Japan is known as a country that prizes and exemplifies hard work. While there are significant benefits to this worth ethic, excessive work habits create problems for the country as well. Media attention to KAROSHI (death because of too much work) has helped to bring some of these challenges to the forefront of social and political discussion. Furthermore, Japan is currently the most rapidly aging country in the world, resulting in critical shortages in the workforce necessary to maintain the economy, currently the third largest in the world.
In order to provide a solution to these challenges, Japan has shifted gears to reform its work habits and to reduce working hours so that everyone—including the elderly and others who were not able to work because of the lengthy hours expectations—can enter or remain in the workforce.
The new “Work Style Reform Legislation” was passed in 2018 and makes significant revisions to Japan’s labor laws. Most of the amendments take effect in April 2019. Employers that have operations in Japan need to take immediate action to comply with the new requirements.
Author: Aki Tanaka
Image Credit: Japan Times