Saturday, March 28, 2009

Eradicate Housing Poor ? Movement to Address Housing Poor Problem Starts

On March 14, 2009, a meeting was held in Tokyo to found a national network to address the problem of economic deprivation directly linked to “housing poor”. It was hosted by the “Network to Address the Housing Poor Problem”. About 200 people joined the meeting that was held at the Okubo Community Center in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. The participants, including supporters and experts on this issue made discussions based on emotional appeals from the troubled. They marched to Shinjuku after the meeting (photo), chanting slogans “Build public housing”, “Owners, don’t discriminate applicants”, “Reduce rents”, “Abolish the guarantor system”, “Control poverty business” and “Confront the housing poor problem”. It suddenly got colder in the evening, but the angry chants blew up the cold and resonated around Shinjuku Railway Station. (Reported by Yokoyama T)


Politicians’ Intervention in Classrooms Illegal ? Epoch-making Decision on Nanao School for Handicapped Children

The Tokyo District Court ordered the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and three metropolitan assembly members, Tsuchiya Takayuki (Democratic Party), Tashiro Hiroshi (Liberal Democratic Party) and Koga Toshiaki (LDP), to pay 2.1 million yen in total to 31 ex-teachers at Nanao School for Handicapped Children in Tokyo who requested compensation to them. The chief justice Yao Wataru judged, “The act of the three metropolitan assembly members to have entered the premises of the school and denounced the teachers at the nurse’s office was an intervention in school education based on their political principles and creeds. Therefore, it is feared to inhibit and distort autonomy of school education and falls under ‘undue control’ over it”, and ordered the defendants to pay the plaintiffs 50,000 to 200,000 yen per person. It was a groundbraking decision to criticize the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education that tolerated the political intervention. (Written by Johnny H) *Photo: Cited from news report

 東京・七生養護学校の元教職員31人が、都教委と都議に対して慰謝料を請求した裁判で、東京地裁は3月12日、都と土屋敬之(民主)・田代博嗣(自民)・古賀俊昭(自民)の3都議に計210万円の支払いを命じる判決を言い渡した。矢尾渉裁判長は「3都議が視察と称して校内に立ち入り、保健室において教員らを批判し非難した行為は、政治家である3都議がその政治的な主義・信条に基づき、学校教育に介入・干渉するものであり、学校における教育の自主性を阻害しこれを歪める危険のある行為で『不当な支配』に当たる」とし、都と3都議に対して5~20万円の慰謝料を原告らに支払うことを命じた。政治介入を容認した都教委を批判する画期的判決だった。(ジョニーH)  *写真=新聞報道より

Steve Zeltzer Encourages Kokuro Struggle Groups on Sit-in in Front of Parliament

On March 10, 2009, Steve Zeltzer, representative of LaborNet US, interviewed and encouraged Kokuro (National Railworkers Union) Struggle Group members and their families who were on sit-in to demand a political solution for their dismissal. There were some 250 demonstrators including about a hundred unfairly fired workers in front of the parliament. Mr. Zeltzer strongly appealed with a lot of applause, “Privatization caused the destruction of public services and the serious deterioration of working conditions in both the US and Japan. Nakasone (former Japanese prime minister) openly said in an NHK TV program, ‘Privatization was carried out to collapse Kokuro’, but this is a criminal act in violation of labor laws. Nakasone has to be arrested as a criminal and sent to jail”. (Written by M) Related HP


 3月10日、来日中のスティーブ・ゼルツアーさん(レイバーネット米国・写真)が、JR不採用問題の政治解決を求めて座り込んでいる国労闘争団・家族らを取材・激励した。この日国会前には、約100名の被解雇者を中心に計250名が座り込みを続けていた。マイクを握ったスティーブさんは「アメリカでも日本でも、民営化がもたらしたものは、公共サービスの破壊と労働条件の著しい悪化だった。ナカソネがNHKで堂々と“国労をつぶすために民営化をやった”と語っているが、これは労働法違反の犯罪行為である。ナカソネを犯罪者として逮捕し、刑務所に送るべきだ」と力強くアピールし、大きな拍手を浴びた。(M) ・関連HP

Just a Badge, yet Important ? Support Consistent Tsujii-san!

On March 2, 2009, an examination of a witness was held at Kanagawa Prefecture Labor Relations Commission to try the relevancy of punishment (suspension for maximum ten days) to Tsujii Yoshiharu, a staff of Hongodai Station of JR (Japan Rail) East and the only employee of the railway company who continues to wear a Kokuro union badge. Forty workers and citizens came to the examination in support of Mr. Tsujii. It focused on JR East’s refusal to rehire him after his age of retirement due to the badge. Four days later, an event hosted by JR Watch, “Support Tsujii-san”, was held. A new video and a new “Song of the Badge” were introduced, and Sataka Makoto, a critic, delivered a lecture with the title, “JR never learns”. It was revealed just recently that JR East “stole water” from a river, and its “money-first privatization” with little regard for safety and human rights will be questioned. * Relevant HP * Cartoon: Ichihanahana

たかがバッジ されどバッジ~筋をつらぬく辻井さんを応援しよう!
 3月2日、神奈川県労働委員会でJR東日本でただ一人国労バッジ着用を続ける辻井義春さん(JR本郷台駅勤務)への処分(最高10日間出勤停止)が不当であるか否かを審理する証人尋問が開催され、辻井さんを支援する労働者、市民40名が傍聴にかけつけた。JR東日本は、バッジを理由に定年後の再雇用を拒否する通告をしてきており、その問題がこの日の証人尋問の焦点になった。 また3月6日には東京・飯田橋で、JRウォッチ主催の「辻井さんを励ます会」が開催される。新作ビデオや「バッジの歌」の初披露をはじめ、佐高信さんが「懲りないJR」と題して辛口講演を行う。「水泥棒」が明らかになったばかりのJR東日本だが、安全と人権を軽視する「金儲け民営化体質」が改めて問われることになるだろう。 ・関連HP *漫画=壱花花

“One-Day Action in Osaka” with the Discharged in Struggle against Panasonic

I covered the One-day action in Osaka hosted by the National Council of Zenkoku Ippan trade union on March 2, 2009, which is affiliated to Jichiro (All-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers Union). Former Panasonic employees who were fired surrounded the headquarters of the electronic giant, showing the struggle being harder and harder. The action was also joined by Sato Masako in struggle against Panasonic Electric Works Co., Ltd., Yoshioka Tsutomu in struggle against Panasonic Plasma Display Co., Ltd., and Mr. Miyake who stood up against former Matsushita Refrigeration Company. It obviously implies the formation to confront a huge evil and a new direction of Japan’s labor movement. (Written by Kimura Osamu) * Other photos, videos (UnionTube) . Reported by Yamahara

 3月2日、全国一般全国協議会主催の大阪総行動を取材。パナソニック・グループと闘う解雇者が勢ぞろいし、パナソニック本社を包囲し、闘いの飛躍を実感させる力強い行動になりました。パナソニック電工と闘う佐藤昌子さん、松下プラズマ・ディスプレイと闘う吉岡力さん、そして松下冷機に対して立ち上がった三宅さんもかけつけ、いよいよ巨悪と立ち向かう陣形ができあがるとともに、日本の労働運動がまぎれもなく新たな方向に踏みだしていることを感じさせる行動でした。(木村修) 他の写真・動画(UnionTube)・報告(山原)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Life Charity Concert Mesmerizes Packed Auditorium

On February 28th, a charity concert “One Song, One Dance, One Life” was held to raise funds for a War and Women Human Rights Museum. The auditorium was packed with close to 900 spectators who were mesmerized by the performance held at Tokyo Hitotsubashi Hall. This concert was held in June last year in Osaka where it was well received, and this time the concert was held in Tokyo under the same name. The three zanichi (Koreans residing in Japan) performers Su-ok Cho (dance), Jeong-mi Lee (song) and Seong-mi Ang (Pansori Korean music) dazzled the audience. The program was the same as in Osaka with Pansori, dance, and song, but the art of each performance in three different genres was so interesting that it deeply impressed the packed audience. The audience was diverse including the old and the young, healthy and people with disabilities (Reported by KY).

満員の観客を魅了した「つながるいのち チャリティーコンサート」
 2月28日「つながる歌 つながる舞 つながるいのち」と題して、戦争と女性の人権博物館建設のためのチャリティーコンサートが東京一ツ橋ホールで開催され、900人弱の座席を満員にする観客を魅了して終了した。このコンサートは昨年6月に大阪で開催され大好評を博した同名のコンサートを東京で開催したもので、出演者は在日コリアンの趙寿(舞)、李政美(歌)、安聖民(パンソリ)の3人。演目はパンソリ、舞、歌と大阪の時とおなじであるが、ジャンルのことなる3つの分野の第一人者による見ごたえの在る芸術表現は満場の感動を誘った。お年寄りから子供、健常者からハンディキャッパーまで観客は年代を問わず幅広かった。(KY生)

Demand that Mitsubishi Fuso Recognize the Right Of Laid Off Workers To Stay In Dorms!

On February 26th, the union successfully managed to get Mitsubishi Fuso to recognize their members’ right to stay in the company dorm as a result of negotiations between Mitsubishi Fuso and Shutoken Youth Union (see photo on right). Members were laid off by the labor hire agency after Mitsubishi Fuso terminated its contract with the agency. Shutoken Youth Union won this recognition from Mitsubishi Fuso by campaigning outside its head office with slogans such as “We can’t leave the company dorms” and “We demand that Mitsubishi Fuso recognize our right to stay”. This is a significant victory because it recognizes the right of labor hire workers to stay in company dorms after their contracts have been terminated by the labor hire agency (Reported by Shutoken Youth Union). *Photo taken in front of Keidanren on Feb. 25th.

 2月26日、三菱ふそうと首都圏青年ユニオンとの交渉の結果、三菱ふそうに派遣契約を打ち切られたために派遣会社から解雇されたユニオン組合員(写真右)の三菱ふそうの社員寮の居住について、その継続を認めさせることに成功した。首都圏青年ユニオンは、「寮から退去することはできない」「三菱ふそうは居住の権利を認めろ」と三菱ふそう本社前での宣伝行動をおこない、三菱ふそうとの合意を勝ち取った。この合意は、派遣先企業の社員寮に派遣契約が打ち切られた以降の派遣労働者の居住権を認めさせたという点できわめて重要である。(首都圏青年ユニオン)  *写真=2/25経団連前

Anti-Poverty Campaign Callout. “No Cuts” Performance Held In Front of Keidanren

In the light rain during the lunch break on February 25th, a performance of “No Cuts” was held in front of the Keidanren. The call out for the performance was made by the Anti-poverty Campaign. The police mobilized large numbers of riot police and security guards, and their overreaction was highly visible as they threatened to arrest the organizers in the campaign vehicle for “illegal parking”. Despite such intimidation, some 150 members of the Shutoken Youth Union, Tobu Union, Gatenkei-Rentai, and Women’s Union turned out for the performance. One of the speakers “S”, a worker from Mitsubishi Fuso who had been made redundant at the end of February and told to leave the company dorms, protested that: “I’ve got no money, no job. They say leave, but I can’t.” The crowd shouted words of encouragement such as “You don’t have to leave!” The final performance involved all the participants raising their placards saying “No Cuts” to voice their protest against the Keidanren. Click link to see photos from Mkimpo, link to Anti-Poverty Campaign homepage, or video from UnionTube.

 2月25日昼、小雨まじりの東京・経団連ビル前で反貧困ネットが呼びかけた「切るな」パフォーマンスが行われた。警察は、機動隊と公安を大動員し、主催者の宣伝カーを「駐車違反で逮捕する」と脅すなど異常な過剰警備が目立った。そんななか首都圏青年ユニオン・東部労組・ガテン系連帯・女性ユニオンなどアクティブなユニオンメンバーが続々と集まり、150人に膨れあがった。派遣切りで2月末で寮退去を迫られている三菱ふそうのSさんが「金も仕事もない。出ろと言われても出られない」と訴えると「出なくていいぞ!」と激励の声が飛んだ。参加者は、最後に「切るな」のプラカードを一斉に掲げるパフォーマンスを行い、首切りの総本山・経団連に怒りをぶつけた。 ムキンポ氏の写真反貧困ネットHP(リンク)・動画(UnionTube)

Some 525 people gather to protest against layoffs in Aichi. Mr. Yuasa spoke on the plight of workers who can’t say "No".

On February 22nd, a mass meeting was held in Aichi at the Telepia Hall in Nagoya in order to protest the successive layoff of labor hire workers in the manufacturing industry (see photo). Some 525 citizens and others gathered to the meeting to hear the plight of the laid off workers and Mr. Yuasa’s speech, the organizer of the Tent City that was held over the New Years period. Mr. Yuasa highlighted that: “The Tent City was not simply charity. It is a campaign to enable workers to get out of the downward spiral into poverty, which forces them to accept the degradation of their work conditions, and create a healthy labor market that allows workers to say “No!” to these attacks”. (Reported by Tooru Sakai). Photo provided by Nagoya Fureai Union (click link).

 製造業における相次ぐ「派遣切り」に抗議するため、2月22日、名古屋のテレピアホールで「愛知派遣切り抗議大集会」が開催された(写真)。集会には市民など525人が詰めかけ、「派遣切り」にあった当事者からの訴えや、年越し派遣村村長の湯浅誠さんの講演に耳を傾けた。湯浅さんは「派遣村は単なる救済運動ではない。どこまでも自らの労働条件を切り下げていかなければならない労働者に、『貧困すべりだい』からはい上がる階段を付け、『No!と言える労働者』を作り出して、健全な労働市場再び回復するための運動だ」と語った。(酒井徹) *写真提供=名古屋ふれあいユニオン(リンク)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

2/16 Tokyo Collective Action: Joint Action Held With Non-Permanent and Foreign Workers

On February 16th, I covered and participated in the Tokyo Collective Action, a joint action involving the unions and individuals in the disputes against the layoffs and attempts to crush unionism. Unions included the Keihin Hotel Union, who had been fighting hotel closure by running the hotel independently of management, and Brazilian workers from the Kanagawa City Union (see photo). Others were also present such as Tsutomu Yoshioka, involved in the dispute against the use of contract workers who do not have the benefits of labor hire workers, Fukuzou Honda, a worker who was laid off during his trial period, and the National Railway Workers, who have been fighting for over 22 years against the privatization of rail. Those involved in the Toyota Philippines dispute also participated. It was an invigorating day and I felt that the global campaign to build joint action between non-permanent and foreign workers was gaining strength in Japan’s labor movement (Reported by Osamu Kimura).


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Never Meekly Accept It - Takeshi Kitagawa, a Fixed-term Employee at Honda Motor Rises

A trade union for protecting the rights of fixed term employees has been organized at Honda Motors Co., Ltd. Union Mie Honda Unit. On February, Union Mie publicly presented its member Mr. Takeshi Kitagawa (at the right in the photo) to submit a letter of request to the headquarters of Honda. Mr. Kitagawa's appeal says, "Why are we "term" employees put in a weak position? It is because we are not organized in a union, I suppose. A labor union is not a privilege only granted to regular employees. It is a right granted to all workers under Article 28 of the Constitution of Japan."
* Photo = A scene from a press briefing at the prefectural office.

 期間契約社員の権利を守るための労働組合が本田技研で結成されました。ユニオンみえ・ホンダユニットです。ユニオンみえは2月10日、北川剛組合員(写真右)を公然化させ、ホンダ本社に要求書を提出しました。北川さんは訴えます。「私たち“期間”はなぜ弱いのでしょうか。1760人もいるのに会社の言いなりで泣き寝入りしなくてはならないのでしょうか。それは一人一人がばらばらで、労働組合に入っていないからではないでしょうか。労働組合は正社員にだけ認められた特権ではありません。憲法28条ですべての労働者に認められている権利です」。 *写真=県庁記者会見 

Topple Aso! Topple the Cabinet! Action - Lively Demonstration in Shinjuku, Tokyo

"Hey, Aso, don't demise automatically. Wait so we can knock you down properly!" --- A demonstration took place on February 8 an the main streets of Shinjuku, Tokyo, calling to stand up for democracy instead of allowing irresponsible self-demolition of the administration (staged by an ad hoc committee). Starting at the Okubo Park behind the Shinjuku Koma Theatre, about 200 participants went through Kabukicho to the Yasukuni street. A video-shooting crew from the security police was before the front line of the demonstration. Police officers from the PR section repeated spiritless warnings while walking around with a transistor megaphone. In the face of surrounding policemen in uniform or in plane clothes, participants mightily beat the instruments they had brought with them and appealed loudly in rhythmical chants, "Get down, Aso! Let's overthrow Aso!" This performancewas even more vitalized with participants in ingenious guises. (Y) See the initiator's blog.

 「おい麻生、勝手に倒れるな!倒させろ!」--無責任な自壊を許さず、民主主義を守ろうと呼びかけたデモ行進が2月8日、東京・新宿のメインストリートを縦断した(主催・実行委)。コマ劇場裏手の大久保公園から出発した約200人の参加者は、歌舞伎町を抜け、靖国通りへ。デモの先頭のさらに前に、公安のビデオ撮影隊が張りつく。広報の警官が、トラメガを抱えて歩きながら、生気のない警告を繰り返している。参加者は、取り囲む私服・制服警官を物ともせずに、持ち寄った楽器を激しく打ち鳴らし、「麻生はやめろ!麻生を倒せ!」と、リズミカルなコールで訴えた。思い思いの仮装で加わった仲間も、パフォーマンスを盛りあげた。(Y) 主催者ブログ

Unacceptable JR-Lumine Business Practice - "Meeting for Listening to BERG's Story" Takes Place

On February 5, JR Watch held a "Meeting for Listening to BERG's Story" in Tokyo. Beer & Cafe BERG located near the east ticket gate of the Shinjuku Station has 19-year long history and is extremely popular among customers for the high-quality coffee and beer offered at reasonable prices. At present, however, the shop is urged to move out by the end of March 2009 by Lumine, a subsidiary of JR East. The meeting featured a three-minute video followed by detailed explanation of the development of the matter by the shop manager Mr. Ino (left) and the assistant shop manager Mr. Hasamagawa (right). Lumine had demanded change of the contract by means of threatening, stroking and deceiving. Their techniques were exactly the same as those employed in persecuting Kokuro (National Railway Workers' Union). BERG for customers, operated according to an utterly different principle from JR's profit-driven business practices. The thirty participants of the meeting had a brainstorming session for expanding the support for BERG. (M) (See the three-minute video of BERGBERG HP)

 2月5日、JRウォッチ主催の「ベルクの話を聞く会」が都内で開かれた。新宿東口改札そばにある「ビア&カフェ・ベルク」は19年の歴史をもち、質の高いコーヒー・ビールを低額で提供し大人気を博している。しかし現在、JR東日本の子会社「ルミネ」から09年3月での立退きを迫られている。この日の会では3分ビデオ上映後、井野店長(左)と迫川副店長(右)から、この間の経緯をじっくり聞いた。ルミネは意に沿わない店を追い出すために、脅し・すかし・だましで契約変更を迫ってきた。そのやり方は、まさにかつての国労イジメの手口と同じだった。JRの金儲け商法の対極にある「お客のための店・ベルク」。参加者30名は、ベルク応援の輪を拡げようと知恵をだしあった。(M) ベルクHP

Mechanism of the World Financial Crisis Unfolding! - DVD of the Lecture by Takashi Hirose Released

The November 2008 regular meeting of the Asia Press Club had a lecture by Mr. Takashi Hirose entitled "Who is the culprit of the financial crisis?" which has recently been released in the form of a DVD. Mr. Hirose (see the photo) tactfully used PowerPoint images and documented material to show the essential of the world finacial crisis and its mechanism in a straight forward manner. In particular, he gave real names of the persons in the US financial circles and in the pivotal positions of the US administration as "the financial criminals." The audience appreciated this lecture highly as "an awakening lecture." Asia Press Club has released the DVD in haste in order to distribute the contents of the lecture to a broader range of people. Priced at 1500 yen.


Press Conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan on the Issue of Poverty and Employment

On February 4, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, based in Tokyo, had a press conference on the povety and employment issues. The three guest speakers were Mr. Makoto Yuasa, the director general of NPO Moyai; Mr. Makoto Kawazoe, the secretary general of the Metropolitan Youth Union (General Youth Chapter of Tokyo Metropolitan General Workers' Union); and Ms. Naoko Shimizu, the president of FRZK (union of general part-timers, arbiters, freeters and foreign workers) (see the photo). At the beginning, the DVD "Tent City for Jobless" (6 minutes, English version) was shown. Mr. Yuasa said, "Within labor market, the quality of employment has degraded as represented in the worker dispatch business and outside the labor market, no safety net is functioning. These are the causes of the povety peculiar to the situation in Japan where unemployment immediately means the homeless status," pointing out the two factors in particular. Mr. Kawazoe reported on the inhumane working conditions of dispatched workers. Ms. Shimizu released the new action development, saying, "Our union would like to rent apartments so that we can provide inexpensive shelters for laid-off dispatched workers."
See "Tent Village for Jobless, English version, the animation on the press conference (TVJAN))

 2月4日、東京・外国特派員協会で貧困・雇用問題の記者会見があった。NPOもやい事務局長の湯浅誠さん・首都圏青年ユニオン書記長の河添誠さん・フリーター全般労組委員長の清水直子さんの3名がゲスト(写真)。冒頭、ビデオプレス制作の「年越し派遣村」(6分・英語版)が上映された。湯浅さんは「失業した途端にホームレスになってしまう日本型貧困の原因は、労働市場の中では派遣など雇用の質が劣化したこと、労働市場の外ではセイフティネットが機能していないこと」の二つを指摘した。河添さんは、派遣労働の非人間的実態を報告。清水さんは「アパートを組合で借り上げ、シェルターとして“派遣切り”労働者に安く提供したい」と新たな活動展開を明らかにした。 ・ビデオ「年越し派遣村」英語版会見動画(TVJAN)