One of the main characteristics of the Japanese construction industry is multi-subcontracting system. The researchers on Japanese construction call the system “(Subcontracting) Responsible Construction” whereby specialty subcontractors have had more and more responsibility on production. Since 1997 after the government made drastic policy changes toward national structural reform with severely cutting down public investment, the construction market has been rapidly shrinking. Under the increasingly competitive market, the intensification of rationalization leads the contractors to pass the cost and risk of production on the foremen who are at the bottom layer of the production organizations. As a result, the responsibility of foreman, whose employment condition has increasingly been externalized, has unprecedentedly enlarged to the extent that an association of foremen on site become the essential organization for not only managing production but also making profit. Most of the foremen are contracted labor such as independent contactors or self-employed unprotected by regulations or insurances, which resulted in the intensification of work and increased deterioration of labor conditions. In this paper, I critically review how researchers analyze construction work in the labor process and flexible debate. Secondly, I briefly explain how the organization of production has developed in Japanese construction. Finally, I examine the current state and changing function of specialty subcontractors and foremen based on intensive research. Some researchers historically maintained that the industry is a craft production model whereby management and workers flexibly cooperate in production processes. The recent Japanese case, however, shows that the production system of “Responsible Construction” cannot be sustainable both in terms of deteriorating working conditions of very core craftsmen as well as of difficulty in training of future skilled workforce under the current restructuring of the industry.