Few would doubt that work-style reforms are at the core of the policy challenges confronting Japan. Many of the labor practices prevalent in this country are quite extraordinary in light of global standards.

First of all, it is difficult for employers to fire employees, based on court rulings and established practices, if not the outright letter of the law. This is in stark contrast with the situation in a number of industrialized countries, where employers more freely dismiss their workers with compensation of some sort, typically monetary.

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