20.11.2020 - 11:23:59
Lunch Seminar by Jun Imai (Online Seminar)
Japanese Economy and Society Diversification as Stratification. Work-Style Reform and its Consequences on Inequality in Japan | Fri, Nov. 20, 2020, 12.30–14 h JST = 4.30–6 h a.m. MEZ (!)
Invitation by the French Research Institute on Japan (IFRJ) at Maison Franco-Japonaise (MFJ), Tokyo.
Jun Imai is Professor at Department of Sociology, Sophia University, Tokyo. From 2006 until 2009 he was Postdoctoral Researcher at the IN-EAST.
The standard employment centrism shapes the direction of stratification in Japan. In this presentation, I will pick up the recent developments of labor management in Japan including work-style reform. Diversification of work-style is one of the major initiatives of the reform, which is supposed to narrow the gap between regular and non-regular employment as well as to allow workers to work more flexibly in order to solve the problems of work-life balance. Under such circumstances, Japanese companies began to segment regular employment into various types of “restricted” regular workers (gentei seishain), in much the same way as they found ippanshoku and >jun-sogoshoku tracks in the 1980s and the 1990s. They are called “restricted” since they do not accept unlimited flexibilities required by employers with regard to the scope of job rotation and regional transfer and working time that core regular workers need to accept. Some regular workers change their track from core regular to restricted regular due to their, for instance, care needs at home, or non-regular workers would be hired in this career track as the revised Labor Contract Law (in effect since 2013) mandates companies to secure unlimited term contract to the non-regular workers with long-enough tenure. The establishment of these career tracks reveals that Japanese companies (and even workers) see the ability to accept flexibilities of working time, (functional and regional) mobilities within a firm as important but tacit, taken-for-granted criteria of evaluating their employees, which have been the central features of the regular employment. The fact that these new tracks are associated to inferior wages and promotion prospect means that the diversification is in fact the stratification of workers based on the extent of worker commitment to the flexibilties.
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