Non-regular employment in Japan: Continued and renewed dualities

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Previous analyses of Japanese employment practices have often focused almost exclusively on regular employment, relegating non-regular employment to a role as employment buffer. However, recent years have seen a rise in non-regular employment which requires a renewed analysis of its role and importance. This article provides such an analysis and presents two major findings. First, it argues that a renewed duality in the labour market indicates important advantages to non-regular employment, not just in terms of flexibility, as suggested by previous interpretations and dual labour market theories, but mostly in terms of costs. However, the importance of this advantage differs between industries. Second, the article discusses the consequences of this duality. It argues particularly that the duality constrains the employment opportunities for women in spite of regulatory changes to strengthen their position. The article concludes with general insights into labour market dualism. Copyright © 2008 BSA Publications Ltd®.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-425
Number of pages18
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


  • Dualism
  • Employment practices
  • Female employment
  • Japan
  • Non-regular employment
  • Part-time employment


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