Co-Living to Foster Corporate Community
It is a common practice for unmarried new graduates in Japan to live in a corporate dormitory. Many big companies started offering corporate dormitories during Japan’s rapid growth years and this trend is still maintained.
The intention of major Japanese corporations is to provide single male employees with financial support and foster a sense of community. There are fewer dormitories for female employees, but major Japanese corporations, especially in the financial sector, provide dormitories for females. Corporations also provide subsidized housing for young families. Dormitory life helps build the traditional corporate culture in Japan by identifying the company as family.
Given the high cost of housing in Japan (especially in the metropolitan area and other major cities), corporate dormitories are great benefits offering clean accommodations for a fraction of what an apartment would cost. Since starting salaries are relatively low for fresh graduates, dormitories provide great benefits.
Due to difficult economic conditions and deflationary pressure, average salaries have steadily decreased while rents have remained flat, resulting in pressure on individuals and households. Employee demand for dormitories has thus remained strong.
Up until the 1990s, companies owned and operated their own corporate housing and dormitory facilities. However, at the turn of the century these companies started to execute sale & lease-back restructurings to strengthen their balance sheets, increase portfolio flexibility, and outsource maintenance. It is now more common for companies to lease rather than own.