Almost 160,000 temporary workers will have lost their jobs in the half year to March as companies trim payrolls in recession hit Japan, the government said on Friday.
"I regard this as an extremely serious situation," Labour Minister Yoichi Masuzoe told parliament. "We will do our utmost to help their job searches, offering job training and preparing places for them to live."
From October to March, 157,806 temporary workers have lost or are expected to lose their jobs, the labour ministry said a sharp rise from a November prediction of 30,067 for the six month period.
During the same time a total of 9,973 regular employees were also expected to be laid off, the ministry said.
Many Japanese companies switched to employing temporary workers as the country emerged from its decade long downturn of the 1990s, but amid the current slump they have often been the first to be laid off.
Because many temporary workers live in company dormitories, some also become homeless when they lose their jobs.