NEW RISKS, OLD WELFARE Japanese university students, work-related anxieties and sources of support


Not unlike many European societies in the 1970s and 1980s, Japan went through a rapid process of postindustrialization in the 1990s and 2000s. Whilst the implications were wide-ranging, young (would-be) labour market entrants were among the most affected groups: youth unemployment more than doubled, as did the prevalence of non-standard employment. Simultaneously, how to remain in employment and achieve work-life balance became serious concerns for women especially. This article builds on existing research as well as interviews with 38 university students in Kyoto to capture key features of such 'new risks' in Japan. Alongside intriguing gender and class differences, we find that the short- and long-term anxieties many students face have not yet been countered with public policy innovations. Emerging support measures outside the context of the family and the company remain not only inadequate but also largely unknown to students.


Youth, Risk, Post-industrialization, University students, Employment, School-to-work transition, Work-life balance


Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration
Kobe University
Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe
657-8501 Japan
Phone: +81-78-803-7036
FAX: +81-78-803-7059
& Green Templeton College, University of Oxford

Graduate School of Sociology, Ritsumeikan University

Faculty of Policy Studies, Doshisha University