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Continued from Part 1…
Firms move people every few years to nurture managers with broad experience and also as a way to ensure supplier relationships don’t encourage fraud, said Rochelle Kopp, the founder of consulting firm Japan Intercultural.
“Under Japanese labor law, if you are a permanent employee, refusing a job transfer or other job assignment is the same as saying that you are quitting,” said Kopp.
Many solo workers are middle-aged men who transfer alone to avoid disrupting family life.
Researchers at Ritsumeikan University, using census data and government surveys, estimate there may be as many as 1 million solo workers.
But more than two-thirds of 3,131 respondents in an Asahi Shimbun survey published in February 2020 described the assignments as unnecessary.
During his four-year stint in Yokohama, Tatebayashi saw his family once every two months, even less when pandemic lockdowns curbed travel.
He chose to live alone because he had just bought a house in Fukuoka and didn’t want to take his daughters out of school or away from their grandparents nearby.
The government has largely ignored solo workers in recent labor reforms, which focus instead on curbing excessive overtime following several deaths from overwork.
Tatebayashi reckoned it will take a month or so for family life to return to normal in Fukuoka.
“My kids are happy about it … but my wife says she’ll find it hard to relax if I am around the house all the time,” he said. (Reuters)
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.