Friday, June 9, 2023

"This country is broken, shame on the government!" Government forces through unjust immigration bill



On June 8th at just past 10 am, a contentious and regressive immigration bill was passed when the Japanese House of Councillors Committee on Judicial Affairs suspended deliberations and forced a vote. Protesters voicing their opposition to the bill gathered from early in the morning at the National Diet Library, where their calls could be heard by those in the committee room.


Video (Japanese)



The immigration bill is an assault on the rights of asylum seekers, immigrants, and even those born in Japan. It allows for those with a pending asylum application to be deported and makes it a crime to have irregular residence status. Japan’s rates of asylum application acceptance are abysmally low by world standards at less than 1 percent. And the criminalization of those with irregular statuses would put thousands at risk of arrest and deportation, including children born and raised in Japan.

Ippei Torii from the Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan led the protest calls, singling out Diet members by name and calling “No vote!” and “No murderous immigration bill!”. Before long, the protestors’ rage reached a boiling point, the news had come that the bill had passed.


Torii called out “Although we were overcome by the raw numbers in the Diet, those of us on the ground will continue to put human rights at the center of our struggle, and fight for a multi-ethnic, multicultural society! We will not be defeated by this unjust bill.”


Author Ichie Watanabe, who participated in the protest, when asked for a statement said “There’s too many things I want to say. They fed the public a pack of lies and forced the bill through. It’s unforgivable. Is this really a government for the people? This country is broken, shame on the government!”



Shouichi Ibusuki, a labor and immigration lawyer, posted the following on facebook in response to the passage of the bill:

The unjust immigration bill was forced through by the government. It’s the beginning of the end of the immigration system! The source of the Immigration Bureau's’ authority is that its inner-workings are a complete black-box, hidden from the public. During the deliberations some of these secrets were dragged out. The Bureau is on its last legs. When the government forced a vote on the bill, it became clear that the immigration system cannot survive for long as it currently exists.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Unions fight back against large-scale state repression of labor organizing in Kansai concrete industry

From 10 a.m. to noon on New Year’s Day, roughly 460 people from the Kinki and Tokai regions of Japan gathered at the Osaka Prefectural Police Headquarters and angrily protested the unfair treatment and persecution of a regional union. The now-annual event was led by a group whose name translated to English is “The Executive Committee to Stop the Suppression of Labor Unions.”

After opening remarks by the Secretary General of the Education Workers and Amalgamated Union Osaka, who chaired the event, Katsuhiko Kobayashi, the Chair of the Osaka branch of the All Japan Dockworkers Union, known as Zenkowan in Japanese, gave a speech on behalf of the Executive Committee. “For the first two years we demanded that the police release our comrades. Now, in the 5th year of this struggle, it is more important than ever that we keep up the pressure” Kobayashi said.

Kobayashi’s remarks refer to the suppression and persecution by the police and organized crime of the Kansai Concrete Branch of the All Japan Construction and Transportation Solidarity Union, often called Kannama for short in Japanese. Around 90 members of the militant and highly active union have been arrested, with one member held in jail for nearly two years without a trial. Many have been charged with obstruction of business or attempted extortion for routine union activities such as handing out union flyers and conducting safety and labor inspections. Kannama members have also alleged that they have been intimidated by members of organized crime organizations.

After chants led by the Secretary General of Kannama, the union’s Committee Chair, Yukawa, spoke about 3 court decisions in which the union is the defendant that are expected to come in 2023. Stating that the prosecution's arguments were completely false, and that they were operating on the principle that “...If you tell a lie 100 times it becomes true.” Yukawa said that the union can not allow this, and that the union and its supporters will continue to fight the cases.

Statements of support were also given by representatives from the Kyoto-Shiga Executive Committee of the Tokai Organization to Stop the Suppression of Kannama, the Kobe branch of the Hyogo Zenkowan, the Hyogo Union, the Osaka National Trade Union Council, the Nakama Union, the Kansai Joint Labor Union, among others.

Yuko Murayama, the chair of the Takatsuki Medical and Welfare Labor Union, spoke about her intention to run in the local elections this spring. After a musical performance in support of nurses as they fight to stop funding cutbacks, there were more words of support from the Organization to Oppose Nuclear Power in Wakaba, the Kyoto University Student Association, and the Kyoto Committee to Oppose X-band Radar Military Bases. Akiko Oishi, a member of the Rentai Union and member of the Lower House of the National Diet, said “Some accuse Kannama Union of being a gang, but the real criminals are the government administration and the Innovation party” referring to the Osaka Prefectural Government’s ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party and their smaller ideological ally, the Japan Innovation Party.

Former Kadoma City Councilor Hisayoshi Toda and Toyonaka City Councilor Makoto Kimura, both members of the Solidarity Councilors Network, also gave their support. Yamakawa of the Nakama Union also expressed his intention to contest the Osaka Joto Ward election with the appeal "No casino in Osaka!"

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

JAL workers still fighting unfair dismissals from 2010




​​350 people gathered at the Bunkyo Ward Community Center in Tokyo on December 9th to show their support for 165 Japan Airlines (JAL) workers who were unfairly dismissed in 2010. The gathering included 32 of the unfairly dismissed employees who are still fighting to reach a fair settlement. On July 29th, two unions representing the workers, the Crew Members Union (Jouin Kumiai) and the Cabin Crew Union, accepted an offer from JAL to reinstate the workers as fixed-term contractors on a 2 year basis, which would leave the workers' jobs much more insecure than the permanent contracts on which they were employed at the time of their dismissal. At the gathering, the Executive Committee to Resolve the JAL Labor Dispute claimed that this offer is a way to increase the pool of precariously employed workers for JAL and to avoid having to comply with the more stringent labor protections that come with permanent employment. The JAL Dismissed Workers Union (officially abbreviated as JHU), another union representing the unfairly dismissed JAL workers, has also come out strongly against the 2-year contract offer from JAL, demanding that workers who wish to return to their jobs are allowed to do so and that all unfairly dismissed workers receive monetary compensation. 

The Chair of JHU, Hiroya Yamaguchi, stated that in 2010, JAL illegally dismissed workers based on their age and medical conditions, as well as dismissing workers for engaging in protected worker organizing activity. Yamaguchi also alleges that JAL's stated financial reasons for the dismissals do not hold up. And that JAL hired nearly 400 pilots and flight attendants soon after the dismissals in question.

In addition to the unions, 13 national elected politicians, lawyers, and researchers gave their support to the unfairly dismissed workers.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Labornet Japan News/ December 2018

This is Labornet TV news with English subtitles. The contents for Dec. are: 3000 foreign workers dismissed at Sharp's Kameyama Plant; Revision of Immigration Control Act; Convenience Stores Franchisees Union hold a symposium; and Demonstration against arms trade exhibitions. Translated by Tomoko Wada.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Labornet Japan News / November 2018

This is Labornet TV news with English subtitles. The contents for Nov. are: Filipino banana farm workers protest/National workers' rally in Seoul, Korea/Protest against fur in Tokyo/Peace thanks to Article 9/Technical Internship Program: No more lies or camouflage! Only 400 yen an hour! We will publish monthly on 10th.  Translated by Yasuhisa Iwakawa.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Labornet Japan News / October 2018

This is Labornet TV news with English subtitles. The contents for Oct. are: Workers of an ex-Uniqlo supplier in Indonesia campaign in Japan, demand compensation; Gubernatorial Election in Okinawa; Demonstration for \1500 minimum wage; "Business as usual" in Tsukiji; and Citizens demand abolition of Yokota U.S. military base. We will publish monthly on 10th. Translated by Tomoko Wada.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Labornet Japan News /September 2018

This is Labornet TV news with English subtitles. The contents are as follows. Are elders disposable?; Labor FIlm Festival 2018; Anti-US base opposition won important municipal elections in Nago, Okinawa; "Continue every year"; Stop relocating from Tsukiji to Toyosu. We will publish monthly on 10th. Translated by Yasuhisa Iwakawa.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Labornet Japan News/ July 2018

This is Labornet TV news with English subtitles. The contents are as follows. Regional gap in minimum wage criticized, "High Professional System" ignites karoshi!, Lay-off repealed! Struggle for forming a union, It's discrimination. Appeal by unlawfully dismissed United Airlines flight attendants, Save asbestos victims, Dying for the nation? Former Israeli soldier asks. We will publish monthly on 10th. Translated by Yasuhisa Iwakawa.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Labornet Japan News/ June 2018

This is Labornet TV news with English subtitles. Contents are "Demonstration to Defend Article 9 of the Constitution against Abe Administration" and others. We will publish monthly on 10th. Translated by Tomoko Wada.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Labornet Japan News/ May 2018

This is Labornet TV news with English subtitles. The contents are as follows. 28,000 join a May Day event in Tokyo、 Zenrokyo May Day - Appeal by non-regular & non-Japanese workers, May Day event for non-regular workers, Protest against a new US base in Henoko, Okinawa, No to sexual harassment!, Save Peace Constitution, Stop discriminating non-regular workers! Folk Jamboree for Constitution. We will publish monthly on 10th. Translated by Yasuhisa Iwakawa.