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Law in Everyday JapanSex, Sumo, Suicide, and Statutes$
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Mark D. West

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226894027

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226894096.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2021

Working Hours

Working Hours

(p.191) Chapter Seven Working Hours
Law in Everyday Japan
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the role of law in shaping long working hours in Japan, focusing on the role of working-hour statutes and judicially created rules regarding employee dismissal. Japanese workers work extremely long hours in part because socially supported institutions prevent worker dismissal in bad times, and because other options for buffering supply and demand in the workforce are limited. Dismissal rules provide workers with job security in many situations. Recent changes in laws governing working hours and temporary employees suggest that one of the benefits of a booming economy—reduced working hours—might be attainable by legal reform. Social norms play a powerful role, but only through careful analysis of legal institutions can the underlying relation, and potential ways of improving Japanese working life with better institutional design, be understood.

Keywords:   working hours, law, socially supported institutions, rules, job security, employees

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