On December 22, 2011, the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) released the results of its latest Basic Survey on Trade Unions, which clarifies the number of unions and union members in Japan as of June 2011. The survey covered all trade unions in Japan.
The latest survey revealed that there are 26,051 enterprise-based unions and 9.96 million union members in Japan, a decline of 316 unions and 93,000 union members from the previous year. The number of union members dropped below 10 million for the first time in 47 years since 1964. After peaking at 12.69 million members in 1994, the number of union members has continued on a downward trend.
The unionization ratio (that is, the ratio of union members to all workers) was 18.4% nationwide (excluding Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi Prefectures, which could not be surveyed due to the Great East Japan Earthquake). The number of part-time workers who were members of unions was 776,000 persons, an increase of 50,000 persons over the previous year and representing an estimated unionization ratio of 5.6%
In addition, the number of union members belonging to RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), the national center, was 6.83 million persons, a decrease of 36,000 persons from the previous year. Aiming to achieve a membership of 10 million persons, RENGO is making efforts to organize workers and expand membership.