Freeters ( フリーターfurītā ) is a Japanese term for People Who Lack full-time employment or are unemployed, excluding housewives and students. The term originally included young people who deliberately did not get to salary-men , even though jobs were available at the time.

Freeters may also be described as underemployed . These people do not start a career after high school or university, but instead earn money from low-skilled and low-paid jobs.

The word freeters gold freeta Was first used around 1987 or 1988 and is thought to be a portmanteau of the English word free (gold Perhaps freelance ) and the German word Arbeiter ( “plow”). Arubaito is a Japanese loanwordfrom Arbeiter , and perhaps from Arbeit (“work”). As German (along with English) was used in Japanese universities before World War II , especially for science and medicine, arubaito became a part of the world.


About 10% of high school and university graduates could find permanent employment in the spring of 2000, and a full 50% of those who were unemployed. The employment situation is worse for youngest freeters.

From 2000-2009, the number of freeters increased rapidly. In 1982 there were an estimated 0.5 million freeters in Japan, 0.8 million in 1987, 1.01 million in 1992 and 1.5 million in 1997. The number for 2001 is 4.17 million freeters according to one estimate, and 2 million in 2002 according to another estimate. According to some estimates, there will be 10 million freeters in Japan by 2014.

Many Japanese people worry about the future impact of freeters on society. If they work at freelance workplaces, supermarkets, fast food outlets, restaurants, and other low paying, low skill jobs. According To a survey by the Japan Institute of Labor in 2000, the average freeters works 4.9 days per week and EARNS ¥ 139,000 per month (ca. US $ 1,300). Two thirds of freeters have never had a regular, full-time job. quote needed ]

The rise of the business of self-employment. Some experts predict that Japan’s aging population will create a career that will increase.


The Japan Institute of Labor classifies freeters into three groups: the ” moratorium type” that wants to wait before starting a career, the ” dream pursuing type”, and the ” no alternative type”.

  • The moratorium type of freeter wants to enjoy life, and deliberately chooses not to join the race of the Japanese work environment .
  • The dream pursuing type has specific dreams incompatible with a standard Japanese career.
  • The no alternative type could not find a decent job before high school or university graduation in the system called ” simultaneous recruiting of new graduates ” ( 新 卒 一 括 採用Shinsotsu-Ikkatsu-Saiyō ) , which is unique to Japanese society. Those left behind by Shinsotsu-Ikkatsu-Saiyō are forced to take low paying irregular jobs. This usually has to do with their dropout status from previous educational institutes. Those who dropped out of high school have the worst prospects.


Difficulties starting their own household

Many freeters live for free with their parents as parasite singles . Parents in Japan usually do not force their offspring out of the house. Once the parents die, the children will have to pay for their housing themselves. Even if they inherit the house or apartment, they still have to bear the costs of ownership.

Japanese housing is compact, and is too small for two families. If they want to find their own housing, usually at their own expense.

Difficulties starting a career

Starting a career is becoming more difficult as a teacher, as Japanese companies prefer to hire new workers from high school or university. While the employment situation is changing, large traditional companies still see a new employee as a lifetime investment. citation needed ] They would prefer to hire a person who would like to be a better person. quote needed ]

Often the only option left for freeters is to continue working at low income part-time jobs, making it difficult to establish their own household. Some join the many homeless in Japan.

Health and pension insurance

Part-time jobs usually do not include any health or retirement benefits. Freeters’ low income makes payment of medical expenses onerous.

The biggest problem is that the Japanese pension system is based on the number of years. The term usually has little or no pension insurance or savings, which can not be avoided.

Japan faces the problem of an aging population. The pension system will be increasing as the ratio of pensioners to workers increases.

Freedom of choice

The advantage of being a freelancer is more of a choice, and more time for hobbies, volunteering, and community service. If they are living with their parents, they can spend their entire income on themselves.

Effect on Japanese society

Freeters lack the benefits of union membership, which would give them some legal protection against firing.

While they are young, they usually live with their parents and have disposable income that would otherwise go towards rent. Their spending helps the manufacturing sector of the Japanese economy .

By living in the same house as their parents and often not owning a car, freeters have a much lower impact on the natural environment than “high consumption” members of society owning cars.

Large numbers of workers in their thirties may have a significant impact on the current corporate culture of Japan. It can change hiring and employment practices, especially since they are predicted by the nation’s aging population.

Many male freeters have marrying difficulties because of their low income. They may well have children in life, or not at all. This will be further developed in Japan and the social and economic problems related to the aging population, such as underfunding of the Japanese pension system . As of today, freeters pay no money in the pension system. The situation could become even worse in the future, the ratio of workers to pensioners decreases, and the rate of change.

The Japanese government has established a number of offices called Young Support Plaza to help young people find jobs. These offices offer basic training for job hunting: teaching young people how to write a summary , and how to conduct themselves during interviews. The demand for their services has been fairly low so far.

See also

  • List of gairaigo and wasei-eigo terms
  • Boomerang Generation
  • Dead-end job
  • Education in Japan
  • Herbivore men
  • Kodokushi
  • McJob
  • precariat
  • NEET
  • Sampo generation
  • Simultaneous recruiting of new graduates
  • twixter
  • Waithood
  • Work aversion

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