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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

The Japanese Employment System in Transition

August 27, 1997

Jochen Legewie

The end of the bubble economy has exposed a number of structural problems affecting the Japanese employment system. The rapid aging of the work force, growing competitive pressures from foreign market participants exacerbated by major currency revaluations, and technologically-induced changes of the workplace and the organization of industrial activities compel firms across all industries to rethink their strategic human resource management and to improve their labor-related cost structures. With the onset of the recession of the early 1990s, a major public debate on these and related issues has started. Although the outcome of this reorientation will probably not be known before the end of the decade, important changes across all sectors of the labor economy are already visible. The workshop discussed this adaptation process under differnet – functional, sectoral and institutional – perspectives.