Transforming the Japanese labour market: Deregulation and the rise of temporary staffing

Neil M. Coe, Jennifer Johns, Kevin Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

COE N. M., JOHNS J. and WARD K. Transforming the Japanese labour market: Deregulation and the rise of temporary staffing, Regional Studies. The Japanese employment system has undergone significant structural change since the early 1990s. Widespread deregulation and industrial restructuring have increased the number of non-regular workers in Japan, including temporary or 'dispatch' workers supplied by temporary staffing agencies, who numbered some 1.6 million and 2.8% of the total working population by 2007. This paper charts the evolution of the Japanese temporary staffing industry in three stages from 1947 to the present. These phases are delimited by two important regulatory changes with respect to temporary staffing: partial legalization in 1986, and full legalization in 1999. The paper argues that a distinct Japanese temporary staffing industry has been produced through a multi-institutional field involving the interaction of a range of actors. While government deregulation has been the key shaper of the industry's emergence, other actors, including labour unions, transnational agencies, and domestic agencies, have played important roles at various times. While the growth of the industry is best interpreted as a gradual evolution of the traditional employment system, the size of temporary staffing employment - and non-regular working more generally - has now reached the stage where it has become a significant political and regulatory issue. © 2011 Regional Studies Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1106
Number of pages15
JournalRegional Studies
Volume45
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011

Keywords

  • Deregulation
  • Institutional change
  • Japan
  • Non-regular workers
  • Temporary staffing

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Transforming the Japanese labour market: Deregulation and the rise of temporary staffing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this