Abstracts & Papers in Stream 5

Japan has characterized as a company-centered society (Osawa 1993), where "welfare through work" was the main source of welfare provision (Miura 2002), and it was also supported by family welfare which based on the gendered division of labor. To be sure, Japan has had unemployment insurance scheme which was introduced in 1947 and amended in 1974 (Employment Insurance). The Employment Insurance scheme has also contained some elements of active labor market policies (ALMPs) such as subsidy for employment adjustment and benefits for continuing employment of older workers. These are, however, based on lifelong employment model, preventing rather than promoting labor mobility among companies. Other training programs and benefits are exclusively for those who are eligible for the Employment Insurance, which means first job seekers and long-term unemployed are not covered.

Following the collapse of bubble economy in 1991, Japan has experienced a long period of stagnation which is now called "the lost two decades". Since then, the traditional Japanese model has been seriously challenged. Young people could no longer easily get a stable job, because companies reduce the ratio of regular workers. Moreover, the number of involuntary unemployment jumped up after the Asian economic crisis in 1997, and rose again in recent years. Since 2003, some measures for youth unemployed were introduced. In 2008, in addition to the training program under the Employment Insurance scheme, government introduced Emergency Human Resource Development Program. Unemployed persons who cannot receive benefits from the Employment Insurance can take training program with 100,000-120,000 yen payment per month (there were 194,042 participants in 2010).

This paper examines the characteristics of ALMPs in Japan, and then evaluates the magnitude of its recent change by comparing it with OECD countries and other East Asian economies.

Taiwan has experienced the structural change in labor market after 1996 due to the intensified globalization and deindustrialization trend in general, and the increasing outflow FDI investment in China in particular. The unemployment rate has increased above 2% since 1996 and reached around 5% in 2002 and 2009 respectively. A series of policy measurements have been adopted to address the unemployment problems: the legislation of Unemployment Insurance Act (2002), The Act for Protecting the Massive Laid-Off Workers (2005), Projects for Sustainable Job Creation (2002-), Wage Subsidy Programs (2003-2010), Decentralizing Work Training Programs (2000).

The above mentioned programs focused on unemployed workers. Most of the target groups are male aged workers (50-65), which are specified as 'old-risks'affected groups. However, new groups also emerge during the industrial reconstruction process: the lone parents, youth workers and disabled workers. They are categorized as the affected groups of 'new risks'. After 2008 financial crisis, it seems these groups have become the focal groups of Taiwan's active labor market policy (ALMP). The policy considerations are more related to the so called 'social investment' strategy and linked to the consideration of adapting to knowledge-based post-industrial economy.

The economic development model of Taiwan had been characteristic with 'growth with equity' and enjoyed low unemployment rate with hyper-growth during 70's-80's. However, the structural change and challenges from globalization and deindustrialization pose huge challenges to the labor market in Taiwan. This paper aims to evaluate the policy outcomes of the policy measurements since 2000 for addressing the problem of working poor. Comparing with other East-Asian countries, the characteristics of Taiwan's work-welfare governing system and its nexus will also be examined in the final discussion.

Korea has been experiencing the problems of employmentand poverty against the backdrop of globalization. The 1990s wasa turning point for Korea in terms of economic and welfare policies.Since the 1990s the GDP growth rate of Korea has been decreasing, and the global economic crisis pulled downthe growth rate to a negative one.Korea searched for a new way of adjustment in both economic and welfare policies, and employed social policiesas instruments for the economic recovery, in particular, their labour markets. Consequently, Korea has started to examine how to link welfare and labour market policies.

The efforts were not only for extending social protection itself but also forseeking ways to link welfare policies with labour market policies, active labour market policy (ALMP).Employment Insurance and the National Basic Livelihood Security system arethe cases in which the government sought to link welfare and labour marketpolicies.Employment insurance consists of four programmes: an employment stabilizationprogramme, a job skill development programme, unemployment benefitsand maternity and parental leave benefits.While Employment Insurance is designed only for the unemployed whohave paid work experience, the National Basic Livelihood Security systemis for the vulnerable group generally. It basically assists those who make lessthan the minimum cost of living, but it also works as an inducement to makethem participate in or return to the labour market. Thus, the National BasicLivelihood Security scheme is complementary to the Employment Insurancescheme.

In this article, we examine the characteristics of the link between welfarepolicy and labour market policy in Korea, and review the development of ALMPs of Korea since the late 1990s. New strategies reflect the characteristics of the existingwelfare and labour market policies, and simultaneously show the possibility ofinstitutional innovation.Thus, the analysis of the link betweenwelfare and labour market policies in will provide a startingpoint to understand how seek to deal with the problems ofsocial protection and job provision within the existing institutional frameworkof welfare and labour market policies, and enable us to examine the futuredirection of the development of the welfare policies in Korea.

Hong Kong has been quoted as the most liberal economy and also a model of residual welfare. As commonly conceived, the social and economic system is characterized by a free market and low level of public intervention, with heavier emphasis on self-reliance through engaging in economic activities - work. Simultaneously, the social protection system was a social assistance scheme - Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) - serving as a safety net for those who cannot support themselves through work or other means of living.

While work - signifying the virtue of self-reliance - has been the core of Chinese society as well theHong Kong society, stable and continuous work has been a concern early 1990s resulted from massive relocation of local capital, especially manufacturing industries to Mainland leading to displacement of labor force. Investment in employee retraining programmes was adopted in early 1990s as the earliest form of Active Labor Market Policy (ALMP). With deepening concern in the increasing reliance on social assistance after the Asian financial crisis, the workfare programme - Support for Self-Reliance Scheme - was adopted in 1999 to motivate those claimants back to work. Since 2000s, a greater variety of ALMP has been introduced, covering more target groups, aiming at sustaining or improving the persons' employability and pushing those social assistance claimants back to work. 

This paper provides a review of the development of ALMPs in Hong Kong since late 1990s. The scale was in line with the severity of consecutive economic crises and the political pressure resulted. While with greater emphasis (and hence cultural approval) on work, condemnation on those able-bodied social assistance claimants has been intensified. Nevertheless, review shows that the scale of social assistance scheme has not been trimmed down, and the expense on ALMP programme is still relatively small. This, on one hand, shows that passive labor market policy - social assistance - cannot be trimmed down easily given the worsening economic conditions with disproportionate impacts on those vulnerable labor groups; and on another hand, the limited scale of the ALMP.

China's labour market experiences a massive change in recent years. From early 1980s to late 1990s, this country was reported with an unlimited supply of surplus labour, majorly from the rural regions. While the protests of the state owned enterprises (SOEs) laid-off workers had forced the government to introduce a retraining scheme for the urban citizens in 1990s, active policy to promote employment for the rural-urban migrant workers is minimal. In the recent years, however, this policy direction has experienced a gradual change, due to the pressure from a new phenomenon of 'shortage of labour' (min gong huang), unstable employment relationship and the raising labour cost in China. With the introduction of a number of new regulations, for examples, Labour Contact Law and Employment Promotion Law in 2008 and Social Insurance Law in 20011, the government has increasingly intervened into the labour market.

While all of these new legislations have strengthened the labour protections by guaranteeing workers rights with economic and social rights, its implementations have also created new problems. Labour Contract Law attempts to regulate employment relations and stabilize the labour market by promoting permanent contract, but it also gives loopholes for the employers to use dispatched labour. The Employment Promotion Law urges for local initiative for skill training and job searching service, but it gives rise to a new abuse of the massive usage of student interns for lowering the labour costs. As for the Social Insurance Law, it aims to provide a framework for the social protection for all of the population, essentially covering the migrant workers. However, its enforcement in the local context is still uncertain.

This article, one the one hand, provides a sociological account for the development of the Active Labor Market Policy (ALMP) in China; on the other hand, it provides a critical evaluation for the policy with empirical evidences.