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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The success of the post-war Japanese economy and the growing dominance of its manufacturing companies on global markets have been attributed, at least in part, to a particular collaborative form of industrial relations and dispute resolution process. The collapse of the so-called “bubble” economy in the late 1980s and the commencement of a sustained period of low economic growth in the early 1990s, however, led to a fragmentation of collective industrial relations. In turn, this allowed for experimentation with, and the development of, a range of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practices including what I have termed union-on-demand and collective individualism. This chapter examines the shift to such ADR practices with a particular focus on why such changes are occurring and whether these changes form part of a longer term trend in Japanese industrial relations.

Keywords: dispute resolution processes, enterprise unions, experimentation, fragmentation, industrial action, Japan, labor tribunals

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