Amid an Acute Labor Shortage, Japan’s Workers Endure Longer Hours, Less Protection

A Japanese businessman walks past an advertisement of a Japanese suit retailer in Tokyo, March 19, 2014 (AP photo by Eugene Hoshiko).
A Japanese businessman walks past an advertisement of a Japanese suit retailer in Tokyo, March 19, 2014 (AP photo by Eugene Hoshiko).
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Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about workers’ rights in various countries around the world. With an aging population and an extremely low birthrate, Japan is facing its most acute labor shortage in more than 40 years. But it has also come to rely increasingly on a “nonregular” labor force, such as part-time and temporary workers from staffing agencies, who are easier to hire and fire and paid less. This has meant poorer working conditions for most Japanese workers, including for full-time employees who are working longer hours. In an email interview, Hiro Watanabe, a […]

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