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Shūshin koyō (終身雇用) is the term for permanent employment in Japan. It was extremely common in major Japanese companies beginning with the first economic successes in the 1920s through the Japanese post-war economic miracle until after the bursting of the Japanese asset price bubble, the Lost Decade and the following economic reforms.
Shūshin koyō starts with an event called simultaneous recruiting of new graduates in which a large cohort of recent university graduates all enter a company at once. It gave Japanese workers the important feeling of job security as part of Japanese management culture, and in turn, elicited a high degree of company loyalty. A high demand for the few available engineers forced companies to bind these employees to the company. The collapse of the Japanese asset price bubble and the following crisis in the 1990s did not weaken the practice. It was still even used in Japanese small businesses. Following Junichiro Koizumi's administration, lifetime employment is now rare. Neoliberal economics policies resulted in privatization, firing of old and expensive workers, and the rise of part-time jobs. Due to the long recession and the financial crisis of 2007–2010, many companies have discontinued the practice of shūshin koyō and have started to implement mass layoffs. Thus, the job security of the shūshin koyō era is gone.
- The State and Change in the "Lifetime Employment" in Japan: From the End of War Through 1995
- Japan: Rethinking Lifetime Employment
- Japan’s ‘employment for life’ myth
- New York Times In Japan, Secure Jobs Have a Cost
- New York Times Japan Strives to Balance Growth and Job Stability
- Is the Japanese employment system degenerating?