chapter  3
20 Pages

Features of Organized Workers in Postwar Japan

WithKumazawa Makoto

The men and women who embraced postwar democracy, created postwar labor unions, and became organized workers were above all inhabitants of the company society. This postwar point of departure reflects the characteristics of the prewar take-off of the workers in Japan. Organized workers demanded that companies undertake several major reforms: replace the "status-based" labels of "staff person" and "production person" with a single classification, literally "company person". The first goal that postwar workers sought with their new unions was "equality as an employee." This involved a related set of demands. A second goal that gave workers a new equality as employees, a form of citizenship in the corporation, was a transformation of the nenko wage system. The third goal pursued by postwar labor unions aimed to establish systematic minimum livelihood guarantees for those who had the misfortune to fall by the wayside in competition with other workers.