Japanese Work Style Reformation and its impact on Large Japanese Companies

Hideki Takei


The labor shortage in Japan will be 6.4 million by 2030 due to a continuously declining birth rate and inadequate job opportunities for homemakers, retirees, and foreigners. The shortage will destroy the sustainability of the Japanese economy without prompt action. The Japanese government revised labor laws to let Japanese companies solve the future labor shortage. In 2020, large Japanese companies started following the revised laws. This paper analyzed the Japanese companies' reactions to the enforcement. Based on the analyses, we developed five suggestions that may be challenging but possible for Japanese companies to maintain competitive advantages and operational sustainability.

Full Text:



Abe, Y. (2021, May 12). roudou-pro. Retrieved May 2021, from Equal pay for equal work: https://roudou-pro.com/columns/135/

Akizawa, M. (2020, September 3). help-you. Retrieved September 2020, from Low labor productivity in Japan: https://help-you.me/blog/roudou_0516/

Amemiya, S. (2016, November 22). Toyokeizai. Retrieved December 2020, from Customer Outrage: https://toyokeizai.net/articles/-/145385

Bridgers. (2020, April 8). bridgers. Retrieved August 2020, from Employment issues for foreign workers: https://bridgers.asia/recruit/gaikokujinroudousya01/

DC. (2020). Douitsu-Chingin. Retrieved August 2020, from Equal pay for equal work and corporate response: https://douitsu-chingin.com/about/correspond/

Deloitte. (2020, February 5). Deloitte. Retrieved July 2020, from survey on the actual situation of work style reform 2020: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/jp/Documents/about-deloitte/news-releases/jp-nr-nr20200205.pdf

Fce-pat. (2021, May 10). Fce-pat. Retrieved May 2021, from Digital transformation that is the key to realizing work style reform: https://fce-pat.co.jp/magazine/1509/

Hondaka, S. (2019, August). bcm. Retrieved May 2020, from Digital transformation and work style reform: https://www.bcm.co.jp/solution-now/cat-solution-now/2019-08_2192/

HRBrain. (2020, April 19). hrbrain. Retrieved August 2020, from Japan has the lowest labor productivity in developed countries: https://www.hrbrain.jp/media/labor-management/labor-productivity1

HRM-service. (2020, February 20). hrm-service. Retrieved April 2020, from Let's grasp the actual situation of work style reform by employee satisfaction survey: https://www.hrm-service.net/column/article107/

HR-Souken. (2020, July 1). HR-Souken. Retrieved July 2020, from

Questionnaire on work style reform: https://hr-souken.jp/research/936/

Itscom. (2020, January 5). itscom. Retrieved March 2020, from Telework failure example: https://www.itscom.co.jp/forbiz/column/remotework/432/

JCO. (2020). Japan Cabinet Office. Retrieved March 2021, from Flexible work styles and work style reforms under the spread of infectious diseases: https://www5.cao.go.jp/j-j/wp/wp-je20/h02-03.html

Kaikatsu. (2020, July 13). kaikatsu. Retrieved August 2020, from The main reasons for failure to reform work styles: https://www.kaikatsu.jp/column/012439.html

Katani, K. (2020, May 13). itmedia. Retrieved August 2020, from The reason why the COVID crisis destroys the irrational "Company Community" in Japanese companies: https://www.itmedia.co.jp/business/articles/2005/13/news029.html

Kddimatomete. (2021, August 20). Kddimatomete. Retrieved September 2021, from Relationship between work style reform and digital transformation: https://www.kddimatomete.com/magazine/210820164020/

Keidanren. (2017, September). Keidanren. Retrieved March 2020, from Promote work style reforms: https://www.keidanren.or.jp/policy/2017/072.pdf

Kinchaku. (2020). Kinchaku. Retrieved May 2020, from Japan needs to change workstyle: https://www.kinchaku.com/blog/japan-needs-to-change-workstyle

Korosuke. (2020, March 27). bukiyoublog. Retrieved August 2020, from Reasons for Low Labor Productivity of Japan: https://bukiyoublog.com/opinion-reason-low-productivity

Kumashiro, T. (2020, June 5). newspicks. Retrieved August 2020, from In Japanese society, the virtue of "with everyone" is the source of trust rather than the outcome.: https://newspicks.com/news/4966986/

Maeda, Y. (2019, November). Current Situation and Challenges of Working Women . The Economic Prism(181). Retrieved from https://www.sangiin.go.jp/japanese/annai/chousa/keizai_prism/backnumber/h31pdf/201918102.pdf

MAG. (2020). mag. Retrieved August 2020, from Flexible Way of Working: https://mag.jws-japan.or.jp/hint/work/flexible-way-of-working/

Manegy1. (2019, October 11). Manegy. Retrieved April 2020, from One in three companies has increased the number of employees leaving their jobs due to "work style reform": https://www.manegy.com/news/detail/1709

Manegy2. (2020, March 14). manegy. Retrieved August 2020, from Wage system with overtime work: https://www.manegy.com/news/detail/2288

MHLW1. (2020). Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare White Paper. Retrieved August 2020, from Recent socio-economic changes and household trends: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/wp/hakusyo/kousei/08/dl/04.pdf

MHLW2. (2019). Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare . Retrieved March 2020, from Work style reform: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/000335765.pdf

MHLW3. (2019, October). Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Retrieved March 2020, from Handbook on work style reform related laws: https://www.pref.ibaraki.jp/doboku/kanri/kensetsu/menue/kasseikajigyou/documents/hatarakikatakaikaku.pdf

Mhlw4. (2020). Mhlw. Retrieved August 2020, from Relationship between efforts aimed at work style reform and turnover rate, etc.: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/wp/hakusyo/roudou/19/backdata/2-2-35.html

Murata, A. (2017, November 21). shares. Retrieved December 2020, from Long working hours and customer demands: https://www.shares.ai/lab/roumu/1234985

Nice2meet. (2020, January 31). nice2meet. Retrieved August 2020, from The difference between productivity and efficiency in work: https://www.nice2meet.us/the-difference-between-prodictivity-and-efficiency-in-work

Nishimura, Y. (2020). fukuoka-roumu. Retrieved August 2020, from Work Style Reformation: https://www.fukuoka-roumu.jp/workstyle/choujikan

NRI1. (2015, April). Creation of Intellectual Property. Retrieved March 2020, from Structural challenges facing Japan in 2030: https://www.nri.com/-/media/Corporate/jp/Files/PDF/knowledge/publication/chitekishisan/2015/04/cs20150403.pdf?la=ja-JP&hash=B0927A2485E90BD14BF0C7F4CEA9B0E068575C87

NRI2. (2015, May). Creation of Intellectual Property. Retrieved March 2020, from What Japanese society should be in 2030 from the perspective of consumers: https://www.nri.com/-/media/Corporate/jp/Files/PDF/knowledge/publication/chitekishisan/2015/05/cs20150507.pdf?la=ja-JP&hash=0B481B8A37E63E54B271C15D2DA2D2F142B15039

Ohashi, I. (2009, December). Japan's minimum wage system. Japan Labor Survey Journal(593). Retrieved from https://www.jil.go.jp/institute/zassi/backnumber/2009/12/pdf/004-015.pdf

Okan-media. (2021, July 16). Okan-media. Retrieved July 2021, from https://okan-media.jp/workstyle-reform-simply

Ouchi, S. (2017, July 10). recruit-ms. Retrieved December 2020, from Excessive customer focus is the root cause of long working hours: https://www.recruit-ms.co.jp/issue/interview/0000000584/?theme=productivity

PRTimes. (2020, August 24). prtimes. Retrieved October 2020, from Survey of work style awareness in COVID19 pandemic: https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000026.000045221.html

Sbbit. (2017, November 22). Sbbit. Retrieved March 2020, from Reasons why half of employees are "not satisfied" due to work style reform: https://www.sbbit.jp/article/cont1/34247

Shifop. (2020, March 9). shifop. Retrieved August 2020, from IT solves the problems caused by flexible working styles!: https://www.shifop.jp/column/c228

Shijizero. (2018, May 15). shijizeo. Retrieved December 2020, from Why do Japanese Company Communities Destroy Creative Employees?: https://www.shijizero.jp/archives/n6029

SupLab. (2020, May 22). suplab. Retrieved August 2020, from Eight efforts to eliminate long working hours: https://suplab.jp/longworkhours225002/

Talknote. (2020). talknote. Retrieved March 2021, from What will change in "work style reform" after all?: https://talknote.com/magazine/work-style-reform/

Yamada, H. (2019). How to deal with the rapidly increasing number of foreign labor. JRI Review, 10(71). Retrieved April 2020, from https://www.jri.co.jp/MediaLibrary/file/report/jrireview/pdf/11444.pdf

Yayoi-kk. (2019, January 18). Media Yayoi-kk. Retrieved March 2020, from Increasing employee satisfaction is the goal of "work style reform": https://media.yayoi-kk.co.jp/business/8212/

Yonemura, K. (2020, August 24). Impact of Corona on work style reforms. Finance and Financial Business. Retrieved September 2020, from https://www.murc.jp/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/contribution2020-05_04.pdf

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijssr.v10i1.19398


  • There are currently no refbacks.

International Journal of Social Science Research (Online ISSN: 2327-5510) E-mail: ijssr@macrothink.org

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'macrothink.org' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.

Copyright © Macrothink Institute   ISSN 2327-5510