JAPAN: A Loyalty Endangered

One of the great strengths of the Japanese economy has been the extraordinary bond uniting workers and their bosses—the famous lifetime employment system. Once hired, a worker can traditionally expect complete job security for the rest of his career. Executives treat employees as members of a huge family; they devise company songs, run company sports clubs and even will slash their own salaries to avoid laying off workers. In return, companies receive—and reward—intense loyalty. Wages and benefits are determined by seniority; a man or woman who has been with a company for 30 years makes, on the average, four...

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