In Japan, the modern social security system dates back the 1947 Constitution. The “Universal coverage in public pension and health insurance” was introduced in 1961. The typical features of Japanese welfare state have included an “uneven generosity of social benefit programmes, a fragmentation along occupational lines (and) a focus on “male breadwinners”” (H. Conrad). These few features lead to qualify the Japanese system as a “conservative” one regarding the welfare regimes literature (Esping Andersen). In Japan, as in the European Union, these welfare regimes are facing common challenges jeopardizing the existing social order and the social cohesion as well. Among theses challenges, the segmentation of the labour market and the rise of the non-regular positions threaten the social security arrangements. Many people, especially women, are unable to meet the requirements and lose their eligibility. In the context of ageing populations – much more significant in Japan – the presentation will aim at comparing the so-called “conservative” European systems responses (France, Germany, the Netherlands…) and the Japanese ones to these challenges. Is marketization definitely shaping welfare and inequality, or, are innovative thinking and initiatives able to foreshadow new and more inclusive social models?