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Developments in Well-Being at Work in Japan

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Abstract

This paper discusses the evolution of well-being at work in Japan, from a historical and political perspective, in comparison with France, in particular. Several indicators reveal a deterioration of work conditions, like in many OECD countries. Still, this decline of well-being at work in Japan has led to detrimental effects, from diminishing productivity and employees’ satisfaction, up to absenteeism and, in acute cases, death at work (karōshi). By focusing on the Japanese case, the aim of the study is to fathom both the reasons for this decline and the different ways in which public authorities, as well as firms, have addressed this issue. The 1990s was a difficult period for workers who saw an increasing number of non-regular employees, which caused a decline of the average wage. Women, younger and elder workers have been particularly affected by the economic slowdown. In response to this degraded environment, successive governments have taken initiatives and built major laws to help workers to improve their work-life balance and to reduce the risk of death by overwork. Moreover, firms themselves have taken initiatives to improve workers’ well-being using working hours flexibility, developing childcare facilities and providing various fringe benefits. The enacting of the so-called “Work Style Reform” (hatarakikata kaikaku) in June 2018 may be seen as the most recent effort to tackle the situation.
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Dates and versions

halshs-01943306 , version 1 (03-12-2018)

Licence

Attribution - NonCommercial - ShareAlike - CC BY 4.0

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  • HAL Id : halshs-01943306 , version 1

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Louise Baudrand, César Castellvi, Nao Kinoshita, Adrienne Sala, Sebastien Lechevalier. Developments in Well-Being at Work in Japan: A Survey and a Comparison with France. 2018. ⟨halshs-01943306⟩
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