The labor market in peripheral regions in Japan is characterized by very poor local market conditions. This paper focuses on the return migration of workers in order to clarify their significance in reproducing the peripherality of the local labor market. For this purpose, the author examines the relation between return migrants and the segmented structure of the local labor market by analyzing their working conditions and occupational careers. The Aira area selected for this case study is a typical peripheral region. The findings are summarized as follows:
Return migrants in the local labor market in the Aira area are divided into two types based on their working conditions-that is, (1) male white-collar workers, and (2) male blue-collar workers and female workers. The working conditions of the first type are superior to those of the second type in terms of monthly wages, method of wage payment, size of bonus and employment status. The first type is mainly observed in workers in the higher segment of the local labor market. The employees in this type possess higher educational careers and skills obtained outside of the Aira area. The second type, on the other hand, is typical of workers in the lower segment of the labor market. The employees in this type have lower educational backgrounds.
Return migration in the peripheral region is mainly characterized by the continuation of return migration attributable to conventional behavior, out-migration to obtain skills with a view to returning to the migrant's home town in the future, and return migration to take care of the migrant's family in the home town. It is clear that these characteristics affect employment strategies so that firms can make efficient use of return migrants. It was observed that the structure of the local labor market in the peripheral region is generally associated with regional and historical characteristics.