A total of six persons (of whom five were women) from Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States visited Japan from September 30 to October 7. The team completed all the programs prepared for it as planned.
In a lecture on the role and issues of the Japanese labour movement, the participants heard about such topics as the history of the Japanese labour movement, economic trends, and the present state, issues, function, and role of Japanese trade unions. They showed a strong interest in the respective roles played by the government, labour, and management in the economic development of Japan since World War II.
In their visit to the RENGO Research Institute for Advancement of Living Standards (RENGO-RIALS), the participants received a lecture on the consideration of legislation and regulations relating to ambiguous employment relations, regulations on ride sharing in Japan and moves of the government and trade unions, and the awareness and state of introduction of new technologies in Japan.
In their visit to RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), they heard about changes in the industrial structure due to the fourth industrial revolution and RENGO’s efforts to realize policies and systems toward the creation of a secure society with work as its core.
At the Japan Productivity Center, they heard about the present state and issues of productivity in Japan and, through a comparison of productivity in various fields in their own countries (Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Japan, deepened their understanding of the topic.
In a lecture from Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), they heard an explanation of industrial relations from the standpoint of an employers’ organization and efforts to realize the Society 5.0 concept being proposed by the Japanese government.
On October 5, as this team’s main program, an international symposium was held on the theme of “The Impact on Employment and Labour of the Sharing Economy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Related Issues.” In addition to the six invited trade union representatives from Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, business representatives from Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan and a RENGO official participated as speakers, delivering reports from their respective standpoints.
In a panel discussion following the reports, the panelists exchanged views on the expected impact of the future increase in workstyles not dependent on employment relations to be brought about by the advance of the sharing economy and related issues. It was pointed out that although there is a merit in terms of workstyle flexibility, there are also concerns that job stability will be lost. The establishment of legislation and social safety nets might be necessary, but it was evident that each country was still at the investigative stage in this respect.
The symposium ended with full agreement that regarding workstyle flexibility in Japan as well, it was necessary to have an awareness of the issue and to further deepen social debate.
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Many thanks to everyone.