Under the pressure of population ageing and globalization, Japan’s economy is in need of reform in various fields. Labor market reform is a key in order to re-allocate human resources efficiently across industries and regions for creating better employment opportunities as well as to overcome the lengthy stagnation of the economy since the early 1990s.
Against this background, the so-called Japanese-specific employment practices must be re-assessed. The recently much-discussed “disparity” between regular and non-regular workers is not attributable to the profit-seeking market principle, but to the labor market practices established during the high growth era. Major issues of labor market reforms are to be discussed.
Naohiro Yashiro is a professor of economics at the International Christian University and a member of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy of the Japanese Government. He is a co-editor of The Economic Effects of Aging in the United States and Japan, and Health Care Issues in the United States and Japan (both from the University of Chicago Press).