Walk with me.

I am borrowing from the Docomo campaign slogan “walk with you”, to see who out there can help me translate this bit of Japanese:

日本では、期限の定めのない契約、つまり終身雇用がより安定している。 だから、できるだけ期限のある契約はさけることを勧めたい。

Yahoo says:

“In Japan, a contract without the fate of the time limit that is lifetime employment is more stable.  Therefore the contract with the time limit wants to suggest that I am split as much as possible.”

I think it basically says that you avoid contracts with a term limit, and seek those that have no term limit. Does it anywhere imply that a signed contract MUST state “kigen no sadame no nai” in order to be without a term limit?

Please let me know.


[Update: P.S., here is more:

だから、ここでわかってもらいたいのは、”契約書にサイン”したというだけでは、期限の定めがないと書いていない限り、安定した職を手に入れたことにならないということ。日本では、期限の定めのない契約、つまり終身雇用がより安定している。 だから、できるだけ期限のある契約はさけることを勧めたい。

Still, nothing that says that a written contract must state: NO TIME LIMIT in order to be without an end date. Right?]

10 thoughts on “Walk with me.

  1. The postscript:

    “What I want you to understand is just saying ‘I signed a contract’, doesn’t mean you have acquired stable employment unless it lacks a provision for an end date. In Japan, a contract without an end date, in other words life time employment, are the most stable. Therefore, I recommend as much as possible you avoid contracts with a termination date.”

    Granted, I don’t make my living as a translator but I think that is right. Getting things back into English is a bit of a challenge.

  2. I think the key phrase is “期限の定めがないと書いていない限り、安定した職を手に入れたことにならないということ。” I translate that part of the sentence literally as:

    “…so long as it is not written (書いていない限り) that there is no term limit (期限の定めがないと), [you] will not have obtained a steady job (安定した職を手に入れたことにならない).”

    Which is completely illogical and probably not the meaning that the author intended.

    1. Joe, so I take it: which is similar to what Chuckers is saying.

      Basically, the term does not have to appear in the written contract. But the best assurance of proof is that you seek this term in one. But it doesn’t HAVE to be in it.

  3. From the fuller version:

    だから、ここでわかってもらいたいのは、”契約書にサイン”したというだけでは、期限の定めがないと書いていない限り、安定した職を手に入れたことにならないということ。日本では、期限の定めのない契約、つまり終身雇用がより安定している。 だから、できるだけ期限のある契約はさけることを勧めたい。

    So, what I would like you to understand is this: just by saying that you “signed the contract”, as long as it does not specify that there are no term limits, then you have not obtained secure employment. In Japan, contracts without a predefined term limit, in other words lifetime employment, are more stable. As such, we recommend that you to your best ability avoid time-limited contracts.

    > Does it anywhere imply that a signed contract MUST state “kigen no sadame no nai” in order to be without a term limit?

    In the fuller version, yes.

    1. This sounds a bit like the original Debito translation. The problem is where you emphasize “imply”, and what I am asking is MUST. Nowhere in the law does it say that these magic words of sorts must appear.

      Obviously, because in the unwritten contract, (which is page 78 of Debito’s book) the magic words would obviously be written in.

      I put this out to everyone to assure myself that yes, the English is not quite saying the Japanese. And either of them is not citing a particular statute (for example, one saying that if the contract is reduced to writing, the magic words must appear).

  4. Ah, double negatives!

    How about this:

    “As long as it doesn’t explicitly state that there is no termination date (for the contract), you haven’t obtained a steady job.”

    My first pass was a bit too early in the morning.

      1. After reading Joe’s interpretation, I think that the second one is actually more accurate.

        My first version is saying that the contracts needs to be have the absence of contract term period to be stable.

        The 2nd version is saying that you won’t have stable employment UNLESS your contract specifically says “no contract term period.” A very subtle difference.

        1. This is consistent with the view that the original author was saying that the best assurance of “stability” is to have it out in writing. But the Japanese obviously doesn’t say that you need the terms in a writing, like legal magic words, in order to create a sei sha’in relationship. That goes against Labor Standards Law, and even what was said in the same book on page 78, concerning unwritten contracts.

          I’d post the PDF but people should really buy the book, as it’s informative.

        2. Chuckers: I think you’ve got it, but (as Hoofin points out) that is not the way the law works. The law basically says that you are a seishain if there is no provision that your contract will expire in the future (aside from the mandatory retirement age). There is no requirement that the contract explicitly say it has an indefinite term. I think the author simply miswrote that sentence and the editor didn’t pick it up.

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