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  1. Group Employment Trips
  2. Spring Employment Season
  3. Hiring New Graduates
  4. Hiring New High School Graduates
  5. The Japanese Employment System
  6. Lifetime Employment
  7. The Seniority Wage System (nenkō joretsu)
  8. The Bonus System
  9. Enterprise Unions in Japan
  10. Enterprise Union Cooperation
  11. Unemployment Insurance
  12. Dual Tracks in Female Occupations: Ippan Shoku (Non-Career Track) and Sōgō Shoku (Career Track)
  13. Increase of Female Employees
  14. Female dominant occupations
  15. Post-Retirement Employment and Social Security
  16. Marriage Retirement and Retirement Ages for Men and Women
  17. Relations between Large and Small Companies
  18. Part-time Female Workers
  19. What Kinds of Work Do People Do in Japan?
  20. Freeter/ Furita: Part-Time Workers in Japan
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A man smiles while holding his paycheck.
A worker receives his first paycheck.
Photo Courtesy of SMG, Inc.
Lifetime Employment
Lifetime employment is a distinctive characteristic of Japan’s postwar labor system, although it never applied to many workers in the labor force and is now declining. This is how the system works: Large companies hire regular employees right out of school and keep them until retirement. New employees are chosen for their general potential, not because of any special skills or training. Such employees are considered the company’s human capital, to be trained, cultivated, and assigned to posts in the company’s best interest. Although there is no written contract guaranteeing lifetime employment, both employer and employee understand their mutual obligations under this system. The employee is to serve the company loyally and not try to leave for a better position. The employer will not dismiss or lay off the employee even in severe economic conditions. In addition, strong labor laws protect workers from being dismissed. This system also means that large firms train and promote their own employees to fill higher managerial positions, rather than hiring specialists or senior managers from outside the company. This system worked well during Japan’s long period of postwar economic growth with a young, energetic work force. In the 1990s, during a prolonged economic recession and with an aging workforce, the lifetime employment system has begun to break down.
Special Terms: contract

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