Workers' accident insurance to cover contract workers in Japan

Japan's labor ministry has decided to expand coverage for workers' accident compensation insurance to all freelancers with outsourcing contracts.

The ministry estimates there are about 4.62 million freelancers in Japan.

They are in principle not subject to compensation through the public insurance for injuries while working because they are not considered employees.

But a special measure allows some workers to join it by paying premiums themselves. Those people include delivery staff using bicycles and computer software engineers.

At a committee meeting on Monday, the labor ministry proposed a plan to expand the job categories covered by the special measure.

One attendee expressed the need to heighten education to prevent work-related accidents. Another called on the ministry to widely inform freelancers of the special measure.

The committee members approved the proposed plan.

The ministry intends to start expanding the insurance system to cover all outsourced freelancers who want to join it by autumn next year.