Japanese enterprise unions have not attempted to organize "marginal labor forces, such as part-time
employees, women, and foreign workers.
The purpose of this paper is to point out the limitations of enterprise unions confronted with economic
globalization, and to investigate a new women's general union that aims to activate the Japanese labor
movement. A case study of the Women's Union Tokyo will be used to demonstrate this. This new women's
union movement appears to contain many elements similar to other contemporary " new social movements.
The Japanese enterprise unions have three main characteristics: male-oriented organization, bureaucratic
organization, and lack ofmember's participation. Bureaucratic organization is characterized by a lack ofunion
democracy, which in turn leads to the lack of member's positive or voluntary participation.
The research consisted of a questionnaire survey of 205 members of the Women's Union Tokyo.The
questionnaire was developed as a result ofparticipant observation ofthe union activities.
Some significant facts were discovered through the empirical research.
First. members of the Women's Union Tokyo have diverse social attributes and labor problems. Women of
various ages, marital status and job type are union member. However, women with small children and married
women appear less likely to participate.
Secondly, the Women's Union Tokyo has anti-bureaucratic tendencies.
Thirdly, members of the Women's Union Tokyo find empowerment through union activities. This women's
union movement, along with other contemporary "new social movements, appears easier for women to
participate in more traditional male-oriented organizations. This accessibility may provide a key to activating
the Japanese labor movement.
This is the report of the participant observation of a white‐collared employee at a Japanese city bank.
This observation has been conducted for 39 months in one of the major ciy banks in Tokyo, Japan. lt was
made on the author himself who started out his career at the bank in 1989 and quit in 1992. Inside a Japanese
company, how do the daily workings go on ,and、what are the consciousness and feelings of their employees
like?――those are what focused me on this survey. And these understandings are imperative for the inquiry of
Labor Ethos of the Japanese white-collared employees through the regid and minute empirical research, the
author believes. The description、was set up by way of the recollecting method.
This paper argues that policy orientations of unions are shaped by political processes within unions and
do not merely reflect their external economic and social contexts. It first reviews previous studies on union
behaviors. While many previous studies explain union behaviors mainly in terms of unions' external political,
social, and economic contexts, some recent studies have tumed their attention to internal union politics in
explaining union behaviors. Secondly, the paper derives four hypotheses on relations between union policies
and the intemal politics of unions from previous research and apply them to the case of the Japan National
Railway Workers' Union (Kokuro). The four hypotheses concern two theoretical issues: union leaders'
dilemma of policy choice, and relations between militant policy orientations and union democracy. The case
study shows that leaders of Kokuro were in a dilemma of policy choice when union-management relations of
JNR became tense, and that the union's militant policy orientations mainly reflected the opinion of shopfloor
level officials and activists, rather than rank and file members. In the third section, the paper examines the
long-term effects ofthe intemal politics ofKokuro on its policy orientations based on the concept of "the logic
of organizational behavior." In Kokuro, a militant logic of organizational behavior, once formed in the early
1960s, was reproduced thereafter by lower-ranked union oflicials committed to shopfloor militancy and
increasingly constrained the flexibility ofunion leaders in their policy choice. In the concluding section, the
paper briefly considers theoretical implications of this study for general theories of political sociology. It
suggests that studies on internal union politics like this one attempt to show effects ofpolitics on economic and
social structures, rather than vice versa.