Japan: Labor Think Tank Says Shorter Work Hours Can Create 4.53 Million Jobs

The Labor Movement Research Institute (Rodo Soken) of Japan says that the strict application of labor laws and regulations and the shortening of work hours would create 4.53 million jobs.

Rodo Soken, which has close working relations with the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), earlier estimated that 2.7 million jobs would be created by simply eliminating unpaid overtime and encouraging workers to use all their paid holidays.

If Japan established a 38-hour workweek, as in Europe, additional 1.8 million jobs would be created, which would be feasible if just 4.11 percent of 403 trillion yen, which corporations had amassed in their internal reserves (as of the end of 2007), were used.

Rodo Soken also calls for the prevention of mass layoffs by forcing corporations to use their internal reserves. It says that corporations should offer full-time positions to all temporary workers after three years of service.

The labor think tank also calls on the national and local governments to compel companies to comply with the existing laws and regulations, to provide full-time positions to the public-sector contingent workers, and to enact a law on public contracts that will ensure living wages.

Rodo Soken stresses that a fundamental revision of the Temporary Staffing Services Law (労働者派遣法) and a raise in the minimum wage are essential to securing stable employment. It is also necessary to improve the unemployment insurance system and the public safety net and to establish a public project for the relief of the unemployed.

This article was published by Akahata on 7 March 2009. See, also, the full text of Rodo Soken’s  proposal: “解雇規制と失業保障、雇用創出のための 緊急提言” (Emergency Proposal for Regulation of Layoffs, Unemployment Insurance, and Job Creation), 5 March 2009.