Unequal Japan: Conservative Corporatism and Labour Market Disparities


  • Ji-Whan Yun is at the Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea.


The majority of the literature on the increasing labour market disparities in Japan has attributed the trend to changing market circumstances or new government policies. However, this article claims that widening income disparities, especially between regular and non-regular workers, are more deeply rooted in the nature of Japan's policy-making mechanism. Combining industrial actors' conservative orientation towards dual labour markets and their corporatist interactions for policy making, this article argues that Japan's disparity problem has originated from its ‘conservative corporatism’. The article presents the manner in which conservative corporatism has widened the disparities in employment security and welfare benefits.