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Contesting Precarity in JapanThe Rise of Nonregular Workers and the New Policy Dissensus$
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Saori Shibata

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749926

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749926.001.0001

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From Coordinated to Disorganized Capitalism in Japan

From Coordinated to Disorganized Capitalism in Japan

(p.21) 1 From Coordinated to Disorganized Capitalism in Japan
Contesting Precarity in Japan

Saori Shibata

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the key changes that have been witnessed in Japan's political economy throughout the postwar period. In the 1970s, Japan experienced a slowing of gross domestic product (GDP) growth, although it maintained a growth rate of over 3 percent per year until the late 1980s. Efforts to maintain a sustained level of growth during the 1980s resulted in a “bubble economy,” with asset prices rising rapidly. Deploying a regulation theory approach, the chapter shows how Japan has experienced a process of neoliberalization since its economic bubble burst in 1991, with one of the key effects being the emergence of a new and growing group of precarious nonregular workers. The coordination between firms, workers, and institutions that enabled stability in employment relations from the end of the Second World War to the 1980s has been replaced by a trend toward neoliberalization, deregulation, and a lack of coordination. Ultimately, the Japanese model of capitalism has become increasingly disorganized, resulting in heightened anxiety and insecurity among workers.

Keywords:   Japanese political economy, Japan, bubble economy, neoliberalization, Japanese nonregular workers, employment relations, Japanese capitalism

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