Japan Data

Number of Union Members in Japan Dips Below 10 Million for First Time in Five years

Society Economy

The 2022 Basic Survey of Labor Unions recently released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare shows that there were just under 10 million labor union members for the first time in five years.

As of June 30, 2022, there were 9,992,000 labor union members in Japan. The percentage of employees belonging to labor unions in Japan fell by 0.4 percentage points year on year to an estimated 16.5%. The ratio of such organized workers had risen at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but declined year on year in both 2021 and 2022. The current percentage is the lowest since 1947, when statistics were first compiled.

The number of women in labor unions was 3,471,000, an increase of 2,000 (0.0%) over the previous year. The ratio of female trade union members to overall employees was 12.5%, which is 0.3 percentage points lower than in the previous year.

The overall number of employees in Japan, including both regular and nonregular employees, increased by 680,000 (1.1%) year on year to 60.5 million, whereas the number of union members decreased by 86,000 (0.8%). Among union members, the number of part-time workers increased by 41,000 (3.0%) to 1,404,000.

Workers and Labor Union Members in Japan

The number of part-time workers belonging to labor unions reached a record high in 2022. The ratio of part-timers to the total labor union membership rose year on year by 0.5 percentage points to 14.1%. The ratio of labor-union members in the part-time sector remained almost unchanged at 8.5%. The number of labor unions decreased by 346 to 23,046.

Part-Time Workers and Labor Union Members in Japan

The manufacturing sector accounted for the largest number of union members, at 2,645,000 or 26% of the total, followed by the wholesale and retail sector at 1,534,000, transportation and postal services at 829,000, and construction at 837,000.

The largest labor union, including affiliated with local organizations is the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengō), with 6,952,000 members (year-on-year decrease of 39,000); followed by the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenrōren) with 702,000 members (decrease of 22,000), and the National Trade Union Council (Zenrōkyō) with 93,000 members (decrease of 4,000).

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Tokyo’s main May Day event held for the first time in three years at Shibuya, Tokyo, on April 29, 2022. © Jiji.)

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