chapter  5
Problems of the Japanese Working Class in Historical Perspective
Pages 35

Since the collapse of Japan's "economic miracle" workers have faced assaults on a number of fronts. These include wage restraint by monopoly capital, "rationalization" (or, as it is even more euphemistically called, "slim-line management"), and reductions in public spending (see chapter 6). In these circumstances, the labor movement has fallen into a state of stagnation, and since 1975 there has been a decline in the level of unionization. Not only is the work force being sacrificed by big business in its attempt to escape from the structural crisis of Japanese capitalism, it is also supporting levels of productivity that are so high as to cause international trade friction. Furthermore, Japanese workers now appear to be content to accept, almost without condition, the microelectronics revolution, whereby large enterprises are introducing industrial robots and other electronic equipment on an unprecedented scale. This acceptance is forthcoming despite the fact that the microelectronics revolution is having a serious effect on the problem of unemployment.