Asked in GenealogyJapan in WW2JapanEarthquakes
Why is japan so successfull?
November 16, 2007 6:28AM
Truthfully with a whole truck load of cynicism...
Because they are worked like dogs by companies who no longer treat them with the respect and loyalty that once induced them to do so.
Japan needed to rebuild after the war so they banded together and worked their butts off to restore their country. Many companies went through periods where they could not afford to even pay their workers. But rather than quit the workers would keep working and the company would pay them in produce. Japanese females rarely worked outside the home and the male would spend almost all of his time at the 'office'.
Many western people have a huge problem with the Japanese working style and think of Japanese people as 'robots' who follow the company line unquestioningly no matter how absurd it may be. This is a wholly western point of view but in essence it is true. Japanese people don't question their superiors.
This leads to huge labour law abuses these days. By law Japanese workers are allowed 4 weeks holidays, most Japanese are unable to take more than 2 of those weeks and almost never at the same time. Unlike western countries where holidays are a right, here they are seen as a gift that you need to get permission for. Many 1st and 2nd year entrants to a company will not even get those holidays as they feel that it is rude of them to ask and the managers don't offer.
Overtime here is almost always unpaid. The average salariman will do overtime everyday. 4 hours overtime everyday is not uncommon. In busy periods most companies don't bother to hire new staff as the concept of temporary or casual labour has not yet made it to Japan. They just expect the workers to do more work in the same amount of time, if they can't they they will need to stay back because they didn't finish their allotted task in the given time. This of course is unpaid. Workers have to file for overtime themselves so most feel uncomfortable having to ask for it.
Once promoted, managers are not permitted overtime pay, and they are trying to bring in a law that says all salaried workers are not eligible for overtime pay. Women are paid less for the exact same position. And companies no longer give the promise of a 'job for life' which was the reason why most Japanese put up with a lot of these conditions. It's also very hard to get a new job. As when you do you start as a 1st year employee again so even if you are 40 years old and were a manager in your last job you are now 1st year dogsbody hanging out with the newly graduated. Raises in pay are based on how long you have been in the company and not performance based. So you also drop down in salary too.
Things are changing and with other Asian countries becoming much more competitive in the same markets as Japan (electronics and cars), things may have to change for them to continue their business success.