Saturday’s “NHK Special” reported on the rapid increase in the number of people in their 40s and 50s who are unable to work. Since they are no longer seeking employment, they are not counted as unemployed and have dropped out of the labor market. The program said such people are known as “missing ” workers and the number of them in their 40s and 50s in Japan has reached 1.03 million. (There also about 720,000 people in their 40s and 50s who are unemployed in Japan.) The program said many of the missing workers quit their jobs to take care of elderly parents, adding that they have no choice but to depend on their parents’ pensions. The program said even after their parents die, they face extreme difficulty finding work. The program also said non-regular, middle-aged workers tend to become “missing workers” because they eventually choose to quit non-regular jobs that offer low wages and poor working conditions, or because they fall ill or need to take care of their elderly parents. The program also reported on efforts by local municipalities and communities to help such people.