The prospect of labor market deregulation – a key feature of the third "arrow" of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic revival program – is creating anxiety amongst workers in Japan, says Nobuaki Koga, president of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo).
"We as workers are very much concerned about how that will be implemented. We have doubts about such a direction in policy and are quite concerned," Koga told CNBC on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. Rengo is the nation's biggest umbrella body for labor unions, representing over 6 million working men and women in Japan.
"What we are hearing and seeing are only measures and ideas that will give anxiety and worries to people in terms of the security of their employment. Because of that, we oppose this [labor deregulation]," he said.
Freeing up the rigid labor market is seen as central to the government's structural reform program. However, Abe has so far made little progress with pushing ahead labor reforms due to strong domestic opposition.
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Relaxing stringent job protections is seen as a step necessary to make Japanese companies more competitive and to attract foreign investment.