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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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Organized Labor and Social Conflict in Japan

Organized Labor and Social Conflict in Japan

(p.40) 2 Organized Labor and Social Conflict in Japan
Contesting Precarity in Japan

Saori Shibata

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes the development of the Japanese labor movement throughout the postwar period. With some exceptions, workers in Japan have been predominantly organized in unions that have had a commitment to a relatively non-confrontational approach toward industrial relations. This organization has come to be challenged in more recent years, however, since the classic model of Japanese labor relations has faced increasing strain as part of the wider changes to the Japanese model of capitalism. Alongside this historical overview of organized labor, the chapter also considers the development of other (non-labor) social movements. This includes those movements that have emerged to promote the interests of social groups whose interests overlap with those of labor but who might not immediately identify themselves as part of the labor movement, such as the homeless, unemployed, and students. The trajectory of social conflict in Japan during the past thirty years has seen a move away from the classic model of social compromise. Various types of social conflict—both inside and outside of the workplace, and involving either workers or those less typically identified with organized labor—have become increasingly common.

Keywords:   Japanese labor movement, Japanese labor relations, Japanese capitalism, organized labor, Japanese social movements, social conflict, Japan, social compromise

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