The Struggle for Revitalisation by Japanese Labour Unions: Worker Organising after Labour-Market Deregulation

TitleThe Struggle for Revitalisation by Japanese Labour Unions: Worker Organising after Labour-Market Deregulation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsWatanabe, Hiroaki Richard
JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
Volume45
Issue3
Pagination510 - 530
Date Published2015///
Keywordsinterest representation, Japan, labor movement, labor unions, organizing, power resources, union revitalization
Abstract

This article analyses the decline of Japanese labour unions and their struggles for revitalisation from a power resources perspective. It demonstrates first that the power resources of labour unions declined in the neo-liberal political process of labour-market deregulation as a result of lower union density, the intensified conflicts of interest among unions and their reduced access to policy-making. Although this situation induced labour unions to change their interest representation to some extent and organise an increasing number of non-regular and marginalised regular workers, the article claims that they are still concerned about protecting the vested interests of regular workers in large companies and their efforts to organise non-regular and marginalised regular workers have been insufficient. In addition, although community unions have aimed to organise these workers extensively, their human and financial resources are too small to do so and revitalise the labour movement.