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Young people, precarious work, and the development of youth employment policies in Japan

  • Jiyeoun Song (a1)
Abstract

Japan's labor market has been under severe strain over the past few decades, driven by its protracted economic recession, a series of labor market reforms, and changing labor management practices. Confronting these new challenges, an increasing number of young people have had extreme difficulties in searching for decent and stable jobs in the labor market, trapped in the vicious cycle of precarious employment. This paper examines the deterioration of employment and labor market conditions for Japan's youth after the collapse of the asset bubble in the early 1990s and the government's policy efforts to address these concerns, especially since the early 2000s, a period during which it has initiated a wide array of youth employment and labor market policies. In particular, it analyzes variations in policy target group and goal across different measures and evaluates the effectiveness and limitations of these programs in dealing with youth problems in the labor market. This paper argues that while the government has promoted various policy tools to help young people become economically and socially independent individuals, it has gradually shifted its policy focus toward human capital development for growth and industrial competitiveness as a way of revitalizing Japan's troubling economy.

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Corresponding author
Corresponding author. Email: jiyeoun.song@snu.ac.kr
References
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Japanese Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 1468-1099
  • EISSN: 1474-0060
  • URL: /core/journals/japanese-journal-of-political-science
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