflect an increase in the total labor force participation rate to 58.2 percent in the first three months of 2020, a jump of 1.8 percentage points compared to the same period in 2019.

GASTAT said that the stability in the unemployment rate and the increase of labor force participation rate were due to the increase in the number of employees in the survey.

That trend was driven by a decrease in the Saudi female unemployment rate that stood at 28.2 percent in the first quarter of 2020, 2.7 percentage points lower than the last quarter in 2019. 

Meanwhile the Saudi male unemployment rate rose to 5.6 percent, 0.6 percentage points higher than the rate of last quarter in 2019.

The statistics show that there are almost 9.98 million people in employment across the public and private sectors.

About 3.2 million of them are Saudis. The figures exclude workers in the security and military sectors. 

The data also reveal that there are 3.66 million domestic workers in the country, all of them non-Saudis.

The labor market statistics are compiled from two main sources. The first is the labor force survey, which is a household survey that is carried out by GASTAT and provides the most important indicators of the labor market, such as the unemployment and labor force participation rates.

The second source is administrative data which is recorded and updated by government agencies related to the labor market.