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4 Jan 2016

Japan: 40 percent of workers in irregular employment, with low pay and little stability

In November 2015, the government published data showing that the proportion of irregular workers in Japan had reached 40 percent. The increasing number of irregular workers remains of serious concern, as irregular workers generally have far less income, are provided with far fewer benefits (e.g. most employers do not contribute towards the health insurance or pensions of irregular workers), and often have almost no stability in their employment. More than half of people in irregular employment have incomes of under JPY 2 million (approximately USD 16,000) In addition, approximately 60 percent of women in employment are employed on an irregular basis. Government data shows that persons in irregular employment are far less likely to marry, and are often unable to bear the economic costs of child rearing (Japanese official investment in education is at the lowest level in the OECD).  One newspaper writes about couples who are both in irregular employment, and notes that their take home pay is comparable to a couple living on welfare.