Outsourcing Japan

Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry

David Rooney

Outsourcing is a growing practice in Japan’s business sector.

A survey conducted by the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry, in 1997 showed that 20.1% of outsourcing firms outsourced their job training, compared with 19.7% for information systems, 17.4% for production processes, 14% for accountancy and tax affairs and 13.7% for R&D. The MITI survey found that more than 70% of firms which had outsourced with the aim of increasing specialisation, maximising efficiency and reducing costs had achieved their objectives.

Firms deciding to outsource were looking for a range of advantages, such as improving management efficiency, cutting costs and providing business flexibility. Many firms used outsourcing simply to carry out internal restructuring. Firms reported that by using external specialised resources they were able to expand their information networks; improve the employment-related benefits enjoyed by employees; and even avail themselves of useful performance assessment by the outsourced service.

Surveyed firms agreed that outsourcing allowed them to concentrate on their core activities. It is expected that outsourcing will continue to grow in Japan and may extend to such areas as marketing, labour recruitment services, vocational education and job training. In the long term, outsourcing is expected to revitalise Japan’s economy and promote industrial restructuring. With the economic recovery in sight, perhaps this has already begun to happen.

Bibliography

Research on the Outsourcing Industry, Services Division, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Japan 1997.

See also:

"The rise and rise of the strategic business service", OECD Observer No 219, December 1999. 

"Personnel wanted", OECD Observer No 219, December 1999. 

©OECD Observer No 219, December 1999




Economic data

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • When someone asks me to describe an ideal girl, in my head, she is a person who is physically and mentally independent, brave to speak her mind, treated with respect just like she treats others, and inspiring to herself and others. But I know that the reality is still so much different. By Alda, 18, on International Day of the Girl. Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • How do the largest community of British expats living in Spain feel about Brexit? Britons living in Orihuela Costa, Alicante give their views.
  • Brexit is taking up Europe's energy and focus, according to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. Watch video.
  • OECD Chief Economist Catherine Mann and former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King discuss the economic merits of a US border adjustment tax and the outlook for US economic growth.
  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa. blogs.worldbank.org
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2017