The Word Works

Consuming Japan

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Young Japanese Face Widening Economic Gap

Published By: John on 01/05/07
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According to a new Asahi Shimbun series on Japan’s “Lost Generation,” young Japanese, 25-35, are victims of the hiring freezes imposed by Japanese corporations in what has been called “the lost decade” after the collapse of the Bubble in 1991. One in four will not become full-time, regular employees entitled to the benefits of lifetime employment. image

This illustration displayed here shows the emerging gap between those who did and those who didn’t make the cut. Grey=Both husband and wife are full-time, regular employees, 1 child; White=Husband is a full-time regular employee, wife is full-time housewife; Hatched=Neither is a full-time, regular employee; Black=Single, not a full-time regular employee.The polarization of incomes and employment opportunities is, of course, a global phenomenon, one anticipated by Robert Reich in his book The Work of Nations. In every OECD country globalization and free market fundamentalism have led to growing splits between winners and losers. In Japan, where government surveys used to show 90% or more of the population identifying itself as middle class, this trend is especially jarring and thus an appropriate topic for the Asahi Shimbun‘s new series launched on New Years Day.

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