本文摘要:Something odd is going on with Japan’s labour market. Unemployment is at 3.7 per cent. Recently, it has been as low as 3.5 per cent, considered by some economists to be pretty much full employment. (The uptick is only because the previously discouraged are flooding back to work.)日本劳动力市场正在首演一些怪异的事情。


Something odd is going on with Japan’s labour market. Unemployment is at 3.7 per cent. Recently, it has been as low as 3.5 per cent, considered by some economists to be pretty much full employment. (The uptick is only because the previously discouraged are flooding back to work.)日本劳动力市场正在首演一些怪异的事情。目前失业率为3.7%。最近,失业率低于曾降到3.5%,一些经济学家指出这完全算是几乎低收入。

(失业率下降只是因为以前那些低收入意愿丧失者于是以涌进劳动大军。)The trend is being helped by demographics, which sees more baby-boomers retiring than millennials starting out. For every 100 people looking, there are 110 jobs on offer, the best ratio in 20 years. In some industries, including truck driving and healthcare, employers cannot find workers for love nor money. Building site foremen are in desperately short supply as construction companies work overtime to rebuild the tsunami-devastated coast and prepare for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games. One restaurant chain specialising in beef-and-rice dishes was forced to close a 10th of its roughly 2,000 restaurants this summer because it could not find enough staff.人口状况助推了这种趋势,出生于婴儿潮时期的卸任人员数量现在多达了开始低收入的千禧一代。


You would have thought that wage inflation would be going crazy as a result. Unfortunately for Japan, you would be wrong. The government has badgered companies, which are making record profits, to share the love. Some have responded with modest wage increases, but not enough to keep pace with prices, which are rising thanks to monetary stimulus and a 3 percentage-point increase in sales tax.你原本会指出,薪资因此不会可怕下跌。意外的是,对于日本而言,你拢了。企业于是以赚到着创纪录的利润,日本政府仍然平着拒绝它们共享成果。

一些企业有助于下调了薪资,但足以跟上通胀的速度,由于货币性刺激以及消费税下调3个百分点,日本物价仍然在下跌。It is just possible that labour-market tightness is finally filtering through. In July cash earnings for regular employees rose a hefty 2.6 per cent, the fastest increase for 17 years. But much of this has come in cash bonuses, not in the base pay that gives workers lasting confidence.有可能劳动力市场的紧绷最后在产生影响。今年7月,月员工的现金收益大幅提高2.6%,为17年来最低。但很多是以现金奖金的形式派发,而非让员工取得持久信心的基本工资。

Japanese wages do not seem to be responding to normal market pressures. Why not? The conundrum has its roots in the altered structure of the labour market. Contrary to common perception, Japan has an exceptionally flexible workforce. Outside the ranks of the protected “job-for-lifers” – a much rarer breed these days – nearly 40 per cent of workers are about as flexible as you get. They work in poorly paid jobs for hourly rates. Benefits are all but non-existent. For most of these workers, sometimes referred to as the “precariat”, unemployment is a mere “sayonara” away.日本薪资或许会对一般的市场压力作出对此。为什么呢?这一难题植根于劳动力市场的结构变化。



对于多数此类劳动者(有时被称作无产阶级)而言,失业近在咫尺。Of course, Japan is hardly alone in seeing the bifurcation of its jobs market. Non- or semi-skilled work commands a lower price in a world where technology and cheap foreign labour are ready substitutes. In Japan, though, this is proving a particularly thorny problem. For its reflationary experiment to work, wages must begin to rise in line with inflation. But the casualisation of the labour force is short-circuiting that process. Moreover, people in the precariat are less likely to marry and have children. If Japan is to solve its demographic problem, it will have to tackle the labour issue.当然,日本很难说是唯一一个低收入市场经常出现这种两极分化的国家。在技术和外国廉价劳动力随时可当作上场的情况下,专门从事非技术或半技术工作所能拒绝的薪资大自然较低。然而在日本,事实证明这是一个特别是在棘手的问题。


如果日本要解决问题其人口问题,它必需解决问题这个劳动力问题。What can be done? At least three things. The first is to narrow the gap between over-protected permanent workers and under-protected non-permanent ones. Akira Kawamoto of Keio University argues that coddling one section of the workforce does not serve Japan’s interests well. Absolute job security stifles risk-taking, he says, something that Japan desperately needs. Simply making life less cushy for permanent workers is not likely to do any good on its own.日本可以采行何种措施?最少有3项措施。首先是缩窄受到过度维护的相同员工和没获得充份维护的非相同员工之间的差距。

安政义塾大学(Keio University)的川本明(Akira Kawamoto)认为,娇惯某一部分劳动者不过于合乎日本的利益。他回应,意味著的低收入安全性不会助长冒险不道德,而这种冒险是日本现在急需的。但意味着让相同员工的生活显得不那么安逸,有可能会带给任何益处。

If adding to Japan’s aggregate demand is the goal, the big push should be on improving the wages and conditions of temporary workers. Crucially, it should be made far easier for them to migrate to permanent jobs and for workers of all descriptions to move more freely between companies. An open, fluid labour market would help cross-fertilise ideas and allocate resources to productive parts of the economy.如果不断扩大日本总需求是目标的话,那么日本不应乘机提高临时工的薪资和工作条件。最重要的是,日本应让他们更容易转至相同工作,并让所有类型的员工更加权利地在企业间跳槽。一个对外开放且流动的劳动力市场将不利于促成更加多创新,并将资源配置到具备生产效率的经济领域。Second, immigration policy needs to be bolder. True, allowing in lots of foreign workers might put downward pressure on wages, at least initially. Yet there are some jobs that Japanese are simply not prepared to do. If foreigners were brought in, for example, to provide affordable care for children and the elderly, this could free Japanese women to have more fulfilling careers.其次,移民政策必须更加大胆。


That brings us to the third point. Women are flooding into the workforce in unprecedented numbers. Nearly 65 per cent of women aged between 15 and 65 are working, the highest percentage since records began in 1968.这就要谈及第三项措施。空前数量的女性于是以涌进劳动大军。近65%的年龄在15岁至65岁之间的女性在工作,为自1968年有记录以来最低。

There is a catch. The majority of these jobs are badly paid, part-time or both. Too many companies still view men as the primary wage earner: younger women are there to look pretty and older women to do the drudgery. If Japan is to progress, such attitudes need to change.这里不存在一个难题。其中大部分工作要么薪资不低,要么为全职工作,或者两者兼备。

过于多企业依然将男人视作主要雇佣劳动者:更为年长的女性是为了当作“花瓶”,而年纪较小的女性则去做到那些脏活累活。如果日本要变革的话,这种态度必须转变。Legislation can help. One simple measure would be on tax. At present the head of a household, usually male, can claim a dependent tax exemption for his wife so long as she earns less than about $10,000 a year. Neutral tax treatment of second earners would remove this disincentive, encouraging married women to pursue full-time careers. And if the men did not like it, they could always stay at home and look after the kids.法律可以起着一定协助。一项非常简单的措施是税收法律。