The death of lifelong employment in Japan?

Leon Wolff*

*Corresponding author for this work

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Lifelong employment in Japan is more trope than literal fact. As a synecdoche, it encapsulates Japan's system of industrial relations. As a metonym, it epitomises the employee-oriented communitarian firm (Abe and Shimizutani, 2007, p.347). As a metaphor, it represents Japan's distinctive form of stakeholder capitalism (Dore, 1993). Yet none of these tropes holds as a truth. Lifelong employment does not signify the dominant form of employment in Japan. It does not privilege employees' interests over business concerns. And it does not constitute a benign, kinder form of capitalism compared with the market-based model.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCorporate Governance in the 21st Century: Japan's Gradual Transformation
EditorsLuke Nottage, Leon Wolff, Kent Anderson
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781847209238
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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