Akio Toyoda, who is also the president of Toyota Motor, made the remarks during Monday’s news conference held by Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, which he chairs.
Employment until retirement has, in the past, been widely regarded as a source of strength among Japanese firms.
Toyoda said that for employers who have to preserve jobs and pay taxes, it is difficult to sustain lifetime employment unless more incentive is created for companies.
Toyoda also said people seeking jobs now have a wider choice of work styles, such as a temporary or mid-career employment.
Toyoda also referred to trade friction between the United States and China. He said Japanese auto manufacturers are seeking its growth in the overseas market, but highlighted that there are many uncertainties.
He added that Japan depends on a free trade system, but protectionist ideas are spreading worldwide.