So, why didn’t the government include non-regular public employees in the Labor Contract Act revision?
The answer is simple: they were never included in the law to begin with.
Unlike private sector employees, public sector employees (including direct hire ALTs) exist in something of a legal limbo when it comes the laws that are supposed to protect them.
In Japan, non-regular private sector employees are protected by the “Act on Improvement, etc. of Employment Management for Part-Time Workers” (短時間労働者の雇用管理の改善等に関する法律), and the “Labor Contract Act” of 2007 (労働契約法).
The Labor Contract Act was revised in 2012 to include the limited- to unlimited-contract conversion path for non-regular employees, which is the revision that came into full effect on April 1st, 2018.
However, neither the Labor Contract Act nor the Act on Improvement, etc. of Employment Management for Part-Time Workers apply to non-regular public sector employees due to provisions within both laws.
Article 22 of the Labor Contract Act states:
Similarly, Article 43 of the Part-Time Workers Act says more or less the same thing:
As you can see, even though Japan currently employs three non-regular public employees for every one regular public employee, non-regular public employees exist outside the scope of both the Labor Contract Act and the Part-Time Workers Act.
There is a chance that this will be challenged in court in the future, and how those courts interpret the scope of law (or lack thereof) is something that will take time to work through the various levers of society.