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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.