Labor Market Reform and Labor Law

Author Name KOJIMA Noriaki  (Graduate School of Law, Osaka University)
Creation Date/NO. May 2008 08-J-016
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What can companies do and what can't they do? It is essential for the nation as a whole to give calm consideration to this question once again. The Regulatory Reform Committee at the end of the last century stated that what is required of us is calm debate based on the evidence rather than emotional argument that appeals to gut feelings, and that situation remains basically unchanged to this day.

Companies that do not do the things they can do are naturally blamed, but if they are subjected to requirements that exceed their capacity that would only bring the workplace to a standstill. Even if ideals and theories held in the mind are imposed forcefully onto reality, that rarely meets with success. Looking at the issue of part-time workers and other non-regular employees alone, for companies that are unable to free themselves from the constraints of the present system and are effectively locked in to the system, the options available to them are limited.

For example, there is an approach in which regular employee status is granted to non-regular employees. Even if we assume that this thinking is generally regarded as being correct, applying it in a one-size-fits-all manner is unreasonable, and if it is necessary to do so it will ultimately end up being no better than building castles in the air unless measures such as the recognition of exceptions to the rule are put in place to act as shock absorbers or lubricants.

What can companies do and what can't they do? Thinking calmly about this question will also be the quickest route toward improving the employment conditions of the people who work in companies.