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Dentsu to Face Formal Trial over Illegal Overtime (News)

Tokyo, July 12 (Jiji Press)—The Tokyo Summary Court decided Wednesday to put Dentsu Inc. on formal trial in a high-profile illegal overtime case. On July 5, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office brought a summary indictment against the Japanese advertising giant on charges of violating the labor standards law. But the court judged the prosecutors' action to only demand a fine was inappro…
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Amid Labor Shortage, Japan Inc. Looking at Four-Day Workweek (News)

Tokyo, June 11 (Jiji Press)—In the face of acute labor shortages, a number of Japanese businesses have adopted four-day workweeks and others are looking at the option in a bid to secure personnel by offering more diverse ways of work. Retailers and parcel delivery service companies are leading the way, with one company allowing workers to take second jobs to help make up for lost income. In …
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Confronting “Karōshi”: Actions to Prevent Death from OverworkKawahito Hiroshi

In response to the highly publicized suicide of a young employee at advertising giant Dentsu, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare in December 2016 released emergency guidelines aimed at preventing karōshi, or death by overwork. As the issue attracts greater official attention, Japan must examine the factors that have made excessive overtime so pervasive and consider steps to protect employees from the health risks of overwork.
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Reality Check on Work-Style Reform: Filling In the Big PictureTsuru Kōtarō

Economist Tsuru Kōtarō assesses the virtues, failings, and implications of the government’s action plan for “work-style reform” in a political and economic context and discusses the challenges that lie ahead.
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Ōita Backs Overseas Students to Revitalize Local Economy (News)

Ōita, May 25 (Jiji Press)—With its population shrinking, Ōita Prefecture has since fiscal 2016 ramped up efforts to help students from overseas who want to start businesses or work locally. The southwestern prefecture has the largest number of international students per 100,000 population and hopes they will help revitalize the region's economy, officials said. One such initiative is to offe…
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Work-Life Balance Holds the Key to Japan’s FutureKomuro Yoshie

Japan has changed fundamentally since the era of rapid economic growth, yet Japanese companies remain wedded to an obsolete workplace culture in which core employees, overwhelmingly male, are expected to work grueling hours while leaving domestic matters to their wives. Business consultant Komuro Yoshie argues for government incentives and supports to promote a work-life balance suited to Japan's rapidly aging society.
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Record 97.6% of Job-Seeking Grads in Japan Get Positions (News)

Tokyo, May 19 (Jiji Press)—The employment rate for university students who were actively seeking jobs after graduation in spring this year came to 97.6% as of April 1, hitting the highest level since the survey began in 1997, the labor and education ministries said Friday. The figure for new graduates was up 0.3 percentage point from the year-before level. The employment rate as of April 1 rose…
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New Employees in Japan Want Holidays over Pay Growth: Survey (News)

Tokyo, May 11 (Jiji Press)—New employees want more holidays and less overtime work rather than pay growth, according to a recent survey by Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co. The annual survey, taken from late March to early April, asked rookies who joined last month to choose three out of the eight prepared answers to the question of what they expect from their companies. Of the tota…
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Long Road Ahead for True Labor ReformYamada Hisashi

On March 28, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s government released a “plan of action,” approved by labor and business leaders, for labor reforms targeting long working hours and excessive wage and benefit disparities. Labor scholar Yamada Hisashi cautions that the plan, while well intentioned, omits important steps needed to ensure meaningful reform and avoid unintended consequences.
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Case Advances Against Dentsu, Branch Execs for Illegal Overtime (News)

Tokyo, April 25 (Jiji Press)—Japanese labor authorities on Tuesday sent prosecutors papers on leading advertising agency Dentsu Inc. and executives of three regional branches for allegedly forcing some employees at the branches to work illegally long hours. By forwarding the evidence gathered in investigations to date, the authorities have prepared prosecutors to file formal charges against the co…
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