Japan Employment System

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Japan employment system

Japan's investment in solving environmental problems on a global level has also included substantial contributions to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a principal international multilateral funding mechanism set up in 1991 to aid developing countries in developing programs and projects that protect the global environment and promote sus-tainability. Japan contributed $84 million 1991-93, followed by an additional $415 million 1994-98, and $412 million 1998-2002. In 2007, concerned that Asia's energy consumption had grown by 230 percent since 1977, and alarmed by predictions that it would double again by 2030, Japan pledged $100 million in grants to the Asian Development Bank. The money is intended to promote renewable energy resources in a region that now accounts for a quarter of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Ignoring prognosticators, Japan insists that the nation will meet its Kyoto target. Not only did Japan focus on the improvement of its national and private forests at home through afforestation and forest conservation, but also its training and technology was made available to developing countries in Asia and South America. Domestic afforestation is expected to account for 3.9 percent of the 6 percent total deduction. With carbon credits earned through promoting projects in developing countries and carbon credits earned through resultant savings accounting for 1.6 percent, only .5 percent from standard emissions reduction will be required to meet the target.

The question of whether Japanese management can survive the gales of globalization is complex and controversial. Although the “company as family” model is associated with Japan's transformation into the world's second largest economy, critics have argued that the institutional stability of Japan Incorporated has outlived its usefulness. Certainly, the increased penetration of American business culture has given rise to an increase in market-rational activity—as illustrated, for example, by the growing volume of trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Suddenly, providing value to shareholders has become a muchtalked-about issue. Nonetheless, the embedded nature of the status quo tends to exclude sudden or dramatic changes. Those who have struggled to enter topranking universities and served their time in upperlevel organizations might resist practices that undermine their positions of power (as the example of equal employment opportunities for women illustrated, new possibilities do not necessarily translate into new practices). A switch to Silicon Valley's hireand-fire model would undermine the trust relationships that support Japanese management's distinctive modes of communication and control.

In the United States, labor unions offered one way of limiting the seemingly arbitrary and insecure nature of employment under the “at will” doctrine. In the 1940s and 1950s unions were able to offer a degree of job security by negotiating specific labor contracts that specified who could be terminated and for what reasons; this remains a key issue in today's labor contract negotiations. However, unions are less able to provide job security when the threats to job security stem from the forces of globalization. As both products and labor can be sourced globally, many jobs have moved to countries where the supply or cost of labor is more ...
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