chapter
25 Pages

kobun) type.

This rotation system makes the young company men repeatedly adjust to new conditions and thus a too early specialist's routine rut is avoided; the men remain flexible and can easily face new tasks. The system is made workable by the willingness of Japan­ ese to work as a group rather than as individuals.

Career-long employment means actually that the company does not dismiss anyone except for major misdemeanour or, if rational­ isation measures call for dismissal, it pays substantially higher severance pay. But dismissals of permanently employed are always very difficult as unions fight for the right to stay on the job. On the other hand, recently a trend towards higher turnover has become apparent, notably among white-collar employees, so much so that a new phrase has been coined: datsu sararīman (getting out of salaried-staff status); the younger generation tends to reject the high pressure for performance and loyalty de­ manded in the large firms. Between 1963 and 1970 the rate of turnover for large firms of over 500 employees, for the thirty to forty-nine age bracket, rose from about 3 to 6 per cent.49