For a fortunate few there is a once in a lifetime opportunity at graduation to join a prestige company in Japan's large-enter­ prise sector and hopefully to join its elite of regular workers. If this opportunity is missed, there remains the possibility of obtaining regular work in a smaller, less prestigious firm. Other than entrepreneurship, an alternative is to work on a nonregular basis. The majority of Japanese workers in the private sector, who work in small or medium size firms or on a nonregular basis, are Japan's peripheral workers. For these workers, firm size and employment status are two aspects of work that have a major effect on working conditions and relationships between management and labour.