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Vol. 6 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)


HOME > PUBLICATIONS > Early Journals > The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi) (1999-2007)

Re-shaping the Welfare State for the 21st Century:  on the Recent Developments in Comparative Welfare Research


This article reviews the recent developments in comparative welfare state research, aiming to foresee how the welfare state could be reshaped in the ongoing globalization of capital markets.Firstly, the theoretical breakthrough accomplished by Gøsta Esping-Andersen’s well-known welfare regime theory is analyzed, compared to the previous phases in comparative welfare state research.What intended by his theory is, it is argued, not just to find a typology of welfare states, but to evaluate adaptabilities of the different types of welfare state in the changing international environment.Secondly, the validity of the welfare state regime theory to analyze the East Asian experiences of welfare state development is considered.Although the welfare state regime theory has been biased toward the Western experiences, still it is possible to find approximate locations of the East Asian welfare states, like Japan, in the comparative spectrum of the welfare state regime theory.Thirdly, theoretical capacity of the welfare state regime theory to prospect possible futures of welfare states is discussed.The concept of ‘decommodification’, which is principal component of the theory, should be re-defined more clearly in order to assess the ‘workfare’ reforms in the recent welfare state politics.



Historical Perspectives of ‘Mixed Economy of Welfare’ :Individual and Collectivity in the British Welfare System


The pluralistic approach of ‘mixed economy of welfare’ provides a new framework for examining welfare in the past as well as that in future.This paper aims to show what possibilities the angle can develop for historical research of welfare in Britain.First, it reveals the continuity between the Poor Law and the welfare state, which gave the British welfare system the long-standing and unique character as a ‘minimal, residual state-administered provision combined with self-help’.Secondly it uncovers that ‘mutualist’ and ‘associational’ culture, as embodied in trade unions, friendly societies and cooperatives, played very important roles in establishing the institutions of state welfare.Lastly, it validates the significance of the ‘moral’ and ‘ethical’ basis of the welfare state.This includes ‘civic virtue’, ‘good society’ and ‘active participation’, proclaimed by ‘Idealism’ in the late-nineteenth century.In conclusion, the `mixed economy of welfare’ approach can explain that the social foundations were crucial for establishing the welfare state, and that every welfare measure, either statutory or private, was intended to provide a safety net of securing multiple collectivities as tightly as possible in the society.



Transforming the Concepts of Workfare and Welfare state

Takehiko IKEGAMI

Workfare means the requirement of working activities in order to receive welfare benefits.The United States has introduced the “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families”(TANF) block grants based on the philosophy of workfare.However, the narrow-based workfare is criticized as punishing welfare recipients who are not responsible for their lack of jobs.And workfare has wider meanings now, including Swedish type of “active labor market policies.”In this article, I introduce a new concept of workfare.The broad-based workfare is a system of social safety net which is a combination of works and various welfare programs through public finance system.In particular, I emphasize the importance of universal programs as well as selective ones.Universal type of social services (e.g. education, nursing, health, environment, etc.) are services for cooperation in the communities.They are supplied by the local governments and the residents must contribute to the cooperation by paying taxes instead of working.The main local tax will be the personal income tax.It’s because the residents with high income have more benefits than those with low income by delegating the cooperative services to local governments and spending time on private economic activities.



Welfare State and Social Administration & Finance:Changing Welfare State and New Public Management


Welfare state has transformed itself in a various manner in a long-term perspective, as the underlying financial conditions changed.There has been a crucial time as the role of the government and the market changes.More recently, so-called “globalization” has brought the attention where the welfare state could not function as one nation alone.

In retrospect, both the government and the market have reformed its function over the last century.As for the government, it is obvious that the management function and the service delivery function are well required by the market.On the other hand, the market seeks to create a brand-new system with the cooperation of the government.Now we enter the new era, where the government and the market co-establish a new framework and build a mutual relationship.Yet, there seems to be many concerns over this new collaboration.

The present paper, under the title of Welfare State and Social Administration & Finance, discusses the status quo of changing welfare state and emerging New Public Management (NPM).The NPM has the power to drive the welfare state transformation.It introduces to the governmental activities with the market forces and private management techniques.The paper also deals with the British community care reform by an empirical approach, focusing on creating quasi-market for the care services.Some of the defects of the quasi-market are further discussed.



The East Asian Welfare States and their New Challenges: with Focus on Japan, Korean and Taiwan


The East Asian welfare states of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan are undergoing major transformations in response to economic globalization, political democratization, and changes related to demographic and gender relations.While these transformations show many similarities with other western welfare states (for example, in forms of decentralization, deregulation, and a greater mix of the public and private sector provisions), there are also some aspects that are unique to them.For example, unlike many of the western welfare states, there has been a visible expansion of the welfare state in the recent years as the state took on a greater share of the social security and social welfare responsibilities.These features suggest that while these East Asian welfare states may possess features that are common to most other post-industrial societies, they also retain characteristics that are unique to East Asia.

This paper examines the recent welfare state transformations in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.The first part of the paper looks at some of the common features:1) the family centered welfare regime; 2) the political economy based on the concept of the developmental state; and 3) similar economic, political and social/demographic pressures.The second part of the paper discusses in more detail the specific pressures that are stimulating each of these three welfare states in the direction of expansion.



Japanese Welfare State and Equality, from the Viewpoint of Comparative Gender Analysis


This paper analyzes and characterizes the Keizai Senryaku Kaigi’s (an Advisory Council for the Prime Minister on Economic Strategy), policy recommendations relating to social safety net using the perspective of comparative gender analysis of social policies.Submitted in February 1999, the Keizai Senryaku Kaigi’s report demanded a transformation of the “Japanese-type system of society overvaluing equality of results” into “healthy and creative competitive society”, but this directive has largely been neglected by the bureaucrats. It has also been questioned whether or not and to what extent Japanese society “overvalues equality” in terms of distribution of income, assets and status. The recommendations of the Advisory Council are quite likely to be revived and respected, however, with the coming of Koizumi cabinet and the appointment of Keiou University professor Heizou Takenaka, who played a key role in Keizai Senryaku Kaigi, as Minister of Economy and Finance.My analysis shows that notwithstanding their rhetoric and many policy measures of libertarianism, the Keizai Senryaku Kaigi’s recommendations do not part from patriarchal conservatism, and would not shift the position of Japanese welfare state, from being based strongly Strongly on the male-breadwinner model.



Significance of the Welfare State in Social Welfare


This paper discusses the significance of the welfare state from the viewpoint of the history of social welfare.The welfare state, taking UK as a model, has had universalist and comprehensive welfare systems against “Five Giants,”and added later a system of personal social services by enacting in 1970.The welfare state was brought about by the democracy enhanced in 1940s through the war against Fascist countries, which was expressed in the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.At the same time, “Five Giants” and the needs for personal social services had already grown serious problems in the period between the two world wars, and the Labour government after World War 2 responded to the demands of the people as necessities.The role of the government was great and indispensable in building the welfare state.After the first oil shock, most welfare states, being faced with financial difficulty, had to cut welfare expenditure to some extent.Nevertheless, no nation has perceived that welfare states became unnecessary.Mixed economy including commercialization became popular among some politicians and researchers, and many nations had to introduce it into welfare policies due to financial deficit, creating many negative problems, especially in personal social services.



Strategy of Welfare States and Redesigning of the Social Security Systems in Japan


This paper’s objective is to bridge the comparative analysis with the arguments how to redesign the social security systems in Japan.Two important strategic variables, universalism & selectivism and ‘workfare’ are examined to clarify the Japan’s features.

In Japan, facing the budgetary restraint, the scope of the social assistance program, a typical selective provision in nature, has been narrowed down since the year of 1981, while a long term care system for the frail old was inaugurated on the universal insurance basis in 2000.This is not so common in other states, where more targeted measures have been tried.

The other variable, ‘workfare’ has been substitutable way for most states, irrespective of the level of the economic development and the type of welfare regimes.It is a reflection of the policy orientation in the global economy.

Japan could be featured as a ‘workfare state’ until the 1980’s.Nevertheless, partly because of the high unemployment rates in these ten years named the lost decade, the workfare with the high level corporate welfare seems not to work effectively any more.It means that an expectation to safety nets, especially unemployment insurance and social assistance systems as the last resort, is growing.This is why it is urgent to change the above two systems wholly to deal with new situations and to satisfy people’s growing needs.



Towards New Developments in Welfare State Studies


This paper is based on the comments that I made as a discussant at the symposium and examines the following five issues that were raised by six papers presented at the symposium.

1) Methodological problems of welfare state studies.

2) Possibilities of the history of ‘mixed economy of welfare’.

3) New concept of ‘workfare’.

4) The problem of the underdevelopment of childcare and eldercare services in the advanced welfare states.

5) Welfare state and inter-governmental relation.

In examining these issues, reference is also made to the significance of the appearance of various proposals and strategies concerning the welfare state restructuring in Japan.



A Consideration of Welfare State’s Reform


My comment on the forum, “Range of Welfare State,” concerning the panelists’ proposals consists of four questions as below:

1) Should we still consider within the framework of the development of social welfare or should we depict a new socioeconomic system as an alternative to capitalism?                                                                2) Shouldn’t we need to examine the concept of ‘welfare state’ itself fundamentally? 3) What measures could we take to cope with the deterioration of local community?4) Why is the notion, ‘Safety Net,’ necessary instead of the notion of ‘social welfare as a social security system’?

The background of my comment would be epitomized into four points as below:

1) High land price is unique to Japan and causes problems in constructing a model of Welfare State.

2) The rebirth of labor movement and the development of NGO sector would help solve the problems stemmed from gender-bias in Japanese firms.

3) The concept of “out-of-private ownership” should be added to the notions of “out-of-commodification” and “out-of-family.”

4) Issues of Labor status should be examined from the viewpoint of self-fulfillment and in this sense the Holland Model and Sweden Model would be a good model for Japan in 21st century.



A Scope of the <Welfare State>:  

the World Experience of the 20th Century and the Transition to the 21st


First, this paper clarifies the signification of the common theme in the 101st Conference of the Japanese Society of Social Policy:A Scope of the <Welfare State>.Secondly, as one of the two chairmen of this common theme session, I indicate the main points of its six communications and put up some questions about them.Lastly, through this review I attempt to elucidate a scope of the <Welfare State> which cannot be reduced to simple state welfare and consists of <mixed economy of welfare> proper to each country.Therefore, the  <Welfare State> ‘entre guillemets’ means a <Welfare-state Regime> that has been developed throughout the 20th century, particularly after the Second World War and as a product of social policy.It is certainly necessary to emphasize the role of the State in this regime, but a variety intermediary organizations nearer to citizen can and must shoulder the responsibility of welfare in the civil society.Hence, a scope of the <Welfare State> should be considered from the viewpoint of its essential mission that is to boost the sense of solidarity and communality in the citizen so far as it will be reabsorbed by the civil society.

Vol. 7 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)


HOME > PUBLICATIONS > Early Journals > The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi) (1999-2007)

Economic Inequality and Economic Polices

                          Toshiaki TACHIBANAKI

The paper examines the relationship between economic inequality (i.e., income distribution) and economic policies.There are two methods in order to reduce the degree of income inequality in redistributed incomes (i.e., disposable incomes).The first is to reduce inequality in primary incomes (i.e., before-tax incomes), and at the same time not to use tax and social security policies. The second is to use tax and social security policies to reduce inequality in primary incomes. The paper discusses the merit and the demerit of these two methods, and shows a speculation that the second method is preferable if the society has an agreement that it is desirable to reduce inquality in redistributed incomes.

The paper also presented four strategies for the first method. (1) Intensifying the minimum wage law, (2) Reducing the difference in per-hour wages between full-timers and part-timers, (3) Reducing wage payments between larger firms and smaller firms, and (4) The introduction of various safety net systems.



About the Present Condition of the Belt of Labor Market in Japan : From a Survey on the Actual Condition of Rural Areas

Shinji OHSU

This report clarifies economic gap structure in Japan through changes in the rural labor market and considers methods to reform this gap structure from its lowest level is realized.

It is widely pointed out that Japan presently faces growing economic gap. However simply pointing out the problem does not provide any solution to the questions, “Which direction should the economic gap be steered ” or simply “Is the gap going to the right direction ”, because no one knows the admissible extent of the gap.

The best approach to the addressing gap problem is to improve its lowest level. Its improvement would steadily narrow the economic gap.

This approach will assure us that we will not make a mistake when narrowing the gap.

The first step for us to take to realize this approach is to prasp the exact elements of those who are considered to belong to the lowest group.

The rural labor market consists of the base of the labor market in Japan. At the base, both family agricultural labor and non-agricultural labor are mixed in part-time farm households.

The mixtures differ by esch part-time farm household recognizing the actual condition of the part-time farm household by class, and solve the nature of inconsistency at its concentration point. This paper shows that solution of this inconsistency is an important focal point in the relaxation of economic gap.



The Japanese Wage Differential and the Suppliers System

Hirofumi UEDA

This study intends to clarify what and how the wage differential in the Japanese automobile industry has been determined by the size of companies. In Japan, mass-production in the automobile industry started around 1960 and the original Japanese suppliers system also started at that time. One of the reasons the car makers adopted the suppliers system was that the wage differential between the car makers and their suppliers was large because the average age of the car makers was older in the late 1950s. Toyota and Nissan had stopped employment after the big labor struggle in the early 1950s.

In the 1970s the Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers’ Unions (JAW) was established. JAW is composed of the group-wide organizations such as the Federation of All Toyota Workers’ Unions and each group-wide organization aimed to unify and stabilize the level of wage rises. The wage differential among the group that includes the car maker and the suppliers has been stable since the 1970s.

Since the 1990s under difficult conditions the car makers has adopted a new cost reduction program and their suppliers also have pursued cost reduction more and more. Although the wage differential of regular workers was stable in the 1990s, some suppliers have employed more irregular workers for labor cost reduction.



Japanese Women in Class Structure


This article aims to clarify the structure and trend of economic and social inequalities among Japanese women in the light of class theory. The economic and social situations of Japanese women are investigated in terms of their class locations, marital situations and their husbands’ class locations, using SSM survey data 1985 and 1995. Many aspects such as individual and family income, characteristics of gender roles, perception of status and consciousness about living standard among Japanese women, are well accounted in terms of class and marital status. Though inequality in the chance of class mobility is reduced, economic inequality among women is widened between 1985 and 1995, especially within new and old middle classes respectively. In sum, it can be said that contemporary Japan is a class society for women, because of various inequalities caused by class structure, either directly or indirectly via social structures such as family or business organization.



Toward a New Perspective of Women’s Social Mobility : An Analysis of Status Attainment through Earning Function


The thrust of this article is to suggest a new approach in analyzing gender inequality in social stratification research. Women were not regarded as agents of social mobility due to certain implicit assumptions concerning social stratification research. Though this indifference on the ‘gender issue’ was challenged, the problem was not solved because there is no consensus as to which indicator best represents both employed and non-employed women all together. In order to measure status attainment of women without reducing their heterogeneity, not only technical improvements but also conceptual changes are necessary. This article suggests that we should abandon the concept of monolithic stratification and reconstruct the concept of status. I propose to break down the concept of social status into two dimensions, occupational status and living-standard status.

By analying direct and indirect paths of women’s status attainment separately, I will attempt to show the existence of complicity between the two dimensions, which, I argue, account for gender inquality.



Employment and Unemployment of Young Workers in France

Hiromasa SUZUKI

This paper reviews unemployment issues of young workers in France. Since the 1970s, major policy issues in this country have revolved around the high unemployment rates for young workers. Several avenues of policies have been attempted: to give longer schooling to the young population (the average schooling years rose by 3 years from 1982-1983 to 1996-1997) and to provide subsidies (often with the possibility of vocational training) for the employment of young workers. Lately, employment policies tend to focus more sharply on those workers with a vulnerable profile (for instance, school dropouts in areas where industry is declining).

Cohort surveys of young workers show that they tend to have a much longer period of transition (often 5 years of more) between school and work (stable employment). This transition is, for many young people, a variegated and longer trajectory composed of periods of fix-term employment, unemployment and training before arriving to a stable open-ended employment. This trend is partly due to the difficulties and conditions of the labour market but also partly due to the desire of young people to find suitable jobs.



The Relationship between the Public Sector and the Private Sector in Postwar Japanese Social Welfare Legislation and the Inherent Restriction on the Private Sector

Tsutomu KITABA

This paper discusses the role assignment of the public sector and the private sector in the social welfare of postwar Japan. In the welfare legislations under the postwar occupation, the following principles regulated the relationship between the public sector and the private sector.

①? Operational responsibility assumed by the state and prohibition of delegation to other agencies.

②? Separation of the field and financial administration between a public sector and a private sector.

③? Prohibition of public-funds expenditure for private social work not under the control of public authority.

In the Japanese situation, private social work was commissioned to execute governmental office work, and public funds were concentrated on private social work under the control of the authorities. Such a transition changed previous principles and brought about a public-private relation peculiar to Japan. This Japanese public-private relation played a role in restraining public support regarding private social entreprises for welfare services at home.



The Social Isolation of the Elderly and Social Welfare Services in Japan

Katsuyoshi KAWAI

The main objective of this paper is to ascertain the number of elderly who live in isolation and to gain a clear understanding of their living conditions. According to my investigation of the elderly (over 65 years old) living alone in Minato-Ku, Tokyo, 30 percent are living in isolation and face various difficulties. In case of 40 percent of this age-group, the annual income is only two million yen, which is equivalent to the benefits normally provided by public assistance. Only 12. 7 percent of this group receive public assistance. The elderly who live in isolation often have inadequate access to information and are unable to make appropriate decisions regarding social welfare services. It is clear that the quantity and the seriousness of these social isolation problems cannot be bypassed when we consider the needs of the elderly and what social welfare services should be provided.



Globalization and Its Effect on the Welfare State: A Case Study of EU Member Countries


This article analyzes the influences of globalization on welfare states in the EU which have completed the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. There are four main questions concerning this theme : First, does globalization reduce the autonomy of macro-economic policies in these countries Second, if so, will the reduction of autonomy of macro-economic policies induce “a race to the bottom”? Third, consequently, will “the race to the bottom” bring “convergence towards the Anglo-Saxon model”? Finally, will “the convergence towards the Anglo-Saxon model” result in “the end of the nation state”? Using the latest socio-economic data, the four hypotheses mentioned above are examined in this article. As a result, the author concludes that all the EU member countries have lost their autonomy over macro-economic policies since the start of the EMU, and the EMU has caused “the race to the bottom”. However, there is no evidence which shows “the convergence towards the Anglo-Saxon model” and “the end of the nation state”.



A Sketch of Taiwan’s National Pension Debate : Late Welfare State Formation in the Global Economy


In recent years there has been renewed interest in the social policies of Asian countries. The aim of this paper is to investigate Taiwan’s National Pension debate after democratization. This topic is significant not only because of its theoretical importance for comparative welfare state studies, but also because of its practical relevance for indentifying the political-economic conditions for welfare state formation in the developing world. Why is it that democratization has not led automatically to the introduction of National Pension System? Certain internal factors should be considered. Differentiated social insurance schemes as a legacy of authoritarian regime, and many trivial benefit schemes as a result of electoral contests after democratization cause great difficulty in establishing a new integrated system. In understanding welfare state formation of newly democratized countries, institutional legacy must be looked into more carefully. On the other hand, there are also some external factors that require examination. Globalization fuels international economic competition, and undermines fiscal autonomy of national governments. Thus, new president Chen, whose DPP(Democratic Progressive Party) had promised to establish a “welfare state”, could not avoid declaring the postponement of the introduction of National Pension System. We should take into account that the international circumstances of Taiwan’s welfare state formation are quite different from those of advanced countries in the post-war era.



The Significance of 401(k)s in U.S. Retirement Income Policy : A Comparison with Corporate-IRAs in the Early 1980s.


This paper studies the significance of 401(k)s in U.S. retirement income policy. For that purpose, I observe corporate-IRAs, the 401(k)-type plans which are defined as employee benefit plans with tax-deducted employees’ contributions. Conclusion consists of the following two points :

First, the 401(k)-type plans were of two political backgrounds. For one, the government tried to increase savings to boost the economy as part of the economic policy. For the other, retirement savings were encouraged as a income policy. The 401(k)-type plans were not unique ideas of a private benefit consultant, as generally said.

Second, friction between these two political backgrounds became a main issue in the history of the 401(k)s. For example 401(k)s, made by the private consultant and the IRS, imposed fewer regulations, as a retirement income policy, than corporate-IRAs made by Congress. This is why the 401(k)s could prevail over corporate-IRAs. In the Tax Reform Act of 1986, some regulations for the retirement income policy were added to the 401(k)s. After the enactment, the political issues over the 401(k)s have been raised from the conflict between the retirement income policy and the economic policy.



The Introduction of the Job Evaluation System in a Steel Plant

Hiroyuki AOKI

The objective of this paper is to examine the introduction of the job evaluation system performed at the K plant of F Iron and Steel Company in 1957, and to clarify its significances and limitations. In the revision of the wage system, job evaluations were applied to the individual calculation of group incentive pay.

Of primary importance, through job evaluations performed from 1956 to 1957 the central staff (labor division, efficiency section etc) was able to gain specific information previously only known to employees on the workshop. Secondly, the job evaluation system enabled the central staff to set all of the work of more than 1000 jobs on the basis of a unitary value standard and to attain a mutual comparison. This is a milestone in the history of development of personnel and production management.

At the same time, however, there was the limitation in the control capability of central staff, and they had to concede to the opinions of the workshop leader in the adjustment of job evaluations. Consequently, job evaluations came to be determined by the particularities of each plant, and whole-company unification ended in failure. To conclude, the job evaluation system introduced in 1957 became at the utmost only an index with which job value is expressed in a plant.



International Relocation of Production Process and Introduction of Migrant Workers in Japanese Garment Industry


This paper examines the relationship between international relocation of the production process and the introduction of migrant workers by Japanese firms, using the garment industry as an example.

In the 1990s, many Japanese manufacturers in the garment industry moved their factories to China, searching for a low wage labor force. At the same time, the firms, where the relocation of production process was difficult, utilized foreign trainees as low wage labor forces.

In the UK and the US, domestic manufacturers lost a large share of the market to overseas suppliers in the 1980s. Those firms, which managed to survive, came to rely on homeworkers and female migrant workers who were employed by ethnic minority entrepreneurs. The imigrants society which provides such a labor force does not exist in Japan. From the 1990, foreign trainees were introduced as a young and low wage labor force. Because the trainee is an “unfree laborer” who does not have the freedom to move, firms can secure a stable labor force at a lower wage. In that sense, foreign trainees were in the same position as female migrant workers in the UK and the US.

The foreign traineeship program promotes internationalization of the labor market in two ways. First, it enables smaller firms to secure a low wage labor force. Secondly, it raises a laborer’s skill level by training and helps larger firms transfer their production process outside the country. The more production abroad is expanded, and the labor force, with a certain level of skill, increases, the more the source of the labor force supply to Japan increase.


Vol. 8 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)


HOME > PUBLICATIONS > Early Journals > The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi) (1999-2007)

The Possibilities of Social Policy in the Age of Globalization and Regional Integration


In this article the author briefly analyses economic globalization with regard to trade, production and finance.  The analysis shows that globalization is realized only in the financial market.  Economic globalization originates from the collapse of the Bretton Woods regime and the end of economic growth in the 1970s.  The process of economic globalization can be regarded as a transnational neoliberal project of dominant states, international organizations and multinational corporations aiming to overcome the crisis of the postwar global economic regime.  Under the influence of economic globalization as well as market and financial integration, the meaning of social policy in Europe has changed radically.  Within the framework of the active supply-side policy adopted by the European Commission in the 1990s, social policy is regarded as an instrument that enhances the economic competitiveness of European nations.  What is required then is a perspective in which we can find the inherent meanings and logic of social policy, which are irreducible to those of industrial or economic policy.



Globalization and Foreign IT Workers


Globalization in the world economy has been driven by IT revolution during the last decade of the 20th century.  IT technology-driven globalization in the world economy brings with it new labor issues and importantly influences immigration policy. As the developing IT revolution in the world progress in IT industries and an increase in IT employment, it takes the international mobilization of IT workers among the worldwide IT industries they work.

This paper will focus on revealing the state of foreign IT workers in the U.S. from the view of international mobilization of labor.  Especially we will focus on short-stay IT workers with H-1B visas.



Globalization and Labor Policy as well as Organized Labor in Indonesia

With Reference to Types of Capital Transfer and Deyo’s Theory


The impact of globalization on Indonesian trade unions and government policies was studied with reference to the types of capital transfer involved.  In one type of foreign direct investment in which strict conditions were imposed upon the capital including its Indonesianization, the government controlled the trade union tightly and produced a system of exclusionary corporatism.  In another type that occurred at the beginning of overall trade liberalization when foreign direct investment was permitted without the necessity of Indonesianization of capital, military involvement in and corporate control of trade unions was legalized.  However, international organizations criticized this system and threatened trade sanctions. The Government had to respond to this criticism and made some revisions of its policy.  Financial liberalization, including short-term capital transfers, made the Soeharto regime fragile in the face of the impact of the Monetary Crisis, and with the fall of the Soeharto Administration, the government recognized the right to organize and made a law protecting trade unions.

This paper examines Deyo’s theory that the weakness of East Asian countries’ labor movements is due to the preponderance of young women in the labor force and the use of paternalistic tendencies within the bureaucracy and community as a base of the employer’s control.  According to the result of this field survey, many of today’s trade unions have not been interrupted by the local community; on the contrary, they have made use of the local community as a network base.  Moreover, young women workers dominate many active unions.  So this paper concludes that Deyo’s theory couldn’t be applied to today’s Indonesian labor movement.  Some antagonistic employers, however, have made use not only of the company’s hierarchy but also of gangsters to interrupt the union’s activities.  These attitudes have become contemporary sources of labor unrest and reflect the present weakness of law enforcement.



Challenges for Public Policy and Regulatory Reform to Cope with Globalization in the 21st Century

Yasushi IGUCHI

With the establishment of the World Trade Organization, the trends for globalization of economies seem to have been confirmed by the majority of countries in the world.  In reality, trade disputes between economies are increasing and the discriminatory effects caused by regional integration of economies also expand. Especially in Asia, concerns for instability of the financial sector, the negative effects of trade liberalization in the AFTA, the severe competition since the admission of China to the WTO and the “brain drain” to North America and Europe are increasing.  In addition, industrialized economies face the growing risks of declining and/or aging population, which will not be easily compensated by allowing massive immigration inflows to these economies.  Japan should take the initiative in East Asia to promote regional integration and minimize the negative outcomes of globalization through integrating labor policy and social security policy as well as to renew the basic paradigm of the foreign worker policy in order to train, accept and integrate them.



The Policy for Homeless People in Germany

Yoshiko SAGA

This article describes the trends in public policy for homeless people in Germany in recent years.  The policy has mainly been implemented under the Federal Social Assistance Law and carried out by municipalities and NPOs.  Municipalities avert risks of homelessness by taking over non-payment of rent for people facing such a danger.  NPOs provide homeless people with various services based on the subsidies from the Federal Social Assistance Law.  Firstly, there are services for these who are literally homeless-those sleeping rough or in night shelters. These are called low threshold services, because people can use them anonymously without complicated applications.  Secondly, support is provided in self-contained housing-not in a shelter-for formerly homeless people.

An important point is that these policies have certainly led to a reduction in the number of homeless people.

In Japan, support is mainly provided for the elderly homeless or handicapped homeless in shelters or hospitals.

The German example of support provided for the homeless contains many attributes which should be studied by Japan.



The Problem of Homeless People and Rough Sleepers in Britain


The homeless problem in Britain has been tackled as a big social problem since 1970’s.  The legal grounds of homeless measures in Britain have been established by the Housing Act (1977).

Since the later half of 80’s, rough sleepers, which were a one form of single homeless which was apt to be left out of priority need as prescribed by Housing Act, became a social problem. Special measures for rough sleepers have been executed.

The Labour government established the Social Exclusion Unit in 1997, and this unit considered rough sleepers as part of the tip of social exclusion.  And Labour established the Rough Sleepers Unit to solve this problem in 1999.  The target of this Unit is to reduce rough sleepers by at least two thirds by March 2002.  This unit has carried out a strategy to help rough sleepers.

The aim of this paper is to introduce the present conditions of rough sleepers which are a type of single homeless and a strategy of central government for rough sleepers.  Firstly, I examine the definition of homeless in the Housing Act and statutory homeless.  Secondly, I consider the single homeless problem and a strategy of the Rough Sleepers Unit.  Thirdly, I mention the outline of social security system, e.g. income support, in order to understand a strategy for homeless people.



Family-friendly Companies and Child Care Policy


In the process of creating a gender equal society in Japan, the western “family-friendly” concept has been introduced, and more Japanese companies are now trying such family-friendly programs.  This is a step away from the conventional Japanese work environment and conditions; however, the question arises whether such a family-friendly concept is totally new and has never existed in Japan.  This paper considers this question in the introductory section, describing the current definition of the “family-friendly” concept.  Then, Section Ⅱ speculates on the family-friendly concept with regard to the Japanese employment systems in the high economic growth period; it proposes the existence of a “Japanese-style family-friendly policy,” which protected the entire household at a price :  corporations demanded long working hours from male employees and either unpaid labor or peripheral work from women.  Section Ⅲ examines the family-friendly concept in the United States, where the continuous employment rate for women is higher than that of Japan.  This section demonstrates the case studies of American companies Patagonia and Johnson & Johnson, which are known as family-friendly companies.  Section IV discusses the current Japanese child care situation, exploring what corporate support programs could help to solve the existing problems of child care, and suggests certain family-friendly policies that Japan may take in the future.  This is followed by the conclusion in Section V, which proposes a new type of western family-friendliness in Japanese society.



The Substitute Personnel Problem in Childcare Leave Programs


The focus of the issue of childcare leave, which forms the pillar of family-friendly policies, has shifted to actual adoption of the system in the workplace.  The two problems of finding substitutes and the specific handling procedures for such substitute personnel in the workplace, are considered in terms of the results from two hearings. Two methods are in operation:  share method and forward rotation.

The former involves the apportioning of a slightly increased volume of work among co-workers.  The latter resembles a chain-reaction, wherein existing employees are shunted forward when an individual takes childcare leave.  If a female employee takes childcare leave, responsibility for her work passes into the hands of the man or women immediately below her, that individual’s work in turn being taken on by the person below them and so on.  The former method will yield increased productivity in the short term, but the latter is considered to be superior in the long term.



The Economic Consequences of Family Friendly Practices

Yasunobu TOMITA

Recent evidence, including this study, suggests that family-friendly practices, such as parental leave and flexible work schedules, enable more women to stay in the workplace after childbirth.  This study investigates whether adopting parental leave induces firms to recruit more or fewer women.  The effects of parental leave on recruitment behavior depend on whether firms have promoted women to management or not.  The results suggest that firms with female managers recruit more women, but firms with male managers only recruit less women.  According to the human capital theory, firms that fully invest in human capital for women gain a higher return from women’s longer tenure with parental leave, and, thus, recruit more women.  Moreover, regardless of gender, employees’ feeling of attachment to their firms is increased not only by satisfaction with work worth doing, but also by satisfaction with balancing work and family.  Finally, it is found that women and men are both eager to leave the workplace where women have often suffered from sexual harassment.  Adopting family friendly practices and preventing sexual harassment are important policies for improving women’s economic status.  Those policies improve men’s well-being in the workplace as well.

Vol. 9 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)


HOME > PUBLICATIONS > Early Journals > The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi) (1999-2007)

The Changing Pattern of Employment

Toward New Understanding of Employment Relationship

Tateshi MORI

This article tries to trace one aspect of changes taking place in the employment system by proposing a new understanding of employment.  Contrary to the commonly accepted view that in the typical employment a worker offers a certain amount of work in a fixed time, we assume that workers are under the control of employers even when they are not engaged in work.  The work of domestic servants is the most representative of all-day control by employers.  Even factory and office workers whose working time is defined in employment handbooks are under control of their companies in their leisure time.  They are not allowed to work for other employers and bound to obey company rules such as those concerning trade secrets when they are not occupied with their work.  Let us name this type of employment as all-day employment.  The work of day laborers is quite different from domestic servants and company employees in that they are committed to employers only for a limited time in a day.  Their work will be classified as limited time employment in contrast to all-day employment.

The new type of working style found among managers and engineers whose working time is not clearly defined will be regarded as a developed type of all-day employment.  They are rather free in choosing their working time but expected to work any time once they have to do.  While all-day employment increases its importance in a managerial hierarchy to such extent that the traditional personnel device of time control has almost lost its weight in the management of managers, quite different type of employment which imposes rather strict time control upon workers has increased in number.  Part-time work is a case in point.  They are close to day laborers in accepting strict time control but different from laborers in terms of continuity in their current job. And contemporary factory workers who are also under stricter time control nowadays become much more like part-timers in terms of limited working time.  In place of the age-old two tier strata system of labor market consisting of factory/office workers on the one hand and laborers on the other, we now have a new combination of managers/engineers in all-day employment and factory workers/part-timers in limited time employment.

New juxtaposition of all-day employment and limited time employment might be caused by the fact that when one members of a family is engaged in all-day employment quite often other members are forced to limit their work time in order to allocate certain amount of their time to household activities.  But in case where both husband and wife are engaged in all-day employment, they sometimes think it difficult to find some time to perform household activities such as taking care of their parents.  With the increasing competition among companies putting more stress on responsibilities of managers, all-day employment aggravates difficulties in attaining the compatibility of work and family.



Part-timers as “core” workers in Japan


Many part-time workers were substituted for full-time workers (“sei-shain”) in the second half of 1990s.  Our research in restaurant industry in 2001 shows that there is a distinction between full-time and part-time jobs; but, in some shops, important and difficult jobs, for example semi-management jobs, are done by part-time workers.

The difference in treatment between “sei-shain” and pert-time workers has become a crucial issue.  In 1999, about 30 percent of firms had a system in which part-time workers could be upgraded (or promoted) to full-time “sei-shain” status.   But, many part-time workers do not want to work full-time even if they are doing important work.  I would therefore propose to introduce the job title “tanjikan sei-shain” (regular part-timer) to the personnel system.   According to a survey in 2001, not only part-timers but also full-time workers want to become “tanjikan sei-shain”. Moreover, more women want to become regular part-timers than men, and half of men in their 30s and 40s want to be regular-part timers now or in the future. Most part-timers need to be regular part-timers who are not required to work overtime and subject to transfers.  A report issued by Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in 2002 has stressed the necessity of treating part-time workers and full-time workers equally. In this regard, regular part-timers are a typical example of a way that equality and balance can be reached.



Enlargement of Dispatched Workers and Labor Law


Dispatched workers are indirectly employed as far as the relationship to their places of work is concerned, and many of them are employed for limited terms.  Owing to the harsh employment situation over the last few years, the working conditions for them have deteriorated (wages are falling and employees must work in crowded schedules for long hours) and the employment guarantee is becoming increasingly unstable.  With this type of employment in particular, there is a pronounced negative impact on the typical registered dispatched workers.  The reasons are found in the structure of dispatched labor:  (1) dissociation of employer responsibility, (2) the business-transaction nature of the dispatched labor relationship, (3) the limited scope of responsibilities shouldered by the temporary employer under labor law, and (4) the lack of an equal labor-management relationship between temporary employers and dispatched workers.  As the price competition intensifies, employers have increasing expectations for dispatched workers because it is easy to lower their pay, and employers seek relaxed restrictions on working periods and assignable jobs.  But creating a sound labor market will require, in addition to limits on the use of dispatched workers:  (1) increasing the responsibilities of temporary employers (employment responsibility and joint responsibility with the temporary employer), (2) prohibiting discrimination and guaranteed equal treatment, (3) to create a rule requiring worker dispatching contract that lease the right of command, and whose intent and purposes should guarantee the labor-related human rights of people, and (4) to establish a labor-management relationship between temporary employers and dispatched workers that puts them on an equal footing.



The Change of Work and Flexible Working Hours System

Atsushi SATO

In the process of responding to changing market conditions, Japanese companies are now introducing a new type of human resource management (HRM) system consisting of flexible working hours and a performance-oriented wage system.  The flexible working hours system allows workers to allocate working hours in accordance to their lifestyles, and to adjust the pace of their work to their needs.

In this paper, the author analyzes the relationship between recent trends of working styles and changing HRM in terms of a flexible working hours system.  In particular, discretionary work system (sairyo rodo seido) for white-collar workers engaging in “discretionary activities” can be understood as a kind of contract work, because this system allows all workers to manage their working hours for themselves instead of working under a form of rigid tine management.  Under the discretionary work system, evolution towards a performance-oriented HRM system will make it possible to shift workers from working by the hours to working on a piece rate.

This paper examines the circumstances and problems of this shift, making clear some policy implications.

Section 2 refers to the characteristics of white-collar workers engaging in “discretionary activities” under a performance-oriented HRM system.  This can be characterized as having employees on one side and contract workers on the other.

Next, Section 3 considers a context in which a discretionary work system works in harmony with a performance-oriented HRM system, using some data and fact findings from recent research.

Then Section 4 explores the management mode by which white-collar workers engaging in sales activities are involved in a performance-oriented management system.

Section 5 introduces the SE division’s case study we conducted in the same way as Section 4.

Section 6 discusses some policy implications, pointing out that the following measures are essential for the flexible working hours system to be more actively utilized:  (1) clearly setting targets concerning the quality and volume of work and deadlines, (2) establishing mechanisms which will cultivate the ability of managers to engage in a performance-oriented management system.



NPO-type Labor Unionsfrom the perspective of Japanese small local unions

Yusuke FUKUI

Japanese small local unions, often called ‘Community Unions’, organize each individual worker who is in trouble with their employers.  Such unions are known to be remarkably active segments of the Japanese labor movement today, in contrast to most big Japanese trade unions.

In this paper, the author asserts that these local unions are working like NPOs (Non Profit Organizations).  Based on a survey carried out at eight local unions in Tokyo and Kyusyu in 2000, also the author points out that even non-members are provided with chances to access to these unions.  As such, these local unions can be viewed as public good, which are available universally to every person in the locale and the unions can be said to be playing a public role through their activities.

It seems as if the unions are able to do the following :  (1) promote connections between the public sphere of labor movements and other ‘new social movements’-such as those that involve human rights activists, feminists, ecologists, and so on ; (2)make humanistic ties among local workers and construct labor-management relationships within communities ; and (3) effect the policies of big trade unions and national centers in Japan.



Public Pension Systems and De-destitution

―A Crisis in Social Democratic Regime?


Esping-Andersen asserted that social security systems prevent a worker from commodifying labor force.  But, de-commodification doesn’t catch the gender bias of poverty rate.

I construct the de-destitution index about social security pension.

De-destitution index is additive scores. It includes following items:  universality of benefit levels pensions, contributions of worker/contributions of employer, minimum benefit levels (minimum pension level/average wages of manufacturing industry workers), maximum benefit levels (maximum pension level / average wages of manufacturing industry workers), indexation of pension benefits, pension receipt qualification.  Especially, pension universality and pension receipt qualifications are included in this index to describe the gender bias of poverty rate.

Based on Pooled-Time-Series Regression Analysis, it was found that the scores are decreasing in social democratic regime countries because of population ageing. Demographic trends are probably more decisive factors in retrenchment of pension benefits than in economic globalization.

Nevertheless, convergence towards a residual pension model wouldn’t happen in social democratic regime countries, because basic pension structures have been maintained until now.  If the partially funded parts of pensions are broadened in the future, these pension systems would converge to a residual pension model.



The Japanese Long-Term Care Insurance SystemA Social Work Perspective


The objective of this paper is to examine whether or not the Japanese Long-Term Care Insurance System provides the insured with reliable services.  First, I looked closely into the Insurance System.  As a result of careful study, I found that the current system proved not to be a mere expansion of the Social Welfare System.  It was built on the Medical Insurance System.  Secondly, I reviewed the Long-Term Care Insurance System which is based on Medical Insurance and found problems from the following three points of view of Social Work:  individuality in daily life, empowerment, and recognition of potential needs and prevention.  Close examination shows that system does not have schemes to deliver care services regarded as necessary.  Therefore, it can be said that the current system does not provide services adequate to maintain daily life and support self-reliance.

The principal cause of this situation is a mismatch between the expected care insurance system and that which was actually adopted.  Discussion about systematic reform will only lead to further confusion if we remain unaware of this mismatch.



The Worker Dispatching Law:  Its Problems and Perspectives

Toyomi FUJII

The article examines the defects of the Worker Dispatching Law through the author’s own experience as a dispatched worker and a union official of J Union which has a great number of dispatched workers among its members and has been dealing with their claims.  For a decade from the time of enactment of the Law in 1985, dispatched workers benefited from relatively good working conditions due to Japanese economic prosperity.  However, since the middle of the 1990s they have undergone hardships.  Increasingly employment has become less stable and illegal interviews by corporations where they would possibly be sent make the situation problematic.

Four cases which J Union successfully negotiated with the employers of dispatched workers in trouble are demonstrated.  These cases indicate vulnerability of dispatched workers and inefficacy of the amended Act of 1999 in protecting them.  In order to improve their situation and to secure their rights, measures must be established to realize their equal treatment with permanent staff.  Their own concerns and higher participation in trade unions would be also required.  Trade unionism in general should treat the issue more seriously.



Inception, Decline and Proposed Reconstruction of the Chinese Farmers’ Pension System

Wenliang WANG

The Chinese farmers’ pension insurance system formally started at the beginning of the 1990s.  It has been operating for about ten years, but the system has been in decline for some time.  Whatever the cause, the system now needs revision. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the defects the current system, and to present the following measures as proposals for the reconstruction of the system.

(1) Do a radical reform of the mechanism of the current system.  Especially it is proposed to set up a co-operative for the premium fund in order to ensure a sound financial resource.

(2) In the future the government should ensure sufficient financial resources to meet the needs of every region of the country.  In the prosperous areas, farmers’ pension insurance must be switched to compulsory participation.  In the poorer areas, the present system should be abolished.

(3) In the prosperous areas where compulsory participation is proposed, government fiscal investment should be ensured through the enactment of relevant laws and regulations.



The Transfiguration and Evaluation of the Lifestyle of Male Skilled Workers in Postwar Japan


This paper aims to define the image of male skilled workers in the 1950s-1970s by examining the life histories of former and active compositors, who have worked in small printing companies in Tokyo.  When we examine former attitudes toward life and work, it becomes clear that lifestyles have changed considerably.

In the past, workers established networks, which allowed them to move from one company to the next without constraints, and took pleasure in activities such as drinking, gambling and paying for sexual services.  Their moving from one company to the next was a symbol of their skillfulness, as well as their slovenliness and thriftlessness.  These two aspects were recognized to be closely related. Regarding their attitude towards gender issues, it appears they were influenced by two contradictory ideologies:  one being that the man should be the breadwinner, and the other being that the wife should engage in paid work.

However, during Japan’s high-growth period, such lifestyles began to lose their acceptance by management organizations, trade unions, and even compositors themselves.  Although collective movements were not far-reaching in their efforts to deny such a lifestyle, it is noteworthy that both trade unions and workers themselves criticized not just the working life of the compositors, but rather their lifestyle on the whole.



A Change of Relationships between Original-contractors and Subcontractors in Building Industry under Depression

Takashi KOSEKI, Kayoko MURAMATSU and Atsutami YAMAMOTO

We will discuss the current relationship between original-contractors and subcontractors in the building industry based upon our research, which clarifies that the collapse of the “bubble economy” at the beginning of the 1990s has reduced the market scale, and put the building industry under severe pressure from competition.

Formerly, subcontractors used to undertake work continuously from particular original-contractors in order to stabilize their business.  On the other hand, original-contractors could nurture and make exclusive use of excellent subcontractors. Most original-contractors organized their favorite subcontractors so that they were given work by priority.  Both of them enjoyed this close long-term relationship.

However, such a close relationship has been replaced with an open one, which places a priority on price competition and quality in the open market.  As the competition has intensified and the pressure of cost-cutting has grown stronger, original-contractors have maximized profits by giving subcontractors orders at unreasonably low prices, and subcontractors have offered lower prices than their rivals. Recently original-contractors often refuse to pay subcontractors fees for added construction. Original-contractors have cut costs related to construction, which has brought a state of confusion and annoyed workers.  In the end, this cut-throat competition has not only weakened many subcontractors, but was cut down workers’ wages pitilessly and deteriorated working conditions.



The Development of Social Policies for the Elderly in Bologna, Italy


According to the recent comparative welfare state theory, Italy is classified as a “Mediterranean country” and her institutional level of social services are “remarkably low”.  The reasons for this low evaluation of Italian welfare can be explained by (1) the gap between north and south, (2) decentralization of power, (3) a lack of public data.  On the contrary, there are some interesting social policies being implemented on the regional level, and especially in the northern part of Italy.

This paper discusses the case of Bologna, in Emilia-Romagna, which has dealt with ageing problems since the 1960s, and adopted a strategy of deinstitutionalization for the care services for elderly people.

I examine the three issues below:

(1) Demographic changes of the ageing society in Italy.

(2) The history of social policies for elderly people in the city of Bologna/ Emilia Romagna from the 1960s to today.

(3) The current residential care programs in some areas of Bologna.

As a result of the analysis regarding these issues, I attempt to show the advanced and experimental nature of the programs that help to care for elderly people in Bologna.



The Gender Structure of Households and the Measurement of Poverty


This article has two main objectives.  Firstly, how to measure “poverty” is addressed in terms of gender.  Poverty is analyzed by focusing on households with a female householder and on households with male-female couples, because these tend to have the common factor of low female income.  For the purposes of this argument, it is important to recognize the household within a gender-sensitive framework.  This study does not assume an equal distribution of resources between all household members, but it defines the household from the viewpoint of “cooperative conflict” and an intra-household income distribution system.

The second objective of this article is to point out the importance of conducting poverty measurements while considering both the incomes of each household member and the income of the household as a whole.  What is critical in assessing poverty is how much one can support him/herself on his/her own income, taking into account wages, benefits and so on.  At the same time, however, it is wrong to disregard the fact that people share their incomes with other family members.  In the case of two-earner households, it is appropriate to equally weigh the contribution of each partner rather than giving preference to either one.  Such measurements of poverty may well illuminate the existence of individuals and households confronting low income and poverty under the lasting recession and serve as an essential tool for assessing the effects of social policies to solve these problems.

Vol. 10 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)


HOME > PUBLICATIONS > Early Journals > The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi) (1999-2007)

Unemployment and Precarious Employment in Contemporary Japan

Kazumichi GOKA

Today, Japan is entering a new era of mass unemployment and irregular, precarious employment. The number of unemployed persons exceeded 3.5 million and the rate of unemployment was over 5.4 percent in 2002.While the number of regular employees was cut by 3.99 million from 1997 to 2002, irregular employees increased by 3.68 million during the same period. This has been brought about by both personnel management by employers and by the government’s deregulation policies in order to overcome the current depression and survive against the tough competition in the globalization of the economy. Growing globalization has been forcing Japanese companies to reduce labour costs and labour standards. Moving Japanese factories and establishments overseas has hollowed out domestic industries and increased unemployment.

Flexible employment will allow companies to increase efficiency by cutting labour costs on the one hand, but will also impose difficulties on the Japanese economy by curtailing demand in the domestic market on the other hand. Replacing regular employees with irregular ones means an increase in the ratio of low-wage earners. Therefore, we should pursue increased job opportunities by ensuring fair labour standards which have been jeopardized by globalization.



Unemployment Issues as a Confrontation with Generations


One of the notable features of increasing unemployment is that the net employment declines at firms as middle-aged and older employees increase. Our empirical study confirms this fact, even controlling for endoseneity and selection biases. Young workers are more likely to face difficulty in finding full-time jobs at aging firms. Until the mid 1990s, senior workers could find new employment opportunities through derect transfer between firmes. However, a huge increase in displaced senior workers occurred after the financial crisis of 1998.  They also face difficulty in job finding without personal networks and firm-to-firm relationships.



How Should We Promote Stable Employment?


Long-term, stable employment gives great benefits to both employees and employers. Employees earn steady incomes, while employers secure human resources that are critical to win in worldwide competition. It is important to maintain and promote the ‘normal’ employment (sei-shain) system. But this employment arrangement is now under heavy pressure to change because of a serious depression in Japan. How is it possible to maintain the system in the increasing diversity of employment relationships?  In this paper, I discuss what employment policies can and should be taken by the employers.  Three general policies are proposed.

First, employers should change the base for calculation of overtime allowances. The base is now only on monthly pay. But, because semiannual bonuses and other fringe benefits are substantial, overtime premiums are actually minus, even if they are theoretically plus. If the calculation is based on real labor costs, daily overtime work will substantially decrease. This will result in more working hours for employees and increased normal employment.

Second, employers should offer a stable employment policy for young people.  There are already arrangements such as the introduction-scheduled dispatch (shokai-yotei-haken) or the trial-employment (toraiaru-koyoh). But more positive measures should be taken. We, for instance, should start the discussion about work sharing between generations.

Third, and most important, employers should promote a system which permits diverse statuses within normal employment. The current single normal employee status requires a high commitment that enterprises demand from employees. Many of the employees simply cannot devote themselves that way because of their private lives with their families. The new system, which permits assorted arrangements of normal employment, will be able to satisfy diverse groups of employees with different life styles.



Divison of Labor, Circumstances and Relations in Nursing Homes for the Disabled Elderly


This paper explores the present situation of circumstances, relations and division of labor in nursing homes for the elderly.  The actual contents and reciprocal relations over the division of labor are far removed from how the government perceives them and from the ideas held by caregivers.  That is why, in spite of expectations and potential, the introduction of Care Management followed by Long Term Care Insurance had no substantial impact on the division of labor in nursing homes.  This paper concludes that there is a need to reconsider and discuss the validity of conventional ideas concerning the elderly, their families, as well as institutional/ actual notions about the style and contents of care needed, along with ideas regarding institutional cooperation.  It also suggests that simply increasing the number of caregivers and pursuing professionalism among caregivers might be harmful to the mutual relationships between the elderly and their caregevers, and that among the caregivers themselves.



The Long-term Care Insurance System Separated from the Needs of the Aged

With the aim of establishing “The Long-term Care Security System”

Hironao OZAKI

This article discusses a contradiction under the reconstruction of the Medical Insurance System for the aged after the Long-term Care Insurance System starts in Japan, an aging society.

As the aged are increasing in Japan, the amount of medical expenses for them is simultaneously increasing, which makes the Medical Insurance System to be in financial difficulty. Then the national government decided to reconstruct the Medical Insurance System by means of gradually dissociating medical expenses for the aged. This reconstruction is closely connected with the enactment of the Long-term Care Insurance System.

Medical treatment services for the aged are being changed to services that put emphasis on the long-term care, which means a decline in the standard of medical trearment services. As the result of these reconstructions, the Long-term Care Insurance System has brought about conflicts with old people who have various medical needs.

Finally, the Long-term Care Security System should be extended for the establishment of “The Long-term Care Security System” that can also meet various needs of chronic invalids.



Part-time Workers in the Retail Indestry:  the Occupational Field and its Industrial Relations


In the retail industry in Japan, corporate managers have widely employed part-time workers for the purpose of cutting labor costs, thus expanding these workers’ occupational field. Trade unions have also accepted the expansion, leading to a certain degree of improvement in working conditions for part-time workers. As a result, part-time workers’ skills have increased and they have assumed administrative roles, but their working conditions have not beet better than regular employees working in the same position. This suggests that many conflicting relationships may emerge among employees due to the expansion of the part-time occupational field.

This article uses a retail business as its focus to analyze the institutional and historical expansion and transformation of the part-time occupational field in relation to both the conditions and job training system for regular employees, while also considering the logic of the trade union that has boosted this expansion.

The findings show that, with the extension of the part-time occupational field, the job training of regular employees has become a contentious issue in industrial relations and trade unions need to create new principles for wage determination.



Labor Unions and Disputes Over Reform in the Japan Socialist Party

Ichiro OKADA

It has generally been thought that one of the factors in the decline of the Japan Socialist Party (JSP) has been caused by ideology. In other words, many voters have felt alienated and the party has failed to be part of the administration because the JSP has stuck to Marxism and Leninism without taking a realistic point of view.

However, this idea cannnot explain why the strength of the JSP has not recovered since the Party abandoned Marxism and Leninism.

Therefore,this paper pays more attention to the JSP’s organization, rather than to its ideology. Under the assumption that the weakness of the organization led to this lack of support, changes in the organization of the JSP are called for. This paper pays the most attention to the movements of people who actually run the activities of the JSP and labor unions, including the General Council of Trade Unions of Japan.

In the latter half of the 1950s, the JSP determined that a constitution that relied on labor unions limited expansion of party strength. The party tried to become the ruling party by expanding its base of support beyond labor unions. In addition to expanding support for the JSP beyond labor unions, the organization was reformed so that activists would be the central focus. The influence for reform was involved in factional disputes, bringing reform to a standstill, and resulted in changes that deepened the party’s reliance on labor unions.



The Local Structure of Homeless Provisions

a Case Study in Cardiff, Wales

Yoshihiro OKAMOTO

This paper reviews the homeless provisions in Cardiff, Wales.

At first it discusses the fundings of the study on homelessness in the UK.  The causes of homelessness are: economic restructuring, sociodemographic transformations, the changing of the political environment, and private problems.  The homeless became younger, went from family to single persons, became more troublesome, and experienced a shortage of government resources over the course of the 1980s and 1990s.

Secondarily, it discusses the findings of statistics on homelessness in the UK and finds the characteristics in Cardiff.

Thirdly, it describes the homeless provisions in Cardiff.  They are composed of three levels:  primary services, secondary services and tertiary services. The primary services are composed of front-line outreach and the provision of accommodations. The secondary services are provisions of accommodations with various types of support. The tertiary services are general provisions of accomodations with support and specialist housing provisions for these who are likely to be homeless without support. The floating support brings the homeless from secondary services accommodations to permanent housing. The secondary support agencies indirectly aid the homeless field and support homeless or potentially homeless people.  The location of service provisions in the downtown area of Cardiff helps the every day life of homeless people.

Vol. 11 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)


HOME > PUBLICATIONS > Early Journals > The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi) (1999-2007)

Excellence, Justice, Taxation: Toward Unthinking Social Policies


In this paper, I attempt-to use the term coined by Wallerstein-“unthinking” (i.e. critically rethinking the tacit and persistent presuppositions of ) certain current public policies. For this purpose, I employ three sets of texts in particular.

The first set I consider is Yuichi SHIONOYA’s Economy and Morality (2002) and the subsequent debate that followed its publication. Shionoya adopts a subtle form of the perfectionist position and argues for social security reform in Japan, and the subsequent controversy concerns fundamental issues such as which ethic is suitable for the reconstruction of a welfare state: the ethic of care or the ethic of excellence.

The second set I consider is that of Jon ELSTER, which adopts an explanatory approach to social justice in Local Justice (1992), and that of Haruki MIYOSHI, which follows this line when proposing “the socialization of nursing care within concrete relationships”. I emphasize the significance of Miyoshi’s contrast between the socialization of caring powers and that of caring relationships.

The third set I consider is Liam MURPHY and Thomas NAGEL’s The Myth of Ownership (2002). They insist that societal fairness, rather than tax fairness, should be the value that guides tax policy. I suggest that their notion of “societal fairness” is compatible with the progressive expenditure tax system put forth by Toshiaki TACHIBANAKI.



The Basic Income Proposal and the Possibility of a New Social Policy

 Shuji OZAWA

A basic income(BI) is one that is unconditionally paid to all individuals on an individual basis, without a means test and work requirement. In other words, BI is a form of guaranteed minimum income that differs from those that now exist in a post-war welfare state on the grounds of being paid (1) to individuals rather than households; (2) irrespective of any income from other sources; and (3) without requiring the performance of any work.

As a matter of fact, as globalization progresses, life security under “full employment” is on the decline owing to an increase in unemployment, increase in the diversification and instability of the employment system, such as part-time labor and dispatch labor, aggravation of social exclusion, etc. The traditional male breadwinner model is becoming nonfunctional with the increase in the number of working women and the diversification of the family. Furthermore, the manner in which the “welfare state” depends on income redistribution based on economic growth that destroys the environment is approaching its limit. This implies that the 20th century premise that a post-war welfare state holds is swinging greatly on several sides of “labor,” “family,” and the “environment.”

Therefore, the above BI design is evaluated as an alternative proposal of a post-war welfare state and has been attracting a great deal of interest.



The Future of Work: Suggestions from Germany 


Since the 1990s, the future of work has been actively discussed in many of the developed countries. Discussions such as those of Jeremy Rifkin, the Roman Club, and Ulrich Beck have pointed out that the global IT economy possesses the possible contradiction of high productivity and high unemployment while simultaneously destroying traditional communities and democracy of citizens. They have proposed a future that would lay more emphasis on non-market social lives such as strong, community-based forces or voluntary circles. In order to revitalize society, the authors have unanimously expressed the need for fundamentally reorganizing the work system itself.

In Germany, these proposals are being taken seriously, and trials for the rearrangement of work are beginning. The primary concept in these proposals is the sovereignty of time throughout one’s life. Increasing the flexibility of work time has led not only to the flextime system of weekly work but also to the long-term work time account, which includes possible sabbaticals for retraining, child care, nursing, and so on. The intentional expansion of part-time work as a new type of normal labor relationship is thought to constitute a new social contract. It would make it possible for each individual to adjust their occupational and other activities according to their personal circumstances.

These trials are, however, facing pressure from the global economy. Despite this, new efforts for rearranging the future of work for the entire world are now in great demand by many institutions, unions, and NGOs, from which there is great potential for learning.



Can We Depart from the “Male Breadwinner” Model? : Gender-mainstreaming of Japan’s Social Policy System


Several incidents that have occurred since the end of 2002 suggest the possibility of Japan’s departure from the “male breadwinner” model of social policies. Firstly, the Koizumi cabinet decided in January 2003 that the special spouse deduction in the income tax system would be reduced as of January 2004. The report of the Tax Council submitted in June 2003 stated that the spouse deduction itself should be revised as well. Secondly, reform measures of the “third class insured” system in the National Pension Scheme have been proposed by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) and its advisory council. Thirdly, the “Specialist Committee on Gender Impact Evaluation and Assessment,” set up under the Council for Gender Equality in the Cabinet Office submitted a report in December, 2002 that proposed the reduction or abolishment of spouse deductions. With regard to the pension scheme and employment system, the Specialist Committee’s proposals are as follows: To require the third class insured person to somehow pay premiums and to curtail or abolish family allowances in the pay structure of private corporations. These incidents have not occurred coincidentally. This paper discusses the models of social policies in section two, traces policy developments in Japan since the 1980s in section three, and examines the significance of those recent incidents.



The formation process and current condition of the basic medical insurance scheme in China

Yang YU

Since the late 1990s, China has implemented a new social security system centering on a social insurance system to unite economic reform policy and reform of state-owned enterprises. Currently, four schemes coexist in the medical insurance system. They are as follows: The public expenditure medical insurance scheme, the employees’ medical insurance scheme, the basic medical insurance scheme, and a new rural cooperation medical health scheme. In cities, the public expenditure medical insurance scheme and the employees’ medical insurance scheme have functioned as the main schemes since the founding of P. R. China. Through the medical insurance system reform trial in the 1990s, the basic medical insurance scheme was implemented in 1999, and it is now becoming the maim system. This paper considers the changes in the Chinese medical insurance system and clarifies the formation process of the basic medical insurance scheme as well as its present condition. In addition, since I have limited space, I would like to leave the argument regarding the rural cooperation medical health scheme to other papers.



The Problems regarding Care Work in the Paradigm Shift in the Ethics of Dementia: From a Gender Perspective


With respect to the paradigm-shift in the ethics of care of old people with dementia, the degree of care that should be provided has been undergoing change. That is, so far, “care” implied labor on three physical levels: help in eating, bathing, and defecating. Recently, however, workers have been requested to be more sensitive when interacting with the aged and to be more considerate of their will and motivation. In other words, workers should secure a better “quality of life” for them. Therefore, it is all the more important for workers to develop their communication skills to be able to form a relationship with clients. Such a change has been progressing together with the so-called “progress of market on care,” in which workers willingly accept less payment. Consequently, the cost itself does not cover “emotional labor,” and the working condition becomes worse.

In this paper, I intend to elaborate on the following: ①The view of unit-care in the training curriculum and its social implications, ②the worker’s expectations regarding training and self-consciousness, ③the trainers’ views on gender and sexuality, and ④the working conditions in the field of “unit-care” (using narrative date gathered from participating trainees and interviewees).



The Welfare Mix in the Care of Older People: Reforms in the Health Care and Personal Care Systems

Makoto KONO

This paper attempts to broaden the understanding of the status quo in the Japanese welfare system by highlighting how unique policies ensure that the state plays only a marginal role in providing and financing care services. The care of older people is used as a case study to explore how this residual system has been developed and how it operates in practice. This study outlines the production of care in each welfare sector and shows the recent trends in the welfare mix. Due to the process of modernization, some important family functions have been removed from the family system and have been taken on by other sectors. The increase in care needs and the decrease in the capacity for informal care is an outcome of modernization in Japan.

In theory, therefore, family care work in the future will be further externalized, and responsibilities of care provision will be shifted to other sectors. However, the direction of this shift is affected to a great extent by political intentions. Under the present welfare reforms, the private sector will play a larger role as one that assumes externalized family care work. However, a large proportion of care responsibilities continuously lie with family members, and the significance of self-help is projected to increase in the Japanese welfare mix. This paper reveals the residual nature of long-term care policies and the various strategies aimed at minimizing the role of the public sector. It explores the recent development of several schemes that have encouraged private and informal activities in the field of care for older people.



Productive Welfare of the Kim Dae Jung (DJ) Government (1998-2003): Historical Implications of the Outstanding Tasks

Hye-kyung LEE

The Asian financial crisis that struck Korea in October 1997 was of an unprecedented severity, coming after decades of uninterrupted high growth. It was a manifestation of both the enormous power of the newly emerging global financial market based on the so-called Washington Consensus as well as its severe imperfections.

The DJ government was born amidst this crisis and it earnestly pursued broad reform projects in compliance with the structural adjustment requirements of the IMF to attain global standards in all spheres of business, finance, and the public sector. At the same time, it also pursued unprecedented comprehensive reform in social welfare, with the rhetoric of Productive Welfare. This was added to the two pillars of national development with which the DJ Government was launched; that is , the development of democracy and market economy was added as the third pillar of national development.

The DJ government made it clear that the practical and balanced development of democracy and a market economy was impossible without this third pillar of social welfare policies and programs. This paper analyzes the basic structure and strategies of the Productive Welfare of the DJ government and explores the tasks left for the Roh Moo Hyun government (2003-2008).



Women’s policies under the Kim Dae-Jung regime

Chin-sung CHUNG

Since the Park Chung-Hee regime established a range of women’s policies, including those on population, mobilization of female labor, and suppression of prostitution, the government’s stance toward women has leaned toward the promotion of women’s welfare. Following the economic crisis of 1997, the Kim Dae-Jung administration developed the so-called productive welfare policy in line with its goals of economic recovery. Women’s policies under Kim Dae-Jung were thus the products of these two streams: Women’s welfare and economic crisis management. This paper discusses the policies on women of the Kim Dae-Jung government in the following fields: Labor, welfare, sexual violence, women’s human rights, political participation, government organizations for women, and other legal and institutional developments. While labor and welfare issues were more directly influenced by Kim Dae-Jung’s productive welfare policy, other issues were approached as well, including women’s human rights, political participation, and legal and institutional fields. I also explore the relationship between women’s movements and gender politics. Finally, the results of this study point to the necessity for Kim Dae-Jung’s government to implement a more consistent and clear conceptualization and approach to women’s policies.



Neo-liberalism and Welfare policy: Korea’s experience of “Productive Welfare”

Sung-won KIM

The core of neo-liberalism discourses on today’s welfare issues lie in the incompatibility between market economy and welfare policies. Despite the recent sprouting of the neo-liberalist approach for the restructuring of the welfare state, a number of problems remain to be resolved. However, the so-called “productive welfare” concept, which originated under Korea’s IMF economic crisis, serves as an important clue in that it represents the “co-existence of a market economy and the movement toward a welfare state”. This paper aims at finding the implication that “Productive Welfare” has on the relation between a market economy and welfare policy by reviewing the concept of “Productive Welfare” and Korea’s experience of it.

Vol. 12 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)


HOME > PUBLICATIONS > Early Journals > The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi) (1999-2007)

A viewpoint and problems of the studies on wage for the study of social policy


In this paper, I review the studies on wage presented at the conferences of the “Society for the Study of Social Policy” from 1950 to 2000.  I consider the change in the analysis of the wage problem, the features of its viewpoint, and the contemporary problems of the studies on wage for the study of social policy.

We have not adequately analyzed the constructive feature of Japanese capitalism after the period of high economic growth and the wage problem determined by it. Thus, it becomes extremely essential to clarify these aspects. In other words, what constitutes the wage problem should be elucidated. We have to consider not only the wage administration but also the wage level, since the problem of the living standard includes indirect wages and public services. The studies recently lean toward wage administration, especially how to determine wages in large enterprises. It is essential that we consider the significance and the limitations of the function of the labor market and prepare a new policy for employment and also consider the lifespan within which we can reproduce the modern labor force.



The focus of the current wage problem


This paper puts important points of an argument on the wage problem into perspective. Currently, the argument over the wage problem is based on the following three trends. A wage system changes into the result principle wage system from nenkoū wage system the in many Japanese enterprises in the first. The second trend is where a wage level is prescribed due to the sudden rise in the unemployment rate, following this trend it declines drastically. While the number of part-timers increases, the problem of the equal treatment of part-timers and regular employees is observed in the third trend.

When a wage problem is examined, it is important to determine a standard for deciding wages from the manner in which the wages are raised, and the level of the amount of wages that form the basis for the argument. It was the standard for the decision of wages that was deemed important based on the new trend. This aspect was emphasized in this paper in the argument over wages.



The possibility of age-based wage and experience-based wage

Masashige AKAHORI

This paper discusses the possibility of age-based wage and experience-based wage, which are different from the so-called seniority-based wage, with a closer look at the post World War Ⅱ Japanese labor history. Experience-based wage discussed here is the wage that is determined by evaluating a worker’s skill according to his/her experience. This has been a typical wage system in Europe that has had a history of craft unions since the 18th century. Age-based wage is one of the typical living wages of the Densan wage system proposed in Japan during early postwar period.  Despite different history, both systems have established by the intervention of strong labor unions. In addition, the “year” has been the key element of wage rates in order to avoid competition among laborers in both systems. Thus, age-based wage that plays a similar role in industrial relations has been the primary focus of the study. Although its influence is no longer overwhelming, the author believes that age-based wage established in the postwar period still regulates the labor market and will continue to a critical means by labor unions.



Diversifying employment categories and issues of wage management

Hiroki SATO

Companies consist of people working under various employment categories. Employees are not only the standard employees but also the considerable number of non-standard employees. Within the standard and non-standard employees, there exist a number of employment categories where different working conditions are applied depending on the different careers. Furthermore, there are an increasing number of temporary help agency workers and on-site sub-contracting workers who are not directly employed by the companies where they work.

The diversifying employment categories raise a new issue in human resource management, one that considers planning the treatment of these workers according to their employment categories. This chapter will discuss this subject in detail.



The effects and problems of the minimum wage system in Japan

Kazutoshi KOSHIRO

The Minimum Wage Law originally took effect in April 1959. In June 1968, it was substantially revised, and a board system was introduced in each prefecture. Between 1972 and 1976, each local wage board introduced prefecture-wide minimum wage rates to replace local occupational minimum wages, which were fundamentally daily rates. Local minimum wages are revised every year in accordance with the recommendations provided by the Central Minimum Wage Council, Ministry of Labor (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare since 2001), a tripartite body that deliberates minimum wage policies. Having served as council chairperson from May 1996 to January 2003, I discuss here the main activities and achievements of the council during my term. In 2001, the government implemented new regulations based on the council’s recommendation that minimum wages be converted from daily to hourly rates, reflecting the introduction of the 40-hour week in April 1997. The council did not abolish the local industrial minimum wages in each prefecture, totaling to 243, despite strong pressure from employers to do so. The council first recommended freezing the minimum wages in 2002 and 2003 due to the continuing depression in Japan. I conclude that the minimum wage system, despite its defects, has succeeded in gradually improving the economic conditions of low-paid workers.



Unemployment policy and employment insurance in Korea

Post 1997 financial crisis

Eui-kyoo LEE

Korea overcame the 1997 financial crisis and thereafter has sustained high economic growth to improve its employment situation. However, in the process of overcoming the financial crisis, labor market flexibility has increased and the unemployment rate remains high.

However, the biggest change that the Korean labor market has experienced following the financial crisis is that amidst changes in the business environment and corporate restructuring, the proportion of workers in unstable employment, including casual labor and daily workers, has increased to exceed that of those in permanent employment. In addition, the number of discouraged workers is growing, resulting in an increase in the non-economically active population and a reduction in the participation rate. In addition, the radio of the long-term unemployed, or those who have been out of work for 6 months or more, has significantly decreased in the course of overcoming the crisis.

The basic framework of Korea’s post-crisis unemployment policy consists of four pillars, with the active labor market policy at the center. First, as part of the supportive measures for continuous employment. Second, there exist measures to create new employment, including the introduction of an internship program, and a social welfare assistant worker program.  Third, there are work capability enhancement measures, including re-employment training of the unemployed and a training program for the female heads of households. Fourth, the social safety net provided to the unemployed comprises unemployment benefits and a loan service.

Similar to the Japanese employment insurance system, Korea’s employment insurance consists mainly of three projects, namely, unemployment benefits, vocational competence development project, and employment security project.

Depending on the target group, availability of financial resources, and training programs, the development of vocational competence of the unemployed can be divided into re-employment training of the unemployed, employment promotion training, employment training of the unemployed, government-consigned training, and business start-up training.

Therefore, the vocational competence development project is mainly concerned with skill enhancement training of the employed and re-employment training of the unemployed, while workers make very little use of paid-leave training and subsidy for enrolling in classes in terms of voluntary efforts for skills development.

Employment security project is aimed at providing support, on a rational basis, to promote employment security for workers and to facilitate employment adjustment in companies in view of changes in the industry structure and technological advances. It is a policy linked to the policy measures of the active labor market and unemployment insurance.

Moreover, these unemployment policy measures should serve as plans for promoting development of vocational competence in order to cope with the rapidly changing business environment and to enhance employment capability. To that end, first, it is necessary to strengthen self-directed learning for the development of vocational competence of workers. Second, in order for labor mobility to occur efficiently, it is necessary to reduce frictional unemployment and ease the mismatch of skills, and function in the labor market through the development of vocational competence. Third, there is a need to establish a lifelong learning system to create greater opportunities for the development of vocational competence.



New system of medical services in a welfare state and nursing manpower movement

Ryoichi YAMADA

Increasing proportion of the aged population in the advanced countries is becoming dissatisfied with the services of the nursing manpower available worldwide. This report captures the movement of international nursing manpower during globalization. This aspect deals with the relation between United Kingdom (England) and Philippines. U.K. is aims to rebuild the welfare state due to the increase in the nursing staff. Philippines is planning to increase the balance of international payments through the immigration of nurses. It envisions the creation of a welfare state in the era of globalization by means of the movement of international nursing manpower between two countries.



The characteristics of care management in Japan

the increasing presence of nurses

Yoshiko ITO

The care management concept was first developed in the United States in the 1970s as a method to control social service expenses while simultaneously improving the quality of life of the care recipients. Gradually, the concept spread to other countries, and it arrived in Japan with the implementation of the Long-Term Care Insurance law in 2000. Concurrently, a new type of occupation came into being, that of the care manager. Although care management in Japan initially imitated the US system, it has quickly developed a unique set of characteristics. In looking at some of these unique characteristics, this paper focuses on the increasing presence of nurses as care managers within the Japanese system. It clarifies the factors driving this phenomenon by directing attention to the underlying systematic differences between the social services in the US and Japan. The paper further discusses how we can better understand and capitalize on Japan’s unique situation to bolster the future development of the Japanese care management system.



Public responsibility and the employment of people with disabilities

Workshops for disabled persons and their management subsidies


With the advent of “the right to work” and “the right to development” emerged the serious role of the workshop for disabled persons. However, the economic management base was weak due to the lack of legal recognition.

In this paper, the workshop in the city of Yokohama was cited as an example. The actual condition of management there showed that the management base was unstable, although the intended subsidy was substantial. Furthermore, the distribution method of the remuneration (dividend) and the methods for pursuing a connection with society obtained through work, etc., clarified the actual condition of work.  However, the low level of the remuneration (dividend), the gap of legal institutions, wage differential with non-disabled people, etc, exposes the prominent subject of the support for institutional maintenance at a public level and the necessity for “wage assistance.”

Further, the gap between the areas of management subsidy, which the local government delivers, was surveyed. The contents and the developed factors of the subsidy policy were also considered as examples, such as Shiga, Kyoto, etc., where an advanced subsidy policy is implemented for the workshops.

Finally, the source-of-revenue problem and public responsibility for the workshops was considered. If the wide gap between the areas of a local government subsidy policy and the rarity of the historical relations between a workshop and the central government is taken into consideration, there is a need for the central government to clarify the public responsibility for a workshop, and assume the responsibility.  The author believes that the people involved and the related organizations should determine the range and the state of the public responsibility.

Vol. 13 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)


HOME > PUBLICATIONS > Early Journals > The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi) (1999-2007)

Prolonged transition from adolescence to adulthood and need for relevant social policies

             Michiko MIYAMOTO

In recent years, the transition process from adolescence to adulthood has become much longer than it was once assumed, and this prolonged process has created a new stage in life course. This new stage can be termed ‘post-adolescence’.

In life course studies, this transitional stage is traditionally known as the period when ‘the process of transition from adolescence to adulthood occurs’. The patterns of the transition differ according to the system and structure as well as customs and culture of society. While industries and economy grew steadily, the transition from childhood to adulthood was seen as one continuous change. Since the 1980’s however, not only has the period of transition become longer, but also its patterns have altered from ‘linear transition’ in which the changes were step-by-step, direct movement toward the goal, to ones that are more complex and ‘zigzagging’. Thus we saw the emergence of transition patterns that were individualised, diversified and changeable.

At the end of the 1970’s, it was recognised in the West that unemployment was an indication that adolescence itself was changing, and since than a number of policies have been set up to tackle the problems accordingly. Recent policies in EU countries can be seen as evidence of the responsibilities felt by governments. Nevertheless, a number of questions of what should be done and who is to take responsibility for the financial demands caused by the prolonged transition process still remain to be answered. Many of those who are concerned have expressed strong doubts for the call for extended parental responsibility. Youth unemployment in Japan did not occur until the late 1990’s due to the extreme shortage of a young workforce during the economic boom of the early 1990’s. Consequently, with a fall in the birth rate caused by people not marry until they were much older, the changes in the transition process were only felt in Japan now, 20 years after the phenomenon was first recognised in the West.

Some of the problems are common both to Japan and EU countries but some differ considerably. One of the most significant characteristics in Japan is the fact that financial responsibilities for young people are almost entirely borne by their family, whereas in the West, various benefits are available that are funded by governments or other relevant organisations. As more young people go on to higher education and heavier financial burden of education falls on their family, the awareness of the family being an economic unit has been significantly reinforced. The result of this social change manifests financial dependency and delayed independence, the parents’ sense of responsibility for finding employment for their children and their feeling of guilt when they fail. In such circumstances, the young people who are most at risk are similar types to those who become socially deprived in the UK. On the other hand, the financial problems of young people in Japan have been concealed by their prolonged dependency on parents, and the serious effect on young people was not recognised for a long time. Even now, it is far from easy to have a clear picture of where the families who are unable to support their grown up children exist, and to what extent. Consequently, whereas it is regarded as a social problem in the West, the Japanese tend to see the phenomenon as the ‘normal young people’ (i.e. not deprived in any way) becoming less capable. Thus the general public is more concerned with young people’s lack of aspiration and independence, and with their attitude to work. This could lead to a moral argument such as the need to tell them to ‘pull their socks up’, and the real argument of how the change in social structure has caused such strong dependency in young people could easily be ignored.

To conclude, I would like to suggest that there are a number of factors in Japanese society that have caused this generation of young people to have an unprecedented dependency on parents making them incapable of adapting to the fast changing society. These factors include the unique method of once-a-year block graduate recruitment, the traditional family system, a culture that values mutual dependency rather than independence and the system of higher education that presumes financial support by parents.



Changing Patterns in Youth Transition from School to Work in Japan: A Sociological Study of the Emergence of “Kousotsu-mugyousya”

  Hiroaki MIMIZUKA

During and after the 1990s, the patterns in youth transition from school to work experienced a drastic change that prolonged the Japanese youth period. However, it cannot be said that each pupil/ student experienced a prolonged period of youth in the same manner: some succeeded in gaining employment immediately after finishing their schooling, as it used to be before the 1990s, but others could not find employment and became “freeters”(young part-time workers) or “mugyousya” (NEET ; youth that are not employed and not receiving education or training). Before the 1990s almost all Japanese youths were easily able to find employment after school without any time-lag.

The fact that freeters or mugyousya emerged early in the 1990s and increased ever since implies a drastic change in the Japanese youth transition process from school to work.

This raises two issues for research: first, the reason why freeters or mugyousya have emerged and increased in number, and second, the type of youths that became “freeters” or “mugyousya”. This paper reviews recent sociological studies focused on “kousotsu –mugyousya” (freeters or NEETs graduating from high school), and provides answer to the two research questions. Emphasis is laid on the recent educational change that includes education policies, ideals and practices, and the educational selection/ allocation function of schools, as well as recent changes in the youth labor market.

The major findings of this paper are as follows:

1. We can delineate three factors with regard to the first issue: (a) a decline in the demand for high-school graduates and an increase in the demand for part-time labor (pull-factor), (b) introduction of youth-centric ideals in educational practices (especially in career guidance) by the educational reform after 1990 (push-factor), and (c) the collapse of “syuushoku-kankou” (approved customs or practices of both high schools and employers, which enabled a smooth trade of job-seeking high school graduates between schools and employers without incurring huge employment costs). These factors contributed to the emergence and increase of the “kousotsu-mugyousya” while also changing the transition problem of some of the youths and creating a gap between school and work.

2. The question of who became “freeters” or “mugyousya” can be answered by observing their social characteristics and social origins. According to my empirical surveys, high-school graduates from relatively lower social strata (e.g.,whose fathers’ occupational or economic status is low) have a greater possibility of starting working life as “freeters” or “mugyousya” than those from a higher social class. It should not be considered that youth became “freeters” or “mugyousya” by choice. They are created through an educational selection and allocation mechanism.

Japanese society is currently experiencing a widening disparity between social classes in terms of opportunity. The changing pattern in youth transition from school to work is a consequence of this societal process.



Contemporary Aspects on Youth Employment in the Japanese Labor Market


Currently, the Japanese Labor Market is in disequilibrium. Some pillars of the Japanese employment system are crumbling because of the corporations. In other words, terms such as life-time employment, one package recruiting of new graduates, and personal development of the employee in the long term, have all been reduced from positive to passive concepts. As a result, an increasing number of young subscribers to the internal labor market have been facing difficulties in getting jobs as regular employees. Accordingly, in the absence of permanent jobs, there is a tendency for the younger generation to engage in atypical forms of employment such as part-time work, temporary work, and terminable employment contracts.

In Japan there is a type of labor market trade cycle each year to cater to the jobless graduates. The total number of unemployed people peaks every March and April and then recedes until February of the following year. For example, in the year 2003-2004, the number of the unemployed fluctuated between 300,000 and 130,000. Some of these were successful in finding a job but the others had to give up the search for a job in the labor market. Apart from the other job seekers, those of the younger generation are also easily disappointed and swell the ranks of the inactively unemployed.

As in advanced countries, the Japanese government has established a special program that aims at promoting youth employment by way of “Japanese style dual system” in the vocational training arena. Although several institutions could provide opportunities for the youth to make use of the training curriculum, it would take some time for trainees to gain an entry into the first labor market set up by the private job offers.

This critical aspect of youth employment could be the reason why the younger generation is being dissociated from the conventional Japanese style of management.

Additionally, the recruiting strategies of the companies have been as yet unable to discover a solution ; this has led to a big discrepancy between the qualifications required and the working life style required by the job seeker.

If members of the younger generation have to endure such difficulties in becoming citizens of society, they will have growing concerns about a society that is unable to provide them with adequate opportunities, with the emphasis being laid on individual responsibility under the “neo-liberalism” policy. It would also result in chaos since the youth are stratified as a closed and exclusive social group.



Role of social security system in supporting young people’s transitions to adulthood

 Hisashi FUKAWA

The transition process from adolescence to adulthood has extended and “post-adolescence” (transition period) has appeared. There is increasing polarization in occupations and earnings. Yong people require social support in order to become independent. For this purpose, the social security system has to be reformed.

First and foremost, the necessity and possibility of being dependent on parents should be reduced. Social income support for the youth should be increased. The rights-and-duties aspect of the social security system should be framed regardless of considerations such as parents’ income and property, living independently should be made possible, and the formation of a new family should be supported.

Second, despite the instability of employment and earnings, the occupational capability and career formation of the youth should be enabled. High school education and occupational training in vocational schools should be publicly supported.

Third, we should understand the condition of the unemployed and poverty stricken members of the younger generation who are unable to acquire a stable occupation. It is important that both the labor market policy and the public assistance system support the youth.

It is important to maximize the range covering the social insurance system and the public assistance system in order to support the independence of the youth.

The following reforms are required in order to enable the social insurance system to cover the youth:

① In the case of marginal employment under the employees’ health insurance and pension insurance subscription duty, an employee is exempt from insurance, but an employer should owe the obligation to pay insurance contribution.

② The requirements for subscription duty of unemployment insurance should be changed to “20 hours or more per week”.

In order for the public assistance system to support young people, the following three reforms are necessary:

① The supplementary aspect of a public assistance system should be modernized. The limit for possession of property (cash, savings, and car) should be revised upward. The requirements for duty to work must be fitted with the actual condition of the labor market. The support system provided by the relatives should be viewed in terms of the modified family relation.

② Even when the youth lives with their parents, a welfare office should calculate their income and living expenses in terms of individual household.

③ New programs supporting independence must be introduced. A synthetic assistance system should be created.

The overall reformation of the social security system should be based on these principles.



A Study on the Japanese Manufacturing Labor :   A Survey on Methodology

 Yoshinori TOMITA

The composition of the Japanese manufacturing employment has been structurally changing since the 1980s. The proportion of production workers of the total employment has declined substantially while the share of non-production workers (engineers) has steadily increased. This implies that the demand for production & non-production workers has changed to a large extent. This can be explained by the theory of “skill-biased technological change”. In this paper, an attempt has been made to revise the method that is used for analyzing the manufacturing workers. For this to happen, the origin of the change in the workforce in the manufacturing sector cannot be overlooked. Hence, it is important that a methodology implies the major roots of the origin of the labor market changes. Therefore, this study has developed a new methodology through an investigation of the research methods employed in previous studies on manufacturing workers. The proposed methodology is as follows:

1) distinguishing the composition of the labor force in the manufacturing industries and 2) focusing on the production management system. The first methodology is an attempt to categorize the workforce through an analysis of their careers. The second methodology can be used to analyze the actual effect of the target costing management system on the workforce. These methodologies were applied to an analysis in the second half of this paper. The key findings of this study can be summarized as follows : a) the composition of the workers depends on the characteristics of each industry and b) the basic functions of the workers and the organizations are regulated according to the target costing management system.



Single Parent Family Policies and Workfare –Features of systemic reforms in Japan and issues pertaining thereto


Workfare is a policy that has attracted a considerable amount of interest in recent years as a modern approach to restructuring the welfare state. It has been implemented in European countries, the United State, and elsewhere. Workfare is one of the main points to consider when examining social policy models applicable to single parent families. Hence, it is important that policymakers consider the actual circumstances in their respective countries and draft policies based on the inherent and distinctive features involved.

Japan has undertaken systemic reforms against the backdrop of financial burdens arising from an increase in the divorce rate in recent years, and specific measures in this respect were presented at the beginning of 2002. Although such efforts to reform the system are nascent, the philosophy underlying these policies regarding the notion of welfare to work has been put forth, and a transformation in the roles and functions of social welfare can be expected in the future. Based on the circumstances of the current social scenario, this paper focuses on trends concerning the workfare policies directed at single parent families in Japan. It examines the appropriateness of such policies in terms of Japanese attributes and organizing the issues in question.

The main concern associated with single mothers in Japan is that despite a consistently high rate of employment, there is no improvement with respect to the problems of poverty and low income. Recent trends indicate a widening income gap among the working poor; hence, it can be said that the policymakers should readjust the welfare policy before undertaking any initiatives toward implementing welfare to work programs. Additionally, a characteristic of the systemic reforms in Japan is that they target the child-rearing allowance for guardians, which is a social benefit rather than public assistance. The fact that such reforms target a social benefit granted to a quantitatively large segment of the population can be viewed as serving to promote a new exclusion. Consequently, priority is given to the creation of a safety net for single mothers by examining the social security policies from a comprehensive set of viewpoints. Furthermore, it is anticipated that policymakers will ascertain the reasons for the delays in forming policies applicable to single fathers and examine their orientation in terms of both uniqueness and the similarities of single parent families.



The Expansion in the Employment of Non-Regular Staff and New Personnel Management

A Case Study of X Department Store

 Etsuko AOYAMA

This paper explores the recent transformation of personnel management in relation to non-regular employees.

In Japan, approximately 15.5 million people have non-regular, unstable jobs. This segment constituted 31.5% of the employed population (excluding corporate executives) in the 1st qtr. of 2004. Males accounted for 29.3% of this segment, while females constituted 70.7%. Of the female employees, 52.6% were non-regular. There has been a rapid increase in the number of non-regular employees since the mid 1990s.

This figure has increased by 6 million from1994 to 2004. Non-regular employees displace regular employees and play an important role in organizations.

In the retail industry in particular, many companies widely employ part-time workers and contract employees with the intention of cutting back on labor costs.

The scope of this paper is restricted to the study of studying X Department Store. With a decrease in individual consumption, sales at department stores have declined for the past fifteen years. Therefore, these stores are undergoing restructuring and are cutting back on labor costs at an increasing rate.

The following five findings are indicated as the result of an analysis:

1) The employment of non-regular employees has accelerated since the mid 1990s.

This led to a decrease in the number of regular employees during that period. Consequently, non-regular employees displaced the regular employees.

2) Non-regular employees make significant contributions to the performance of department stores. In large department stores, contract employees form the core of sales promotion. New personnel management has been introduced specifically for them. Thus, the regular employees have been deprived of the employment opportunities they had in the past. Therefore, this is now an area of concern for labor unions.

3) Personnel management has come under review with the increase in the number of contract employees and the introduction of a new wage system based on their performance and ability.

4) The polarization among different types of part-time workers is intensifying. Some of these are primarily part-time workers and others work extra hours on demand. These two types are treated differently.

5) Only a handful of the non-regular employees are promoted to regular employment. X department store intends to discuss the issue of promotion to regular employment with the labor union.

In July 2002, there was an attempt at the formation of certain rules for balanced treatment of part-time and full-time employees in Japan. However, this is considered to be difficult due to the difference in the structures of employment for full-time and part-time employees ; for example, full-time workers can avail of overtime, transfer within the company, etc, which are not available to part-time workers.  However, equality is desirable and its pursuit remains of primary concern of contemporary Japanese society.



Trend of life satisfaction and the social strata of wives

Evidence by Japanese Panel Survey of Consumers 


 The purpose of this study is to examine the following problem using panel data: What kind of long-time trend dose the level of life satisfaction show according to a trend of the social strata of wives?  We used data from the “Japanese Panel Survey of Consumes”.

This panel survey began in1993 and is being conducted annually for the past 11 years.

The object of this study is to survey only “continuing wives” (those who did not divorced) during the past 11 years. A total of 621 samples were reported. The question posed to them was, “Are you satisfied with life as a whole?” The candidate had to rate her answers on a scale of 1-5. We examined life satisfaction for each social stratum that were separated on the basis of occupation classes and income quintiles.

The result were as follows : First, the level of life satisfaction of all wives showed a tendency to decrease only in the long term. This is termed as the “marriage continuation effect.”

Second, approximately 70% of the wives surveyed stayed with the occupation for the 11 years and the remaining rate of every years was high with 80%, too. There was a decrease in the level of overall life satisfaction during the 11 years ; however, the level of life satisfaction for a continuing wife belonging to the working class showed a consistently lower trend than that of a continuing wife from the new middle class.

Third, approximately 50% of the wives in the highest income quintile group stayed in the same group during the 11 years. The remaining rate in the income quintiles was lower than that in the occupation classes. The annual remaining rate rose slowly in almost all groups, and there was also a gradual annual widening of the income gap in the groups after 1999. There was a tendency for the long-term life-satisfaction level of both social stratum to be reduced.

As mentioned earlier, we deducted the “marriage continuation effect.”

Wives from every social stratum were greatly influenced by the “marriage continuation effect,” the effect of the occupation class, their age factor, and an effect of the income group. As a matter of fact, the level of life satisfaction is described as a multilayered factor. To some extent, due to the situation of the occupation classes and income groups, there was restraint or side to promote by a negative effect of “marriage continuation.” Moreover, it was observed that in both the occupation classes and the income groups, the gap in the level of life satisfaction widened gradually. More importantly, it was found that the above mentioned facts hold true in the cases of wives aged between 34 to 44, whose eldest children were in junior or senior high schools. The study is still a preliminary examination of why these social stratum exhibited a life satisfaction gap. We intend to examine this point in greater detail in the future.



The Prospect of Financial Instability of the Social Security System and Policy Measures in the Republic of Korea

 Soon-il BARK

The social impact of an economic crisis can leave deep and enduring imprints on the economic structure in the form of a high unemployment rate, a drastic increase in the number of irregular workers, poverty, and severe disparity of income between the rich and the poor. Various social problems also affect an individual’s quality of life.

The number of homeless people has increased manifold. Also, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of disintegrated families, divorces, and juvenile delinquents. The Korean government has taken certain prompt countermeasures in response to these severe effects, investing an unprecedented amount of the budget in various programs. Additionally, the post-crisis social expenditure has rapidly soared as a result of the huge increases in spending on cash aid, public works, unemployment benefits, public pension, and medical insurance. As a consequence, Korea’s social expenditure as a proportion of GDP in 1999 has risen almost to the levels of that of the US and Japan and it will continue to increase over time with the rapid pace of population aging. Such a rapid expansion in social expenditure is likely to go beyond a sustainable level and beyond the affordability of oncoming generations.

Korea’s social expenditure as a proportion of GDP is still approximately 3~4% lower than the level estimated as adequate for 2002 by the OECD standard when Korea recovered its per capita GDP of $10,000. However, the recent rate of expansion of the social insurance expenditure looks formidable and its proportion in GDP will exceed 15% in the next 10 years. Furthermore, financial shortages expected in the future, particularly in pension and medical insurance, would result in raising the payroll tax rate to almost 30% of average salaries in order to preserve current social insurance benefits and this in turn will entail disincentives for the economy. Fearing this, the Government’s efforts to restructure the National Pension Scheme has been provoking a great deal of hostility in political circles and civic bodies. The National Health Insurance is continues to await fundamental restoration on order to contain the health expenditure and improve the security of basic medical services, this is yet another matter for debate.



Single Parenthood, Paid Work, and Social Class in Contemporary Japan


This paper examines single parenthood in Japan from the perspective of social class. Several studies concerning single mothers conducted in other industrialized countries suggest a link between economic disadvantages of single parent families and social class. However, in Japan it is widely believed that the recent in increase in divorce rates is a result of women’s higher educational attainment and economic independence. Consequently, policies targeting single mothers have paid scant attention to improving the educational qualifications of single mothers. Yet, there is reason to suggest that educational attainment and class background are also important factors in Japan. According to a recent survey conducted by the Japan Institute of Labor (JIL), a significantly larger proportion of single parents have only junior or senior high school degrees as compared to married parents.

In the light of the above observation, this paper explores the relationship between educational attainment and employment patterns among single mothers. In general, the income levels of single mothers and their participation in the labor force are not lower than those of other women. Yet, when viewed from the perspective of educational attainment, their participation in the labor force and the level of employment as permanent employees is lower among single mothers with junior high school degrees than among single mothers with university degrees. Lack of educational qualifications, thus appears to be one of the major reasons for the limited employability and low incomes of single mothers.

Furthermore, according to the nation census, divorcees and widowed men and women tend to have a lower educational attainment than married couples. There are two potential explanations for this. First, those with lower educational attainment have a higher tendency to divorce or become widowed than couples with higher educational attainment. The other possible explanation is that it may be more difficult for those with lower educational attainment to remarry. Unfortunately, there is no available empirical data to confirm these hypotheses.

These findings have important implications for single parent policies in Japan. If there is a higher probability for a woman with lower educational attainment to become a single mother, and if lower educational attainment constrains overall income levels and the potential to work as a permanent employee, then policies need to address these gaps in educational attainment as a major barrier to work and income. The introduction of educational programs would be an important step toward preventing the reproduction of poverty and could significantly improve the life chances of single mothers and their children.



The Development of Japanese Social Policies and its Structural Characteristics

 Kingo TAMAI

Japan has a history and tradition of social policies that stretches more than a century back in time. In order to discuss the structural characteristics of its social policies, it is necessary to divide this long history into periods according to the social problems that the social policies were formulated to address in order to illuminate the dynamic movements of each period. This history can be divided into three periods. The first period spans the years from the prewar to the postwar era, the period following this era was a high-growth period, and the last period stretches from the end of the high-growth period to the present day. This first era was characterized by “unemployment” and “poverty”, while “full employment” and “social security” were the important themes in the second period.

Needless to say, the government played an important role as an executing agent of social policies but, depending on the period, municipalities also made significant contributions. Moreover, various initiatives have been taken since the prewar period by enterprises, local regions and families, and have been developed and interwoven with social policies of the government and municipalities ; these initiatives constitute an essential factor when identifying characteristics unique to Japan. This is even more so, as this structure has been maintained until recent years.

Since the interest in international comparison of welfare states in East Asia has been significantly heightened lately, outlining the history of the Japanese social policies will be highly fruitful. In this respect, there is a strong international demand for comparisons between nations based on thorough understanding of historical structures, rather than mere comparisons of various modern aspects. This paper presents characteristics unique to the Japanese welfare state from the aspect of social policies in order to meet this demand.



2005 Revision of Long-term Care Insurance:  Financial Sustainability and Integration of the Subsidy System for the Disabled

 Takafumi UZUHASHI

After I presented a report at the December 2003 meeting of the Korean Society for the Study of Social Policy, the environment surrounding Japan’s long-term care insurance system underwent a dramatic turnaround.

One of the changes that took place was that the issue of integrating the subsidy system for the disabled people, which is funded by general tax revenues, with the long-term care insurance system, which depends on insurance premiums and tax revenues for financial resources, rose to the surface. In this article, attention is paid to the fact that this development was initiated by the side of the subsidy system for the disabled. The background of this movement is examined so as to shed light on the problems of the subsidy system, and the subsequent development is followed up.

The second change was that a question regarding the economic sustainability of the long-term care insurance system surfaced during the debate concerning a revision to the system, scheduled to take place during the 2005 fiscal year.

These two issues are still in a fluid state as of this writing (early November 2004). Partly for this reason, a close follow-up is made of the development surrounding the planned long-term care insurance system revision up to the last minute so as to clarify its background and significance.

Our stance and point of view are described in detail in the concluding remark.

It first explains that the experience of the five years following the establishment of the long-term care insurance system deserves positive assessment to a large extent, but that several points have been identified as needing improvement as they relate to measures for people with low income. These are points that should be given serious consideration in the discussion about the planned integration of the insurance system with the subsidy system for the disabled. As for the issue of economic sustainability, that fact that there is no need for pessimism is indicated, based on international comparison.


Vol. 14 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)


HOME > PUBLICATIONS > Early Journals > The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi) (1999-2007)

Demographic and Socioeconomic Backgrounds of Below-Replacement Fertility in Japan

Noriko TSUYA

This paper examines the demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds of below-replacement fertility in Japan.  As in many industrialized countries, Japan has experienced two fertility transitions: the first, an initial decline from historical highs to replacement levels of fertility shortly after World WarⅡ; and the second, a decline to below-replacement levels since the mid -1970s. The decline to below-replacement levels is due primarily to decreasing rates of marriage among young Japanese women, while marital fertility also began to decline in recent years,

Socio-demographic factors responsible for declining marriage among women are rapid increases in educational attainment, employment, and earnings as reflected by rapid improvement in the social status of women, which in turn have raised the opportunity costs for women related to marriage and family formation. The level of fertility among married women tends to be lower than their intended and desired fertility, and the gap is larger within the more recently married. One of the major factors responsible for this gap seems to be the heavy and increasing costs and pressure associated with child-rearing.

Comparisons with Western industrialized countries experiencing similar changes in the status of women in which fertility has not declined to very low levels offer important social and policy implications. Given that childbearing has remained strictly within marriage in Japan, the institutions of marriage and the family need to be more flexible and gender-equal. Labor-market and employment policies need to be more family friendly, and family policy also needs to be more extensive to help wives and couples balance their work and family responsibilities.



The Changing Relationship between Female Labor Force Participation Rates and Fertility in Developed Countries


The purpose of this paper is threefold: first, we show the relationship between female labor force participation(FLFP) and the total fertility rate (TFR) based on various statistics and data sets ; second, the statistical facts are explained theoretically and show that the key to understanding this relationship is a reconciliation between work and family; and third, we compare the work/family reconciliation policies of OECD countries and discuss the causes of the low and declining TFR in Japan.

The relationship between FLFP and the TFR is as follows.  1) Data from various countries show that there was a negative correlation between FLFP and the TFR in the 1970s, but it turned positive in the mid-1980s.  2) Time-series data show that FLFP increased and the TFR declined during the last thirty years in most OECD countries. Countries that have strong negative correlations between the changes in FLFP and the TFR are suffering from low TFR. 3) Japanese micro-date show that the probability of childbirth is negatively correlated with female employment.  The childcare-leave system and childcare centers tend to increase the probability of childbirth.  4) Japanese micro-data also show that the probability of female participation is negatively correlated with the existence of children under school age, but is positively correlated with children over seven years of age.  The supply of childcare centers increases the probability of female participation.

The household production model explains the relationship between FLFP and the TFR as follows. The substitutability between a mother’s childcare and childcare services outside the household, and also that between a mother’s childcare and a father’s childcare, are important determinants of the relationship between FLFP and the TFR. Although an increase in FLFP reduces female childcare, its effect on fertility will be minimized if childcare outside the household and male childcare compensate for the decline in female childcare. Work/family reconciliation policies increase the substitutability between female childcare and childcare services outside the household.

The above conjecture is supported by statistical facts.  1) Countries that have solid work/family reconciliation policies tend to have high FLFP rates and high TFRs. 2) In countries that have inferior work/family reconciliation policies,an increase in FLFP tend to cause a large decline of the TFR. Moreover, the index of gender empowerment is positively correlated with work/family reconciliation policy and with the TFR.  This implies that the power of women promotes work/family reconciliation policies and minimizes the negative effects of an increase in FLFP on the TRF. The lack of power women hold in Japan causes inferior work /family reconciliation policies and less childcare being devoted by husbands, which has resulted in the low TFR.



Declining Birthrate and Family Responsibility :  The Burden of Childrearing Expenses on Families

Ryoko Hattori

In analyzing Japan’s declining birthrate, one of the chief factors being discussed is childcare expenses for children of school age or older. In bearing childrearing expenses, a substantial economic burden, as well as their timing, have been pointed out. In fact, more than half of men and women aged 20 to 40-the main age group of those getting married and reading children-consider that their parental responsibilities extend until their sons or daughters graduate from a university or become working adults. In this sense, child support implies to such parents the burden of rearing expenses, which are mainly educational expenses.

According to the average level of per capita childrearing expenses derived from various surveys, such expenses may be greater than the costs of housing, depending on what kind of school is chosen. The percentage of educational expenses in total consumption increases after the end of compulsory education, reaching 26.5% when the first son or daughter enters college. This is because examinations for junior or senior high school and supplementary educational expenses, such as fees for cram schools or home tutors, are prevalent. More than half of households are stretching their domestic budget to pay educational expenses by cutting other expenses or withdrawing their savings.

The background of such an increase in educational expenses is a higher percentage of students enrolling in senior high schools, exceeding 95 % since the 1980s. In 2002, the percentage enrolling in universities reached 44.8%, and now, two-thirds of senior high school graduates enter an upper-level school, if students who enter advanced vocational schools are included. In addition, a market economy has been pursued in Japan since the 1980s, and targeting small government, the administration at that time reduced public responsibility for education. It has been revealed that one of the results of this reduction has been a heavier burden of educational expenses on the family budget.

The economic burden on parents and family members for rearing and educating children has continued to increase since the 1990s. The present burden of childrearing costs and the reality of responsibility for childrearing are widely recognized by people in Japan. As long as parents and /or family members must bear the burden of care and support for children as their family responsibility, it is assumed that both men and women will only undertake having and rearing a baby to the extent that they can perform these responsibilities. Since the1990s, the birthrate has continued to decline as a result of such considerations. To cope with the declining birthrate, everyone concerned must now consider childrearing and education as something that should be supported by society, in order to lighten the economic burden on families.



Family Policy Developments in Japan : Fertility Decline and Economic Support

Michihiko TOKORO

This paper will focus on the recent development of Japanese family policies in a comparative perspective. The rapid fertility decline has led to new policy initiatives for families and children. Childcare services expanded since the 1990s, while the reconciliation of work and family life has been addressed by these new policies. On the other hand, direct economic support of families with children has not improved and the level of support is still inadequate. A comparative analysis of the policy package including cash benefits, tax allowances, childcare services and other subsidies, which support a family with the costs of rearing children, suggests that Japanese packages were less generous than most other industrialized countries in 2001. It is also important to note that this situation has remained unchanged during the last five years, despite the importance of supporting families that has been repeatedly emphasized in domestic politics. This is in sharp contrast with policy developments in Britain, where the support packages since 1997 under the Labour government have been improving in order to tackle child poverty. The new initiatives of British family policies include the introduction of tax benefits and increasing childcare cost tax deductions.

There are some arguments for increasing the level of cash benefits to halt the fertility decline in Japan. In fact, child-related tax benefits are limited and less generous in terms of amount and provisions compared with other countries, and it is important to extend benefits and reduce the costs of rearing children. However, economic support of families should not be considered in the context of demographic policy. Japanese family policies need to pay more attention to poverty among children, particularly the issue of single-parent families, which is also spreading as a result of the rising divorce rate. As the hardships of single-mother families can become more evident in a country with a social system based on a male-breadwinner family model, this will be a major issue for Japanese social policy.

The main aim of future family policies should be supporting children, not increasing their number. It is necessary for us to respond to the wide range of issues brought by family changes, which are well beyond the scope of the fertility crisis.



Pay-for-Performance in the United States of America : Not Always Individual Performance Pay


In the United States, it is usually said that the job-based pay system is being replaced by person-based pay planes. I would like to discuss the true trend of the U.S. pay system, because many Japanese companies are attempting to implement this pay system, but they have misunderstood it.

Job-based wage plans used to be quite popular among U.S. companies, and “job” is the basis of not only the pay plan, but also the work system. A job-based pay plan is usually called a “traditional plan”. However, in the late1960s, non-traditional plans, such as skill-based pay, began to be utilized for production employees. Skill-based pay is well suited in team-based environments that require individuals to learn multiple skills.  New pay plans became widespread under the hard economic circumstances after the oil crisis. New pay plans are called by many names, for example, skill-based pay, knowledge-based pay, variable pay, alternative reward programs, and so on. There are so many ways to describe this system, but sometimes there are no differences, other than the names. HRM consultants want to sell these new payment plans, so they contrive new names.

Even though many articles in American journals often discuss non-traditional pay systems, they do not dominate the pay systems used by U.S. companies. I examined several pay system surveys. Skill- or knowledge-based pay was used by less than ten percent of companies. Group incentives, profit-sharing and gain-sharing are more popular than individual incentive plans. Non-traditional pay plans that reward individuals may destroy teamwork, therefore individual performance pay plans are avoided.

Most articles in Japanese journals miss the true trend of U.S. company pay systems. Non-traditional pay plans do not entail individual performance pay, but rather group of company performance pay. Japanese companies must be careful to understand the true U.S. trends.

The reason why non-traditional wage plans are not widespread among most companies is related to corporate strategy. Each company prefers their own strategy, and there must be some differences. For example, employees may become a company’s variable resource, but it takes time to educate and train them. As result, not all companies choose an employee-oriented strategy.



Protection of Home Teleworkers in Japan: Law and Legislation


A few million home teleworkers are working in Japan. However, they do not have laws or other legislation protecting them.

About 70.1% of these workers are women, and their incomes average less than \1,500,000 per year, according to Ministry of Labor (MOL) government statistics. On the other hand, the International Labour Organization (UN) adopted the Home Work Convention (No.177) of 1996. The National Diet of the Japanese government has not ratified that convention. Furthermore, the MOL is currently not taking any action for ratification.  The MOL has only issued guidelines for improving conditions of home teleworkers in Japan. The guidelines have seven provisions, however none carry any penalty for non-compliance.

Japan has enacted the Industrial Home Work Law (1970). However, this law applies only to manufacturing home-workers. Home teleworkers are referred to as self- employed, however, they earn piece-rate wages. It is urgent for Japan to ratify the ILO Home Work Convention, and enact laws for the protection of home teleworkers in Japan.



Evaluation of Welfare Allowances as Anti-Economic Measures : The Case of Osaka


This study focused on the anti-economic measures of the Osaka welfare allowance program and calculated its effect and influence on the local economy. Using the example of Osaka, I performed calculations with concrete data of Osaka.

As a result, I determined that in 2003, the welfare allowance of 206.0 billion yen finally caused demand increase in the local economy of 345.3 billion yen. On the other hand, a reduction of income taxes only had an economic influence of 241.7 billion yen, and also, public construction spending was only 337.3 billion yen. Therefore, welfare allowances are understood to be a superior policy for stimulating the economy. Furthermore, when calculating the effect upon creating employment, only 25,474 employment positions were created by public constructing spending, and 19,560 employment positions were created by a reduction of income taxes, whereas the welfare allowance program created 27,685 employment positions.



The Division of Labor on Assembly Shop Floors in Japanese Automobile and Electrical/Electronic Equipment Industries

Uichi ASAO, Yutaka TAMURA and Eishi FUJITA

This paper discusses the characteristics of the division of labor on assembly shop floors in Japanese automobile and electrical/electronic equipment industries using international comparisons. Our hypothesis is that assembly work is comprised of standardized operations (repetitive routine tasks) and non-standardized operations (dealing with changes and problems, improvement activities, preparing standard operation sheets, suggestions for the development of new products, and so on). As standardized operations become more functionally complete and include the entire work process, assembly workers will take charge of more non-standardized operations.

To prove this hypothesis, we analyzed the characteristics of the division of labor on three assembly shop floors : the parallel product flow system of Volvo Uddevalla plant, the complete processes of Toyota’s assembly shops, and the cell production system of the “N” Company that produces computer peripheral devices. As a result, we reached the following temporary conclusions.

Firstly, the characteristics of the division of labor in the above three cases is to restrain excessive fragmentation of standardized operations, which was characteristic of the prototype Ford and Toyota production systems before introduction of the complete process, i.e., to recover the functional completeness and wholeness of the process. Secondly, there is a great difference in the degree that the standardized operation recovers the functional completeness and wholeness. The difference varies according to the length of cycle time of the standardized operation, and reveals two types of divisions in the non-standardized operation. One type occurs if separate workers take charge of the standardized operation and the non-standardized operation, respectively, when the standardized operation of one assembly worker or one work group is part of assembling the whole product and is performed in a very short cycle time. The other type is if an assembly worker or work group takes charge of the more non-standardized operation when the standardized operation of one assembly worker or one work group is assembling the whole product, and is performed in a long cycle time.



Pension Reform in 2004: Birth of Welfare Politics?


An Upper House election was conducted in Japan in 2004. Although the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) managed to maintain the power, the election resulted in a defeat for the LDP. One of the causes of the defeat was the pension reform of the same year. This paper aims to look into the background of this pension reform.

In the time of the proto-welfare state, the coverage of the Japanese public pension system gradually widened, and a state of universal pension coverage was reached in 1961. After that point, The Japanese public pension system consistently continued to expand in terms of the benefit level as well and a dramatic improvement was implemented in1973. From a social expenditure point of view, this year marked the beginning of formation of the Japanese welfare state. 1973, however, was also the year of the first major oil crisis and the year when the period of “welfare state crisis” started on a global scale. For this reason, the consistent theme of the pension reforms that have been promoted in Japan in 1985 and onward has been retrenchment.

The public pension system is supported by substructures that can be categorized into the fields of [1] population composition, [2] production field and [3] reproduction field. The Japanese pensions originally assumed [1] a pyramid-shaped population composition, [2] stable employment and [3] division of labor based on gender ; however, these assumptions went through a complete collapse in the 1990s due to [1] a rapidly dropping birth rate, [2] flexible employment and [3] degenderization. This also forms a part of the background of the pention reform of this time.

The pension reform in 2004 mainly attempted to adapt the system to the changes in the population composition and an indexation linked to the population composition was introduced. However, sufficient countermeasures against more flexible employment and degenderization were not taken, and remain as future challenges.



Work Management of Contract Labor at Production Sites

 Kensaku TOMURO

Today, within the Japanese manufacturing industry, the use of contract labor is increasing at factories. There is a wide scope of work that contract laborers are performing.

Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to resolve how to conduct work management of contract laborers at a production site, based on my participant observations over 105 days. During this time, I noticed that contract laborers working outside of production lines play an important role in work management, so I have proposed one characteristic of work management through the analysis of their work.

I investigated the NMCP manufacturing company, a subcontractor of the large electric company, Nanboku. NMCP manufactures portable telephone sets.

This paper proposes a resolution for the following points.

(1) Work management of contract laborers is performed not by contract companies, but by NMCP that places orders with contracting companies. The contracting companies perform only the personnel management of their contract laborers.

(2) Contract laborers are working both within and apart from production lines at the work sites of NMCP. Working within lines is more prevalent than working apart. Workers away from production lines mainly perform the following tasks :

       a) guide and assist contract laborers in lines in all processes ;

       b) decide the position of contract laborers in lines ; and

       c) supervise contract laborers in lines.

In short, contract laborers apart from production lines shoulder the direct work management of contract laborers within lines, and contribute to maintaining order in production sites employing contract labor.

(3) Because NMCP relegated personnel management to contract companies and left the direct work management to contract laborers apart from lines, NMCP achieved almost hands-free management of contract laborers. In this way, NMCP only needs to order additional contract laborers to work apart from production lines, and NMCP can then utilize a large number of workers in an inexpensive labor force that NMCP is not responsible for employing.

(4) However, contract laborers apart from production lines receive as much pay as contract laborers working within lines, and are not employees of NMCP. I discovered friction occurring between contract laborers apart from lines and the contract laborers within lines. Work management of contract labor creates a heavy burden for contract laborers working apart from production lines.

Vol. 15 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)


HOME > PUBLICATIONS > Early Journals > The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi) (1999-2007)

From Peasant Time to Company Time : Work-Life Patterns in the Japanese Past


According to standard economic theory, a rise in family income is typically followed by an increased demand for leisure and a reduced supply of labour for paid work. In reality, however, this was not always the case in many countries. This paper examines both quantitative and non-quantitative evidence to determine what actually happened to work and private life in Japan’s relatively recent history (from the Tokugawa era to the present). The paper proposes that the entire process be viewed as a transition from “peasant time” to “company time”.

This may sound similar to E.P. Thompson’s thesis, but there are several different points. First, Tokugawa peasant families were less task-oriented than the preindustrial workers described by Thompson. For the Tokugawa peasant, planning over an entire farming season and the intra-household coordination of work time were of prime importance. This must have imparted a sense of the value of time. Secondly, the factory was therefore not where time discipline was first imposed. What separated a modern regime of “company time” from that of “peasant time” was not necessarily the use of clock time but the emergence of a sense that “time belonged to the firm,” rather than to individual families. Thirdly, however, even this sense of “company time” can be traced back to merchant houses in the Tokugawa period. Not surprisingly, there was an underlying tendency to consequently increase working hours throughout these time regimes. Only government legislation and external pressure apparently arrested the process of increasing the hours of work.

Since the 1920s there have been significant structural changes to the workforce and related work-life patterns. For instance, there are now more white-collar workers and fewer self-employed. However, a comparison of the time devoted to work between the pre-and post-World WarⅡperiods reveals that the average hours actually worked by men were not reduced among all occupational groups. While the average work time for blue-collar workers was clearly reduced (thus reflecting the impact of postwar labour legislation), the work hours of white-collar workers did not decrease. The balance between work and private life also changed for women. With the rise of “breadwinner” families, married women initially spent many more hours devoted to childcare and housekeeping. Yet, the postwar decline in family size and the diffusion of home appliances enabled women to seek work outside the home. Given the emergence of double-income families, the workload on married women once again increased with little time left for leisurely activities. Consequently, the total hours worked by women at home and outside the household have exceeded the total work hours of their husbands, thus reflecting a pattern that ironically resembles the traditional work pattern of “peasant time”.



Allocation Structure of Gainful Work Time and Time Use from a Gender Perspective:  A Study of the Japanese Situation Using Statistical Data


This paper uses official statistical data to examine the allocation of gainful work time and time use from the perspective of gender. It is based on gender-disaggregated data and gainful work time data by type of employment, and time use data by wife and husband, which reflect gender relations better than when based on data by gender.

For gainful work time, (i) quantitative aspects of work done by employees including estimated unpaid overtime work hours are observed and (ii) characteristics of employees working long hours are investigated through microdata [JP1]. The major findings from (i) show that hours differ significantly among industries, and that men always work longer than women. Work hours tend to be longer in the in the wholesale and retail trade industries, at eating and drinking establishments, and in financing and insurance firms. The major findings from (ii) show that workers tend to work much longer than average when their occupations combine certain characteristics of (a) the wholesale and retail trade industries, eating and drinking establishments, sales or service sectors, and (b) the transport and communications industries.

Time allocation, especially for married couples with one or more children, is analyzed using data obtained from a 2001 Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activity conducted by the Statistics Bureau. The findings reveal that husbands worked an average of 9 hours, 14 minutes per weekday, while only about one-tenth participated in household-related work, and that wives devoted many hours to both gainful employment and household-related work.

This paper also discusses an international comparison of gainful work time and time use. It was found that male Japanese workers spent many more hours devoted to gainful employment than the males of other countries, and that Japan showed the largest gender gap in terms of time spent on household-related work and that devoted to leisurely activities.

In conclusion, full-time Japanese male workers work too long, with the resultant negative impact on the work-life balance for male and female workers being confirmed and emphasized. Given the growing number of dual-income couples, there is an urgent need to reduce the gainful work hours for male workers in order to realize a more equitable work-life balance for both men and women in Japan.



Work time and private time under the EU labour law policy: Implications for Japan


Since the EEC was established in 1958, a European law policy on work time has been developed to reflect a growing awareness of current social issues, such as social dumping, the sharing of work, health and safety in the workplace, and reconciliation between work time and family life. Since the 1990s, business-friendly flexibility in terms of work time has been stressed and the easing of work time regulations pursued.

Conversely, family-friendly flexibility regarding work time has become an urgent need.

Thus, ‘flexibility’ has become a keyword with a double meaning. A new perspective on organizing time over work life is now emerging. Traditional labour law policy based on a model of full-time male workers is being compelled to change in order to account for the growing numbers of women joining the workforce and part-time workers.



For a Feasible Work Time Policy in Japan

                                                             Norio HISAMOTO

Legislation governing work hours is rather strict in Japan when considered from a legal standpoint. In fact, however, overtime as an exception in law is a daily phenomenon in the Japanese labor world. Many people work overtime and come home late on a regular basis. This situation has a serious impact on family life. Therefore, this paper proposes a feasible work time policy in the modern Japanese context.

Initially discussed are the meaning and purpose of “work”. Employees not only work for money, but also for a sense of personal identity and career development. No one wants to do meaningless work. Thus, a work time policy must be discussed from this perspective.

Four proposed measures to maintain appropriate work time are as follows:

(1)  Monitoring companies more closely. A fair labor market cannot be maintained when certain companies earn profits illegally at the expense of law-abiding companies. Therefore, the functions of the Labor Standards Supervision Office must be expanded and strengthened.

(2)  Establishing fair overtime pay. When viewed from the labor cost per time, overtime work is economical for employers. This situation gives companies a strong incentive to pursue overtime work. Therefore, the Labor Standards Law should be revised immediately to address this problem.

(3)  Applying work hour regulations according to wage level. The exemption of work hour regulations is currently at the discretion of management. The position of “manager” is often abused in avoiding application of the law. Consequently, it may be necessary to consider a regulation based on wage level.

(4)  Diversifying the Sei-shain (full-time employee) position. In the history of Japanese industrial relations, labor unions had long demanded that employers give union numbers the employment position known as Sei-shain.

 This demand was finally met after World WarⅡ. Nowadays, Sei-shain often means a full commitment to the company and long work hours. We need new and diverse definitions of Sei-shain status in order to achieve a better balance between work time and personal life.

The most important point is to give companies an incentive to reduce work hours.



Enactment and revision of domestic violence-related laws, and our task ahead in victim support

  Eriko HARADA

A law prohibiting domestic violence (known as the Law for the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims) was enacted in October 2001, in line with an international movement demanding the protection of women against violence. After being partially revised in May 2004, this law became fully effective in December 2005.

Through the enactment and partial revision of this law as stated above, the support system for victims of domestic violence victims has significantly expanded. In particular, the police have shown a changed attitude, as evidence by the large increase in the number of arrests on charges of assault and other violent behavior.  Still, because the domestic violence law focuses on the protection of victims, victimized women and children are encouraged to leave the place where the abuser resides, even though few resources are available for these women to become truly independent, which is only possible by securing stable employment and a safe residence. Unfortunately, available support systems remain inadequate for victimized women and children who are often isolated within their community.

As the decentralization of government functions to local jurisdiction continues, each local government must address this independently, but none has yet to devise any new and viable policy. To completely eliminate as well as prevent any further occurrence of domestic violence, what is needed is not just securing a safe place for victimized women and children, but correcting the economic imbalance that exists between women and men in society, and establishing the civil rights of such minorities as foreigners, disabled people, and senior citizens within the community.



Comprehensive Research on Metropolis of Tokyo Policies toward People with Disabilities: Post-Graduation Career Options, Employment, and Social Welfare


The ratio of people with disabilities employed by corporations in Tokyo is not only far below the ratio mandated by law, but is also the worst among all 47 prefectures of Japan. Even a quick glance at this employment ratio is sufficient to realize that the work environment for people with disabilities in Tokyo must be very severe.

This paper first describes the situation regarding career opportunities in Tokyo for students graduating from schools for disabled children. As evidenced by these meager opportunities, few graduates succeed in finding work with corporations, and many find employment in vocational aid centers (where social welfare is provided).  Of these (vocational) aid centers, the most common are workshops for disabled persons.  Given these facts, the severe employment situation that they face is made very clear. The author explains how increasingly difficult it is to be hired by a corporation, how part-time employment is growing, how work hours are being reduced, and how people are employment is growing, how work hours are being reduced, and how people are working for lower wages.

This paper then gives an overview of the employment and social welfare support policies in Tokyo. The overview describes how Tokyo’s original employment promotion policies effectively aid the employment of disabled people, along with several problems being cited. Then the assertion is made that revised financial aid for these workshops for disabled persons is limiting the establishment of such workshops, and causing problems regarding how to secure careers for the growing number of graduates from schools for disabled children.

The income levels of disabled persons are extremely low, thus forcing them into financially difficult living conditions. The newly proposed national legislation runs the risk of limiting the use of workshops for disabled persons, and possibly causing an even bigger problem of reversing recent gains in the recognition of labor rights for disabled people.  Briefly looking at industry’s response to the employment of disabled people, Japan’s 1.8% legally mandated hiring ratio is significantly lower than the ratio enforced in countries like Germany and France. Regardless, at least 70% of companies in Tokyo fail to comply with the legally mandated hiring level. Tokyo is also encouraging the private sector outsourcing of facilities for disabled persons, but by worsening the work conditions of the workers, the lives and living conditions of disabled persons become even more vulnerable. The author provides a comprehensive analysis of Tokyo’s agenda for people with disabilities by raising the problems posed by Tokyo’s lifestyle support policies, policies for people with severe mental disorders, and other policies. In doing so, consideration is given to specific policies that local governments should pursue and how to stabilize an economic or social foothold for people with disabilities in order for them to earn a living.



Rationalization and the Situation of Workers in the Subcontractors of “New” iron and steel works

Shin’ichi UEHARA

In the 1990s, major Japanese iron and steel companies were forced to conduct large-scale rationalization due to declining steel material prices in the wake of ongoing globalization. A large proportion of workers in Japanese iron and steel industry are employed by subcontractors. Although these workers work in major steelworks, they are actually employed by another company that conducts continuous business with the steelmaker. These workers are known as Shagai-ko.

Shagai-ko previously handled simple, stained parts in the iron and steel production process. Now they work mainly with down stream of steel-making process, especially around the rolling mill. This paper clarifies the following three points :

First, the role of Shagai-ko has become more important quantitatively, but has changed little in terms of quality.

Secondly, their working environment and work conditions have not improved.

Thirdly, as more Shagai-ko are being brought into the steelworks, more rationalization is taking place within the subcontractors themselves, just like the steel companies. Consequently, more subcontractors are being formed and downsized by forcing fewer workers to do plural tasks. Given this rationalization, the gap between wages and working hours among subcontractors is widening.



A brief survey of studies on Japanese labor problems from 1945 to 1960


[1945-49] With Japan’s defeat in World WarⅡon August 15, 1945, Japanese capitalism entered the greatest period of economic and social crisis in its history. The production infrastructure of Japanese capitalism totally collapsed. Under such circumstances, labor organizations in the steel, chemical, electric machinery, and coal-mining industries became engaged in “the struggle to control production”.

It was then that Prof. Kazuo Ohkouchi of the University of Tokyo insisted that labor organizations should focus efforts on reconstructing the production infrastructure.

Shoujirou Ujihara, then a young assistant researcher at the university, argued that “the struggle to control production” was an attempt by workers so seize control of industry, and part of a social revolution. Mr. Yasoji Kazahaya, who had been banished from academia during the war, criticized the contention made by Prof. Ohkouchi as being similar to the organization of factories by the Nazis.

[1950] The Japanese Academy for Social Policy was reorganized in 1950. At that time, the period of postwar crisis had passed and the radical movement by militant workers had been crushed. Prof. Ohkouchi, Prof. Eitarou Hattori of the University of Tohoku, and Associate Prof. Eitarou Kishimoto of the University of Kyoto then engaged in discussions about the essence of social policy. However, these discussions were not nearly as important as those on “the struggle to control production”.

[1950-54] After Japanese capitalism rebounded in the early 1950s, Prof. Ohkouchi wrote about the “enterprise unions” in Japan that were organized on the basis of each enterprise. This was “the organization theory” of “enterprise unions”. Moreover, Prof. Ohkouchi insisted that this type of Japanese labor organization had been based on dekasegi workers (rural workers attracted to industrial urban centers in Japan), who had maintained economic relations with their paternal farming families. However, he had no evidence of such dekasegi workers. The data obtained from research conducted under the leadership of prof. Ohkouchi in 1953, involving about 9800 male workers belonging to large-scale heavy industries in the Tokyo-Yokohama industrial belt, showed that 68% of the workers had maintained no economic relationship with their paternal families (including paternal farming families).

[1955~] After 1955, the Japanese ecnomy rapidly expanded. Moreover, under the “shunto” spring wage negotiation system, wages were subsequently determined through collective bargaining. At that time, Prof. Shoujirou Ujihara of the University of Tokyo insisted on “the function theory” of Japanese “enterprise unions” in countering “the organization theory” stated by Prof. Ohkouchi. Moreover, the theory presented by Prof. Ujihara remained influential until the oil crisis in 1973.



Transformation of the perspective of labor research from the 1950 to the 1970s


In the 1950s, mainstream labor studies reflected a very pessimistic view about the developing trade union movement as a means of reform. Japanese society was still considered mired in a feudalistic mold whereby workers under feudalistic bondage had no independent will or ability to organize themselves into an influential socioeconomic power.

Conversely, a new perspective of labor studies evolved in the early 1960s, with great expectations for the role of organized labor in modernizing Japanese society and improving the living conditions of the working class. This new approach was based on a firm belief in the market economy and considered the Japanese working class mature enough to behave rationally and wisely in the market through trade and labor unions, thus improving their socioeconomic status in society. These expectations were apparently realized through the favorable economic environment for workers resulting from Japan’s unprecedented economic growth in the 1960s. Thus, organized labor expanded enormously during this period and their active strategy to increase wages was largely successful.

However, as the oil shocks of the mid-1970s seriously affected the global economy, organized labor in Japan changed its course and tried to protect employers by supporting corporate strategies for survival, even at the expense of union members. Many trade and labor unions voluntarily curtailed their demands for wage increases. The more serious issue facing labor was redundancy and how to reduce the workforce. This issue, however, did not develop into a highly social one that should have been widely discussed because labor leaders and management successfully cooperated in confining the problem to within the scope of individual company-level negotiations.

The victims of the resultant ‘restructuring’ were scattered throughout society and isolated, and thus could not collectively achieve recognition of their problem as a serious social issue.

Moreover, mainstream labor studies failed to address the problem of job security, as an important social issue, given the naive belief in and false perception of organized labor that were maintained until the late 1970s and in the 1980s. From the present standpoint, this narrow-sighted perspective reflected in labor studies during this period is fairly clear. To raise the issue of job security in labor studies, it became absolutely necessary to consider a new perspective that could no longer afford to overlook diversified labor-social movements that have developed since the 1980s, thus making a clear contrast with the declining power of organized labor and focusing on topics of study by closing monitoring such movements.



British Social Policy under the Blair Governments

 Michael HILL

This article first discusses the way the Labor Government led by Tony Blair since 1997 have tried to position themselves in a ‘third way’ relative to the traditional Left/Right argument. It is argued that whilst the rhetoric of the Government has suggested that it is engaged in a reversal of Conservative policies, the reality has been relatively little reorientation of social policy in the direction of greater generosity or greater equality. Any claim that the Blair government is engaged in a ‘new’ approach to social policy needs to be seen against the background of international comparisons in which the UK can still be identified as having a ‘liberal’ social policy regime.

The article then examines four aspects of Labour’s social policy in more detail: the social security and employment measures, pensions policy, health policy and adult social care policy.

In the field of social security the Government proclaimed ‘we will be the party of welfare reform’ but the combination of the commitment to a stable public expenditure programme and the tendency of social security costs to rise regardless of policy change has limited their room for manoeuvre. It has seen the solution of that dilemma in increased employment. In a context of favourable economic developments it has developed measures to support low paid work through tax credits and to stimulate labour market participation.

The Government has added to the complexities of the UK pensions system by encouraging higher dependence on the private market for the well off and increasing means tested support for the poor. The article argues that this is generating long-term problems for the system for which solutions are still being sought.

The National Health Service has been substantial injections of cash. This has led to improvements. Controversially the government has also continued the search initiated by the Conservatives to involve private partners in health care.

The main problems for adult social care are that the statutory element is still quite low relative to need and means tests force many to contribute substantial sums towards their costs. The issue has been further highlighted by the fact that whereas, in the past, many highly dependant elderly people occupied free beds in NHS hospitals, they are now expected instead to seek ‘care in the community’ to which these charging rules apply. These problems have not been solved, recommendations from a Royal Commission on the way forward were largely rejected on cost grounds.

It is thus concluded that overall the approach of the Blair Government has been a pragmatic one, institutional changes aiming to achieve a better service without any significant rise in public expenditure. Hence it makes little sense to describe this sequence of incremental system changes as a shift to a ‘third way’.



Tracing the Bargaining Process of the Child-care Leave Contract Concluded by the Japan Telecommunications Workers’ Union : “Family Responsibilities” and Women’s Labor in the 1960s


There has been much discussion regarding the measures required to disseminate child -care leave or family leave in the workplace, and correct gender disparities found in its application. However, “corporate climate,” which has been pointed out as a barrier to said objectives, has not been analyzed with sufficient attention given to the dynamics that constitute it in the workplace. More importantly, it is a fact that the multi-layered gender issue that is both institutionally and historically embedded in child-care leave in Japan has yet to be scrutinized.

This paper describes the bargaining process of the child-care leave contract negotiated by the Japan Telecommunications Workers’ Union (in 1965), representing the initial case of child-care leave in Japan. This momentous case has not been studied independently, even though it is referred to as the pioneering work-family challenge. Thus, with little known about its actual process, the background of this contract is perceived simply as a response to the needs of working women who numbers rapidly increased in 1960s. This perception is based only on the domestic gender division of labor.

With the main focus being on the forepart of the process or earlier discussions within the union, and with attention given to the gender dynamics among members of the workplace, this paper presents the following arguments. First, the concept and design of policy were devised from the idea of job security for telephone operators as a measure taken by the labor side to counter restructuring and technological innovations.

Secondly, what constituted “family responsibilities “ arose from motherhood ideology based on the modern family model that proliferated in the 1960s. Accordingly, the issue of leave itself has developed to include gender constrains within its application.



Migrant workers and domestic and care work in Italy : Trends after the Bossi-Fini Law in 2002


This paper suggests that the important factors in considering the feminization of domestic care service in Italy due to the cultural, political, and economic aspects of certain East European and Balkan countries.

In Italy, the growing numbers of irregular migrants and the labor market for such people have posed serious problems, especially since the late 1980s. After the mid-1990s, however, only a few researchers have pointed out the significant increase in irregular migrant workers performing domestic and care work since the true state of affairs regarding irregular or illegal migrant workers had not been visible from formal statistics.

In 2002, the Bossi-Fini Law that was mainly intended to restrict illegal migration by approved by the government (no.189 enacted on 30 July 2002). This law specifically establishes the fifth regularization program for illegal migrants. About 700,000 applications were received under this regularization program, although only 150,000 illegal migrants were identified that same year. Of these applications, 341,100 were from domestic and care workers, and 361,000 from other wage earners. This program has regularized more than 630,000 illegal migrants, with 43.5% coming from three East European and Balkan countries (Rumania, Ukraine, and Albania).

After this regularization program was implemented, there has been a trend toward “Feminization” and “Ethnicization” in the Italian labor market. Regarding domestic and care migrant workers in Italy, it can be said that the ethnicization caused by the enormous influx of illegal female migrant workers from East European and Balkan countries has also had a significant impact on the feminization of domestic care services.



The Changing Situation of Shopping Districts in Tokyo and the Targets of Industrial Promotion Policies : From a Survey on Actual Conditions of the Self-employed at Work and in Life

Yoshimitsu MIYADERA

This paper is intended to (1) survey certain aspects of shopping districts and the working and living conditions of self-employed workers in Tokyo, and (2) examine the effects of industrial policies instituted by the Tokyo metropolitan government during Governor Ishihara’s terms of office.

Historically, shopping districts have offered people not only a commercial marketplace but also an area where they can establish personal and social relationships. Although 20 percent of the nation’s total shopping districts are concentrated in the Tokyo area, the number has declined and the situation involving these districts has deteriorated in recent years.

The change is considered to be caused by (1) a reduced number of shopping districts, (2) a growing proportion of stores being closed, and (3) the recent predominance of restaurants and chain stores within former commercial districts.

The decline in shopping districts results from the decreasing numbers of self-employed and family business workers. They have faced such a difficult situation that they are being “forced” to work as employees, and not as self-employed, in order to earn a living.

The causes of this transition are thought to be (1) stagnant domestic consumption, and (2) recent business deregulation, such as the abolishment of the Large-Scale Retail Store Law (‘Daiten-Ho’). These factors also place workers in an economically vulnerable position.

The survey shows that self-employed in these areas are trying to cope with the hardships by discounting prices for commodities and expanding their hours of business. Consequently, they now have less time and energy for maintaining and reviving the traditional function that old Tokyo commercial districts had played for such a long time.

Meanwhile, the industrial policies instituted by the Tokyo metropolitan government might not be considered to achieve the goals actually expected by small-scale urban merchants. This failure is due to (1) the differential treatment of districts based on sales output, (2) an ineffective loan policy, and (3) a lack of social security for the self-employed. The combination of these factors results in a regrettable situation that deprives people of the non-business-related, personal enjoyment that old Tokyo shopping districts once provided.