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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Labor Relations in Transition: A Comparison of Japan, Germany and the United StatesDIJ History Workshop – FES Workshop Series on Labor Relations

July 14, 1997

Labor in industrialized societies, especially production labor in the manufacturing industry, is threatened to fall victim to globalization and economic restructuring. As industrial jobs are cut off or transferred into low wage countries, wages and/or employment tend to decrease. Nevertheless, the specific form and dimension in which labor’s interests are affected by globalization and restructuring is shaped by historically grown labor relations. Based on different historical experiences, in Japan, the US and Germany different patterns of representation, labor-management relations, public protection policies and corporate strategies have emerged. These different frameworks and their influence on the specific shape of the current socio-economic transformation were discussed in the workshop. A historical and comparative view on labor relations was chosen to identyfy the conditions under which labor’s interests are most effectively represented under the pressures of globalization and restructuring.


Opening Remarks

Franz Waldenberger

German Institute for Japanese Studies

Michael Ehrke, Friedrich Ebert Foundation

Day 1         July 14th (Monday)

Industrial Relations in Postwar Japan: Some Comparative Reflections

Andrew Gordon, Harvard University

Future of Labor, Future of Unions: The Situation in Germany

Horst Kern, University of Göttingen

Industrial Relations and Economic Development: The Experience of Japan after World War II

Michio Nitta, University of Tokyo