IBM Japan case (fired JMIU workers) makes English news.

Only in this article, it’s arguably made out that Martin Jetter was sent by International Business Machines to make certain reductions in Japan. Not, as has been said by a certain lawyer in New York, that IBM Japan is its own independent entity that coincidentally nominated a high-ranking IBM USA employee to restructure its Japan ops.

The one point the article gets wrong is that “lifetime employment” is by operation of law. There is no at will employment in Japan. It’s illegal. This is why so many casual employees are sought to be made into independent contractors. In America, which has at will employment, this goes on, too. The difference is that America clamps down on the practice because it’s looked at by the Internal Revenue Service as a means to evade payroll taxes.

Employers are always looking to re-litigate established labor law, if they can’t get their cronies in the legislature to do their bidding. What we see with the latest volley by IBM in Japan, is they want the ability to take a certain percentage of regular employees and deem them “underperforming”, and, therefore, not entitled to employment protections. This is a major rewriting of current Japanese law. It will be interesting to see how this case turns out.

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