From Reuters last week.
For all the talk (and participation by IBM) concerning making changes to Japan’s employee-friendly labor laws, when push comes to shove, there are no material changes. The only thing that might change is that overtime would not be granted to individuals making over $100,000. Currently, the law is that any work over 40 hours is required to be paid as overtime.
Most countries do not have America’s “wild west” style of at will employment. It’s nonsense, and hardly the kind of workforce where you can have long-term committments to things like mortgages and families. This is why contingent work disappeared once the 19th century became the 20th.
The fact is, if Japan restructured away from committed employment relations, you’d have 20% unemployment there, and an even weaker economy than what has been since the early 1990s. Regular employment labor relationships boost demand. The real question is why companies still insist on trying to hoist term-limited employment in the hopes of saving money and/or disadvantaging some of the workforce. It’s obvious that fixed-term was put in there for women working outside the home, back in (even) more discriminatory times. Now, however, fixed-term makes little sense. It’s an incentive for the Japanese to begin looking for the next (more permanent) job, once the ink is dry on the fixed-term contract.