Why Do Japanese Work Longer than German?


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  • 座長報告:なぜ日本の労働時間はドイツより長いのか


<p>Despite the ‘Work Style Reform’ being conducted at the initiative of the Japanese government, a fundamental question still remains unanswered : How many hours are Japanese people working ? Japanese statistics on work hours have mixed regular workers with irregular, particularly part-time, workers, and collected data from companies, whose managers exclude many of the actual working hours. There is big differences between the legal working hours, agreed working hours between company and union, and the actual work hours of individual employees. Research has not clarified to what extent and why the three sets of hours deviate from each other.This paper examines these deviations, using a comparison with Germany, which the Japanese government has targeted as a model for work hour reduction. The two countries share important features in working hours, including the dual structure of work hours between full-time and part-time employees, and the importance of collective agreements on working hours. In spite of these similarities, however, there are huge differentials in annual working hours, as well as daily work hours, between the two countries. Here, these differences are investigated in detail, based on comparative historical analysis, showing why Japan has longer working hours than Germany.</p>


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