Japan Data Archive

About Japan > Politics and Economy > 

How are Japanese labor unions organized?

Most unions in Japan are company unions.
In other words, when you are employed by a particular company, you become a member of that company's union.
Each company union is under the control of a type of industrial union composed of businesses in the same industrv.
In turn, industrial unions are part of the Japan Federation of Labor Unions, which organizes approximately 60% of unionized labor.
Other labor organizations include the Communist-run National Federation of Labor Unions, which maintains that the Japan Federation is too ready to compromise with business, and the National Labor Union Liaison Committee, which is affiliated with the left wing of the Socialist Party.
Altogether these two organizations represent about 9% of union members.
Japan does not have industrial unions as such, but one organization, the IMF-JC (International Metal-workers Federation Japan Council) is affiliated to and actively involved in the International Metal-workers Federation, a worldwide organization.
About 20% of union members come under the jurisdiction of this committee.
Of the 53 million people employed in Japan, however, in 2002 only 10.8 million belonged to unions.
Union membership is declining each year, with fewer and fewer workers wanting to get involved.