Japanese labour market practices have attracted considerable attention in the West for two reasons. Firstly, innovative human resource management (HRM) is responsible for the development of competitive industrial sectors. Secondly, inner flexibility of the labour market has produced low unemployment and wage flexibility. This study, originally published in 2000, provides a thorough investigation of the distinctive features of Japanese internal labour markets (ILM) and occupational labour markets (OLM), closely analyses important changes in ILM and considers future developments. It combines a mixture both of descriptive and of theoretical and econometric work and builds on the authors' wel- known previous research in this area. Also contains a detailed case study and the econometric analysis of HRM policies used by a large Japanese firm. Although the focus is on Japanese ILM, international comparisons are made throughout, mainly with reference to Europe and the United States.