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Shukko (出向, from 出るmeaning to leave and 向う meaning to go towards) is a form of job transfer occurring in Japanese companies. A “Shukko” most often stands for a transfer of an employee from a main branch of a company to a branch office of the same company or an associated company. Rarely, it might be towards a non-affiliated company as well. 
The main characteristic of the so-called “Japanese style of business administration” is lifetime employment (or 終身雇用 in Japanese). Because of that, Shukko has a key role in the support and sustainment of this Japanese style of long term employment.
In Japan, Shukko has a negative reputation, because it is often used as a way to reduce personnel expenses in a company. However there are also positive aspects of Shukko – cases where it is used as a way to give employees the chance to gather corporate experience and broaden their careers. (Futagami et al., 1998)
Types of Shukko
Since each company makes their own conditions for Shukko, it is hard to clearly separate the different types of Shukko. However, looking at what the purpose for Shukko is, two types can be defined:
This type involves the previously described positive aspect of Shukko. In this type, most often employees transfer on their own will, because they see this as an opportunity to gather experience and “step up” in the company – gain a promotion or a bonus.
This type is the main reason for the negative reputation of Shukko. Because of the lifetime employment and seniority system, companies have to force employees to transfer to another post in an attempt to reduce personnel expenses. The Nenko System (or simply put - the longer you stay in the company, the higher your salary grows) is the complete opposite of the merit-based wage system. What happens is, that in the seniority system most often employees end up receiving salaries that do not respond to their abilities, and that is the main reason companies resort to said forced transfers.
- Futagami , S., Waragai, T., & Westphal, T. (June 1998). Shukko in Japanese Companies and Its Economic and Managerial Effects, WZB SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH CENTER BERLIN, FS IV 98 - 5 , 1-4 page. Retrieved: http://bibliothek.wzb.eu/pdf/1998/iv98-5.pdf [July 17, 2014]
- 弁護士として公認会計士として金融庁出向経験は Asahi Judiciary Retrieved:http://judiciary.asahi.com/corporatelaw/2014031300001.html [March 24, 2014]
- リコー出向取り消しへ Nikkei.com Retrieved:http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNASDG_Z10C14A7CR8000/ [July 19, 2014]
- 震災復興支援機構に出向して岩手県沿岸部で働いた経験 Journal of Law and Economics Retrieved: http://judiciary.asahi.com/corporatelaw/2014041500001.html [April 21, 2014]
- 出向という名の「追い出し部屋」 Asahi Shinbun Retrieved: http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG7M7VYFG7MUEHF00W.html [July 14, 2013]