No. 7 April 2002

From the Editorial Committee

Since the collapse of the so-called bubble economy, the Japanese Employment System (the three main pillars of which have been lifetime employment, seniority-based wages and enterprise unionism) has been under serious pressure to change. As we discussed in Bulletin No.6, non-standardization of employment modes has been promoted by both the government and the employers. This issue focuses on Japanese trade unions' responses to such a new trend. First, Hirohiko Takasu describes how local unions have been organizing a resistance movement against such non-standardization. He gives evidence from a recent successful labor dispute of his union in an appendix. Second, Yuko Aso gives an overview of the positions taken by mainstream unions toward the expansion of contract workers, including temporary agency workers. On the whole, these unions are formally opposed to such non-standardization of employment. However, as she explains by analyzing the policies and practices of several industry-wide union federations, their real positions seem to vary. Although this volume contains only two papers, both provide overviews of government and union approaches to labor deregulation in Japan and are rich in case detail. John McLaughlin assisted us in proofreading the translation.

---- Editorial committee: Yukie Araya
Michiko Hiroki
John McLaughlin
Hirokuni Tabata
Hideo Totsuka
Seiichi Yamasaki

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