Germany and Japan have experienced rapid growth in non-standard employment and particular in part-time work in the last 30 years. Nevertheless, both countries differ considerably when it comes to important indicators of work-life balance such as working time. According to the OECD, in Japan around 22 per cent of workers have a work week of 50 hours or more, whereas in Germany this applies to less than 5 per cent. Annual average working hours in Japan stand at 1,600 hours but only at about 1,300 in Germany. Despite these differences, in both countries policies that aim at more flexible working time regimes, including measures to reduce working hours, are currently high on the political agenda.
At this DIJ Forum we ask how the differences between the two countries can be explained and to what extent current debates are comparable.
Hartmut Seifert, WSI Düsseldorf
Katsutoshi Kezuka, Chuo University