Chapter

Working Hours

in Law in Everyday Japan

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780226894027
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226894096 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226894096.003.0007
Working Hours

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This chapter examines the role of law in shaping long working hours in Japan, focusing on the role of working-hour statutes and judicially created rules regarding employee dismissal. Japanese workers work extremely long hours in part because socially supported institutions prevent worker dismissal in bad times, and because other options for buffering supply and demand in the workforce are limited. Dismissal rules provide workers with job security in many situations. Recent changes in laws governing working hours and temporary employees suggest that one of the benefits of a booming economy—reduced working hours—might be attainable by legal reform. Social norms play a powerful role, but only through careful analysis of legal institutions can the underlying relation, and potential ways of improving Japanese working life with better institutional design, be understood.

Keywords: working hours; law; socially supported institutions; rules; job security; employees

Chapter.  9573 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Law

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