In the midst of the simultaneous global economic recession originating in the financial crisis in the United States of America, the economy continues to deteriorate rapidly and the employment/unemployment situation is becoming more serious due to, among other factors, a sharp reduction in output, and employment insecurity is growing among the population. There is a concern that the employment/unemployment situation will become even more severe than at present.
It is necessary to reconfirm that stability of employment is indeed the basis of social stability and that the long-term employment system in Japan has resulted in the training of personnel, stability in the labor-management relationship, and has supported the growth and development of the companies and the economy. It is therefore necessary to make the utmost efforts for the maintenance of employment stability.
For the realization of employment stability and job creation, the most urgent task is to mobilize all possible measures for economic recovery and further strengthen effective measures for employment stability and job creation, paying particular attention to the actual situation of small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for a large proportion of employment and which are making efforts to maintain employment.
In such a situation, the Government, the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the National Federation of Small Business Associations, and the Japan Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO), based on a common understanding that it is essential for the Government, labor, and management to be united in confronting this crisis, have agreed to work in unison for realization of employment stability and job creation as stipulated in the attached document.
Based on this agreement, the Government, labor, and management will work in unison for the construction of a society where companies can function with vitality, and workers, who form the basis of the country, have the will to work and bring their abilities into play.
The Government shall promptly advance necessary measures for the realization of this agreement, and labor and management shall understand and cooperate concerning the Government’s measures and work in unison for management stability and the maintenance and security of employment based on mutual understanding under a stable labor-management relationship.
March 23, 2009
Aso Taro, Prime Minister
Fujio Mitarai, Chairman, Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren)
Tadashi Okamura, Chairman, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Akio Saeki, Chairman, National Federation of Small Business Associations
Tsuyoshi Takagi, President, Japan Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO)
Five areas for efforts to realize employment stability and job creation
1. Further promotion of employment maintenance
As the economy is rapidly deteriorating, the maintenance of employment is a top priority issue. Therefore, labor and management shall make the utmost efforts to advance various efforts which might be called “Japanese-style work sharing” appropriate for the reality of the employment scene in Japan. In doing so, they shall advance efforts involving labor transfer between industries in such a way as to avoid unemployment. This might include, for example, temporary transfer of workers in sectors experiencing a severe employment situation to sectors with employment opportunities, thereby keeping workers employed through temporary transfer between companies.
In carrying out such efforts, it is necessary to have thorough voluntary consultation between labor and management to reach understanding and agreement between them in individual companies. In such a situation, the labor and management of large companies which are parent companies shall pay particular attention to the maintenance and security of the employment of subcontracted workers.
Management shall fully recognize that employment stability is a social responsibility of companies regardless of the management environment and make the utmost efforts to maintain employment by carrying out the reduction of working hours, including the reduction of overtime work, paying attention to the proper distribution of rewards and fair treatment of workers in accordance with the actual situation of individual companies. Management shall also engage in the transfer in or out of workers in a way that avoids unemployment.
Labor shall, based on the understanding that productivity improvements increase employment, cooperate with the maintenance and strengthening of the management base, such as cost reductions and the development of new business. Labor shall also cooperate in efforts for labor transfers that do not lead to unemployment.
The Government shall, in order to promote efforts by labor and management for so-called “Japanese-style work sharing” in the maintenance of employment through the reduction of overtime work, suspension of operations, education and training, temporary transfer, and so on, strive for more prompt payment and enhancement of the content of subsidies for employment adjustment, and promptly take support measures for maintaining employment without the resort to the dismissal of workers, whether regular or non-regular.
The Government shall also make all efforts to support the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises from the point of view of employment maintenance.
2. Enhancement and strengthening of employment safety nets, such as vocational training, job placement services, and so on
As there is unevenness between industries and geographical regions in terms of sectors favored with employment opportunities and those facing a severe employment situation, it is necessary to enable employment in new industrial fields, transfers to differing occupations, and so on to be carried out as smoothly as possible. It is therefore necessary to view vocational training as an important employment safety net and make strong efforts to advance this while bringing the matching function of the nationwide “Hello Work” job placement services into play as much as possible in order to carry out this employment adjustment rapidly and on a wider scale.
Management shall support and cooperate with the vocational training of workers to the fullest extent through provision of training facilities and human resources, and so on. It shall also cooperate with job placement efforts by “Hello Work.”
Labor shall make efforts to develop and improve job capabilities. They shall also engage in employment seeking activities faithfully and earnestly.
The Government shall carry out the following support work.
(1) Enlargement, enhancement and strengthening of the content and period of vocational training based on the actual situation of the needs of companies, sectors faced with a personnel shortage, sectors where creation of new employment is expected, and so on.
(2) Strengthening of support functions for reemployment, livelihood, and so on, and enhancement and strengthening of the organization and system of the nationwide “Hello Work” network based on the present severe employment/unemployment situation.
(3) Establishment of centers where job placement, employment counseling, ability development counseling, life counseling, and so on are available as a one-stop service, and promotion of efforts for employment support conducted by private organizations in unison with the Government.
3. Securing of stability of livelihood for those with employment difficulties during the period when they are receiving vocational training, and realization of employment for the long-term unemployed
Support for those who are unable to receive unemployment benefits is called for. Support for employment and livelihood shall be undertaken, including livelihood support during the period while receiving vocational training for those who cannot receive unemployment benefits among older “freeters” (non-regular job-hoppers), mothers of single mother families, and so on; housing and livelihood support for those suffering from loss of housing due to loss of employment; employment support combining counseling and so on for the long-term unemployed who have been unable to find employment after the termination of the payment of unemployment benefits.
Management shall make the utmost efforts to cooperate with the provision of vocational training, the provision of job vacancies and the acceptance of workers. In doing so, management shall endeavor to make employment decisions based on the applicant’s personal abilities, and not his or her past employment or unemployment situation.
Labor shall make efforts for the development and improvement of job capabilities. Labor shall also engage in employment seeking activities faithfully and earnestly and seek employment in response to the guidance and assistance available at “Hello Work” offices.
The Government shall, in order to realize the employment of those who face difficulties in reemployment, endeavor, with “Hello Work” functioning as the main agency, to raise the volition and ability of the unemployed to find employment, and strengthen measures for livelihood security, housing and livelihood support, and employment support for the abovementioned while undergoing vocational training.
4. Realization of job creation
For the purpose of securing future employment capabilities, it is necessary to create employment in the fields that will lead to the future economic development of the country, improvement of the life of the people, strengthening the competitiveness of industry, the vitalization of local communities, and so on, in particular in the fields where growth is expected, such as healthcare, nursery care, child care, environment, agriculture, forestry. All concerned, including labor and management in the local areas, shall work together to steadily advance voluntary efforts in the locality through the use of the “Special Subsidy for Home-town Employment Regeneration,” “Emergency Employment Creation Projects,” and local tax allocations.
Management shall endeavor to respond to the reality of each company through the startup of new business, changes in business areas covered, and so on. Management shall also endeavor to provide support concerning “Special Subsidy for Home-town Employment Regeneration.”
Labor shall deepen their understanding concerning new business fields and make appropriate occupational choices based on the actual situation in the labor market. Labor shall also endeavor to give necessary support concerning “Special Subsidy for Home-town Employment Regeneration.”
The Government shall mobilize all possible measures such as stimulation of demand through mobilization of finances, industrial policy, small and medium-enterprise policy, and so on, and endeavor to create employment in priority fields where growth is expected to occur. Concerning the “Special Subsidy for Home-town Employment Regeneration” and other projects, prefectural labor bureaus and prefectural governments shall work in unison to advance these projects while various Government agencies and those concerned work together to implement them swiftly, effectively, and efficiently.
In particular, concerning the “Special Subsidy for Home-town Employment Regeneration,” the Government shall make requests to prefectural governments so that labor and management can provide the necessary funds.
5. Thorough propagation of the tripartite agreement
The Government, the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the National Federation of Small Business Associations, and the Japan Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO) shall make the utmost efforts to fully play their individual roles incorporated in this agreement, publicize this Tripartite Agreement for the Realization of Employment Stability and Job Creation to the labor and management of each company, and give necessary encouragement so that the efforts of labor and management will be secured in its proper implementation.
Further, the realization of a harmonious work-life balance is important for making it possible for workers to feel satisfied and content with both work and life while aiming at improvements in productivity. The Government, labor, and management will make steady efforts in unison to achieve this based on the Work-Life Balance Charter and the Action Guidelines to Promote Work-Life Balance adopted in December 2007.