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Number of nonregular workers in Japan hits record high in 2017

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But why aren't young people shopping or getting married or having babies?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

The share of people of working age, 15 to 64, who held a job rose 3.7 percent from five years earlier to a record-high 76.0 percent.

This article, the statistics, and this here as well are totally misleading. These "irregular" workers are included in the employment statistics that the government regularly puts out. These "irregulars" are the reason that the unemployment stats make it look like Japan has nearly zero unemployment.

But the demographics show otherwise. This number here, means that even if the person is working ONE hour a week, they are considered and more importantly counted as being employed.

There were 66.21 million workers in the country last year, of whom 21.33 million held nonregular positions, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

But get this, nearly ONE THIRD of all workers in Japan are holding "non-regular" positions It's not all the seniors either, and the demographics here has to be broken down even further to get a more accurate picture.

The government CAN NOT put out the actual numbers, as the underemployed and underpaid statistics can not be put out, because of the fear of unrest and anger that would be focused on the government.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I have watched this situation gradually develop over the last 2 decades here. It all started under Koizumi and I saw many factories making a gradual shift from permanent regular employees with the promise of long term employment to using manpower supply companies. The Japanese worker has been getting shafted.

This is one very sad state of affairs in Japan

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Are nonregular workers eligible for pensions when they retire? Does anyone know?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@smartacus - as long as they pay into the pension they are. The proper and legal way to deal with the pension is the employee pays 50% and the company contributes 50%. The employee share is supposed to be taken as a payroll deduction each month. Many companies in Japan play games with the salary or under declare to lower their tax burden which I think is abhorrent.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It's difficult to believe these statistics. There was a report late last year stating 60% of the workforce were on short-term contracts with only 40% actually considered to be 'full-time' workers. My guess is, this article only addresses those 'irregular' workers who are on part time contracts.

Bragging about a low unemployment rate and stating the economy is growing is just a blatant lie when most employees are on low salary contracts with no job security. Then, ad to that consumer spending has dropped by 15-25% in the last decade it's pretty easy to see the Japanese government is using it's rose colored brush to paint a rosy picture over a very dark background.

@Tokyo-Engr - as long as they pay into the pension they are. The proper and legal way to deal with the pension is the employee pays 50% and the company contributes 50%. 

Ah, the pension. Let's talk about that, shall we? If you are a foreigner who does not intend to retire in Japan you are paying pension premiums into a huge void where your money will disappear. It's a blatant cash-grab rip-off. A foreigner can only apply to have any moneys paid into the scam after one-year of living outside Japan. However, the application can only be made in Japan, which can take up to 6 months to process. This means you would have to be living in Japan to get a payment you can only receive if you are living outside Japan. Get it? Then, if you are clever enough and resourceful enough to wade through the red tape and endless paper trail with hundreds of name stamps you can look forward to receiving a third (or less) of the money that has been stolen from you by the Japanese pension system.

I applied to the ministry to have myself removed from the pension scam. However, their answer was, "Japan has an agreement with the Australian pension" and no further discussion was entered. I applied three times showing them I had my own private superannuation fund that will pay me handsomely when I retire, but they just kept giving me the same answer. Now, here's the real kicker, the Australian pension system deducts 5% from your salary whereas, the Japanese pension deducts 15-25% of your salary depending on your age. Again, just being ripped-off by a scam.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Now boys and girls, this a prime example of spin.

In the same report, the following:

A record 75.7% of women between the ages of 25 and 39 held jobs in 2017, up 5.9 percentage points from 2012. Confronted by a labor shortage, companies are offering flexible hours, enabling mothers with small children to hold on to their jobs.

the survey found that more than 30% of women with part-time positions purposely curtail their hours to take advantage of the special tax deduction for housewives.

In the 15-to-64 age group, a record 68.5% of women held jobs, a 5.4 percentage point increase from 2012.

Among people with part-time jobs, 26.2% are intentionally opting for fewer hours, but the breakdown is striking: 14.2% among men and 31.7% among women. In annual income, 49.6% of these part-time workers earn 500,000 yen to 990,000 yen ($4,450 to $8,820), while 32.9% take home 1 million to 1.49 million yen.

In other words, most people are taking part time jobs to earn a little extra cash. It isn't their primary income source.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

@Disillusioned: I do agree with you the pension is not a good deal for foreigners in Japan. Also, the system is in financial trouble (as is the US social security system). The overall process almost seems to be intended to make it more difficult for foreigners to recover money they rightfully deserve.

About the employee contribution your numbers are a bit high. If the company is doing things properly the company should pay 1/2 and you should pay 1/2. I have 15 employees and the maximum paid by any of the 15 is 9.2%. If you consider the company pays the other 1/2 then the overall cost (to the company and employee combined) is 18 %.

I am surprised you are having such a tough time getting out of it given the fact that Australia has the MRA with Japan for the pension.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is the new normal now. At least here in NY we're getting minimum raised to $15. Same would happen in JP if workers took to the street like they should

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Traveling around Kansai, I see many shops offering part time work at up to 1000 yen an hour but rarely more than that.

Why not?

If the number of workers is so low and jobs so numerous,Japan would be experiencing wage push inflation -it is not.

Japan is in a stagnation nightmare.....

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Every year, month, week and day I see things changing when the news are about economy and labor affairs. Well, as much as living in a capitalistic system country, companies want nonregular workers or cheap labors (with no insurance guarantees) if it's not illegal, the problem of birthrate of Japan now probably will be less in future, just to think all of those people who are not regular will be replaced to automation machines and robots.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I pay into the Japanese pension system and have every expectation of getting it them living back and forth between the US and Japan, and work part time if necessary.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Disillusioned

If you do indeed intend to retire in Australia, you should be happy that there is a pension agreement between the two countries. I don't know the details about your agreement, but with mine I can claim credit for my Japanese contributions once I get back to my own country and put them toward my countries pension scheme. That means that I do not fall behind in my contributions.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If you google minimum wages Japan is so far down the list by the time you get to it your finger will be a nub. 60% of workers are on short contracts, no benefits, required to do service time? The bright sparks in Goverment solve the problem by increasing the legal overtime to 100 hours. And then say childless woman are "selfish". Thankfully these woman are working exta hours and have no clue what the government say. Or how much these people reap the rewards of a slavery system that's the envy of North Korea. Dramatic I know but its making a point.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If you google minimum wages Japan is so far down the list by the time you get to it your finger will be a nub.

The US federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour or 815 yen per hour at today's exchange rate. The Japanese average minimum wage (it varies by prefecture) is currently 848 yen per hour.

If people are seeing as reported here part time jobs paying 1000 yen or more per hour that is well above both the average Japanese minimum wage and the US minimum wage.

"Regular employment" in Japan is similar to US civil service, military, or tenured academic employment. You have a nearly ironclad job guarantee and good benefits.

"Non-regular employment" (using Japanese terminology) is what most Americans in the private sector have. You can be fired with little or no notice and benefits range all over the map. Lose your job and you usually lose your insurance. That doesn't happen in Japan.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@JeffLee - If you do indeed intend to retire in Australia, you should be happy that there is a pension agreement between the two countries. I don't know the details about your agreement, but with mine I can claim credit for my Japanese contributions once I get back to my own country and put them toward my countries pension scheme. 

I have a private superannuation fund that I have been paying into for 35 years. I don't need an Australian pension either. In fact, my private super fund will make me unable to apply for an Australian pension. I set it up in 1980 and have been putting many thousands of dollars in it every year, plus a very high interest rate over 35 years has made it quite a hefty little nest egg. When I retire at 65 I will not need a pension, which is what I tried to explain to the Japanese pension ministry, but they would not have a bar of it. They just wanted my money regardless of the situation. I won't be retiring in Australia either. I will also be too wealthy to receive a pension in Australia. I'm looking for an island to buy in the south pacific.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

the Japanese pension deducts 15-25% of your salary depending on your age. Again, just being ripped-off by a scam.

Withholding tax is based upon the income, no necessarily age, unless you are over 40 and then have to pay the extra senior health tax. Otherwise it's all based on income.

If they are taking 15% to 25% you can get the money back by filing your taxes, if you don't file you get nothing.

It's a relatively easy process too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In other words, most people are taking part time jobs to earn a little extra cash. It isn't their primary income source.

You again are going out on a limb and making unfounded assumptions. Non-regular workers are carrying, often times, more than one job.

Also, people taking part time jobs also depend upon the pt-jobs total income for survival.

There is no way a typical salaried worker here is taking a PT job. It just aint done, and not to mention it their regular employer would know about it because of the my number system. Stop reaching for something that isnt there!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is not the number of post-retirement workers forced to continue working due to stingy welfare benefits that has swelled the numbers, it is the refusal by profitable companies to hire full time workers, who would have to receive benefits and pensions under existing employment laws. Legislation passed under the Abe junta has facilitated companies' ability to dodge such commitments by hiring part-time employees and using them to threaten the job security of full time employees, who can now due to recently-passed laws be forced to work 960 hrs of overtime a year w/o remuneration. It's either starvation wages or death from karoshi in Keidanren's workers' paradise.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This outcome in Japan is by design. It's what supporters of neoliberal orthodoxy led by people like Koizumi wanted, and they were strongly supported by employers. In the past I heard more than a view Japanese business owners bitterly complain to me about hard it was to fire workers. What you see today in Japan just shows that employers in the country were never all that different from employers in other countries. They never had much interest in "corporate social responsibility" and moved to have restrictive labor laws loosened once they sensed opportunity in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Growing competition from China, the irrelevance of the political left once the Soviet Union had collapsed, and Japan's own economic troubles in the 1990s all came together to make the previously unthinkable suddenly possible.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

the Japanese pension deducts 15-25% of your salary depending on your age. Again, just being ripped-off by a scam.

I have to apologize, I misread this, as deductions and not specifically related to pension deductions.

Regarding pension deductions alone this is also FALSE. Companies DO NOT take out between 15 to 25% of one's salary for pension payments. The highest is roughly 16%, or LOWER depending if you work in the public or private sector.

It never helps to spread false information when you are ranting to make a point, some folks might believe you and then pass along the wrong "facts"

First two are in English, the last two pdf's are payment charts

https://blog.gaijinpot.com/guide-pensions-foreign-residents-japan/

http://www.nenkin.go.jp/international/english/nationalpension/nationalpension.html

http://www.nenkin.go.jp/service/kounen/hokenryo-gaku/gakuhyo/20170822.files/2.pdf

http://www.nenkin.go.jp/service/kounen/hokenryo-gaku/gakuhyo/20170822.files/1.pdf

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now, here's the real kicker, the Australian pension system deducts 5% from your salary whereas, the Japanese pension deducts 15-25% of your salary depending on your age. Again, just being ripped-off by a scam.

It's easy to ventilate about being ripped-off but too often employees have no knowledge about their pension system let alone comparisons with foreign systems :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When I retire at 65 I will not need a pension, which is what I tried to explain to the Japanese pension ministry, but they would not have a bar of it. 

Some people don't seem to understand that when you work for an employer with a pension scheme you're part of it as the pension fund involved thrives by the contributions reserved for all employees. That's the rule in many developed nations. In countries with state pensions only where the contributions are paid by all workers [cover system] like in Germany you've also no saying in this.

Only when you hire yourself to a company or institution as 'third party', you're your own boss on this issue.

Actually is the employee contribution not really payed by the employee as the employer in fact pays both parts of the contribution, in fact 'deferred pay'

I will also be too wealthy to receive a pension in Australia. I'm looking for an island to buy in the south pacific.

A nice perspective for a poster who's comments are mostly drenched in sourness, a nice perspective for Japan too :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 It all started under Koizumi and I saw many factories making a gradual shift from permanent regular employees with the promise of long term employment to using manpower supply companies. The Japanese worker has been getting shafted.

This is one very sad state of affairs in Japan

Living for a long time on an island can probably lead to island thinking but outsourcing work previously done by permanent workers, hiring part-timers without the benefits of permanent workers, temp workers, contractors or secondment workers is also going on for decades in other developed nations and reached a new peak with bs jobs created by Uber, Deliveroo etc etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The geographical closeness of China next door and the propensity of Japanese companies (only in name now) to offshore their labor means that for another generation or two that the wealth the older generation enjoyed will not be repeated.

Add the declining population and the the graying of society and Japan is veritably insert expletive of choice here

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The geographical closeness of China next door and the propensity of Japanese companies (only in name now) to offshore their labor means that for another generation or two that the wealth the older generation enjoyed will not be repeated.

Based on which knowledge?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Based on my crystal ball....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you pay into the Japanese pension you will be able to get something after 10 years of payments. It's a lot fairer than it was a couple of years ago when the minimum contribution term was 25 years. If you have another, private pension, you will still get the Japanese pension as well so it's not too bad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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