In April, Japan will introduce an “industrial tribunal system” to settle individual labor disputes, such as those involving dismissals, working conditions and reassignments. The purpose of this system is to settle disputes expeditiously by limiting the number of trial sessions to no more than three.
The number of disputes involving labor relations has increased markedly in recent years, reflecting the prolonged business slump. In fiscal 2004, labor-dispute “counseling corners” throughout the country, including prefectural labor relations bureaus, received 820,000 complaints and inquiries. Of these, 160,000 cases involved individual labor disputes. Both numbers represent more than three times the figures for fiscal 2001.