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JAPAN'S JOBLESS RATE HOLDS AT RECORD HIGH

Japan's unemployment rate remained at a record high of 3.5 percent in November, the government said today.

The number of people without jobs rose by 160,000 in November from a year earlier to 2.28 million, according to the Management and Coordination Agency. It was the biggest jump since July 1996 and the seventh straight increase.

Unemployment also reached 3.5 percent in May, June and October of this year.

In a country where layoffs were once rare, a recent string of high-profile company failures has led many people to worry that unemployment may soon rise sharply.

The collapse last month of Yamaichi Securities Co., for example, threatens to leave some of its 7,500 employees without work.

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