Novelist Nanami Shiono has pointed out that Japan, in which the LDP picks the nation’s prime minister, is similar to ancient Rome, in which its consul was named by the Roman Senate. Such a system in which a small number of people are involved in the leadership functions may work if a country is growing, but if the environment changes, its mechanism of utilizing human resources goes out of order. Shiono’s comment in her book, “Roma kara Nihon ga Mieru” (“Japan viewed from Rome”) that “even though the leader believes he is doing well, he is only impeding governance” is noteworthy. Is Japan undergoing a downhill slide like ancient Rome?
The number of temporary workers dispatched by employment agencies to various firms hit a record high this year. In the face of the economic downturn, many employers unilaterally terminated their employment contracts with such workers or cancelled their job offers to those who are expected to graduate this coming spring. Strikes staged by temporary workers and others who are trapped in an insecure employment situation are a major expression of resistance in Japan, where labor movements are not generally active.
Problems involving the employment and social security situations have become serious as the social divide into “winners” and “losers” is expanding. This year saw a spate of heinous crimes, such as a stabbing rampage in Tokyo’s Akihabara district that left seven people dead and 10 others injured and attacks on the homes of two retired top bureaucrats in the Health and Welfare Ministry.