International Business Machines is now being sued for wrongful termination in what is shaping up as a legal test case in one of the most divisive and politically charged issues facing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – whether to make it easier for companies operating in Japan to fire workers.
After years of economic stagnation, the prime minister hopes to shift Japan away from an employment system that prioritizes stability to focus on growth. On a Sunday television show, Abe said he wanted more hiring based on specialization or location – jobs that would offer benefits closer to full-time positions but be easier to cut if deemed no longer necessary – as one of his planned labor market reforms.
Advocates say these reforms would spur hiring and create opportunity for women and younger workers more likely to be stuck in lower-paid contract jobs without legal protection.
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