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Is there any reason to use one tense over the other with this verb (and others like it such as 出動, as in軍隊が出動する)?

Based on the following sample sentences from my Apple dictionary, they seem interchangeable.

財務省から研究所に出向させられた

He was seconded from the Ministry of Finance to a research institute.

大学から付属病院に出向している

He is on loan from the university to the university hospital.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

「[出向]{しゅっこう}する」 is the plain active voice form.

「出向させられる」 is the causative passive voice form.

As far as what these two forms not only imply but explicitly express to the native speakers, there is a world of difference between them and therefore, they are rarely, if ever, interchangeable. That they might appear interchangeable in their English translations is of little to no significance (as usual).

「出向する」 expresses no feelings about getting seconded to another place to work. It simply describes the physical and objective fact. It expresses a neutral viewpoint.

「出向させられる」 is all subjective and it expresses the negative feelings that one has about getting seconded to another place to work. One was "forced" to make the move and one is "suffering". I am pretty sure you have heard the term "the suffering passive voice" used in Japanese because even I have heard it when I have never studied Japanese using English as a medium language.

So, if you are happy or you need to sound happy about your 出向, you say 「出向しています」. When you can be honest about your negative feelings regarding your 出向, like when talking to a friend, you would say 「出向させられた~(泣)」.

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