Female non-regular workers in Japan: Their current status and health

Mariko Inoue, Mariko Nishikitani, Shinobu Tsurugano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The participation of women in the Japanese labor force is characterized by its M-shaped curve, which relects decreased employment rates during child-rearing years. Although, this M-shaped curve is now improving, the majority of women in employment are likely to fall into the category of non-regular workers. Based on a review of the previous Japanese studies of the health of non-regular workers, we found that non-regular female workers experienced greater psychological distress, poorer self-rated health, a higher smoking rate, and less access to preventive medicine than regular workers did. However, despite the large number of non-regular workers, there are limited researches regarding their health. In contrast, several studies in Japan concluded that regular workers also had worse health conditions due to the additional responsibility and longer work hours associated with the job, housekeeping, and child rearing. The health of non-regular workers might be threatened by the efects of precarious employment status, lower income, a lower safety net, outdated social norm regarding non-regular workers, and diiculty in achieving a work-life balance. A sector wide social approach to consider life course aspect is needed to protect the health and wellbeing of female workers’ health; promotion of an occupational health program alone is insuicient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-527
Number of pages7
JournalIndustrial health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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