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.