Rethinking Welfare in the US, Japan, and South Korea
Edited by Jae-jin Yang
Chapter 9: Weak social security but strong employment security in the Japanese welfare state
Japan has frequently been a subject of comparative study in welfare state research because its social expenditure is on a lower level than developed economies in the West. Viewed in terms of its weak social security, Japan can be regarded as a “small welfare state.” However, it is important to remember that Japan has been able to maintain weak social security because its male workers have traditionally enjoyed strong employment guarantees. From this perspective, it is too simplistic to view Japan as a small welfare state. Defining the overarching characteristic of the Japanese small welfare state as “strong employment security,” this chapter explores economic, regulatory, and employment policies and examines how those characteristics have been changed in the twenty-first century.
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