A way forward? The market approach
Training provision in small companies, as might be expected, showed little reaction to the stimulus of unleashed market forces. These companies are close to both customers and product market and most are engaged in a serious struggle for survival. The experience of other countries shows that it is unusual for governments to rely primarily upon voluntary actions of the participants as a means to promote training. It is true that Japanese employers are under no compulsion to train, but maintaining a systematic linkage between education and industry has become an established feature of government policy into which Japanese employers contribute through their subsequent training activities. There are two major difficulties in relying principally on the market as an instrument to satisfy skill requirements. First, there is no guarantee of co-ordination between the different contributors, notably the buyers and sellers, to product and labour market activity and, second, the market is not an effective mechanism for predicting or satisfying longer-term needs.