Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Standing Up to a Giant: the Café Berg takes on JR

Café Berg is located close to the East exit of JR Shinjuku station and is famous for its quality coffee and beer, and divine food. Perfectly suited to the diversity of Shinjuku, the café is an oasis for men and women of all ages who can spend their time in the café in bliss. Despite its popularity, the landlord, Lumine East, pressured Berg to change to a fixed-term contract, and advised Berg that it would evict them by March 2003 if it refused. The reason given by the landlord for this threat was beyond comprehension: because Lumine is a building for fashion. Berg did not bend to Lumine’s unreasonable demand, and publicized its plight. Many Berg fans stood up to the call and there was a lot of media coverage given to the café too. March came and went. Lumine says that the eviction has been “postponed”, but in fact, Berg has managed to win a concession out of the giant JR. Let’s have a hearty celebration of this victory. All Berg fans are invited to celebrate this at the Shinjuku Noukyoukaikan Building on October 10th. Tickets available for the first 70 on arrival (Source: JR Watch) See Berg homepage for more information.

JR新宿駅東口から直ぐのところにベルクはある。コーヒー、ビールが極上で料理も拘りの逸品だ。雑多な新宿に相応しく、老若男女が至福の時に浸れるオアシスだ。このベルクに対して大家のルミネエストは定期契約への変更を迫り、拒否すると09年3月までの立ち退きを勧告。理由は「ルミネはファッションビルだから」だとか? ベルクはルミネの理不尽な要求に屈せず、事態を公表した。多くのベルクファンらが立ち上がり、メディアも多数取り上げた。そして今年の3月を越えた。ルミネは「延期」だと言うが、巨象JRを譲歩させたのだ。この事実を大いに祝おうと思う。ベルクファン集まれ! 10/10新宿農協会館・先着70名。(JRウォッチ) ベルクHP

Renters Stand Up Against Immoral Real Estate Agent Shinei Estate

On the afternoon of September 12, a meeting on the topic of the poor and housing was held at the Tachikawa Citizens Hall in Tokyo. Despite the rain, many participants and supporters turned up. Immoral real estate agents, while targeting society’s weak such as the unemployed, foreigners, elderly citizens, and single mothers, charge tenants for room inspections when tenants vacate a property and a late fee when tenants are late with their rent. On top of this, real estates have repeatedly broken the law by entering tenants’ houses without prior notice, changing locks, and destroying tenants’ property. On this day, a protest demonstration was held in Tachikawa against the immoral real estate agent Shinei Estate. To create a society where everyone can live with peace of mind, the government should guide such immoral real estate agents that Japan is overrun with. Our first step towards such a society is to propose to the government to slowly draft residential policies for minorities. (Written by Yu Negoro) Source: Negoro’s blog.

9月12日午後、東京・立川市民会館でハウジングプアをテーマとした集いが持たれた。小雨の降る中にも関わらず多くの当事者や支援者が集まった。悪徳不動産業者は、失業者や外国人、高齢者やシングルマザーなど社会的弱者を狙いうちに、退室立ち会い費や、家賃の遅延への制裁金の請求をしている。また、勝手に部屋に立ち入る、鍵を変える、私物を破棄する等の違法行為を繰り返してきた。この日は、立川にある悪徳不動産業者シンエイエステートに対して抗議デモを行った。安心して全ての人が住み、生活してゆける社会をつくるためには、全国にはびこる類似の悪徳不動産業者への行政からの指導、また遅々としてマイノリティーへの住宅政策を展開しない行政への提言をしていく事が、その一歩になるだろう。(根来祐) 当該ブログ

Don’t Tolerate Mandatory Celebrations: Anti-Emperor Exhibition Held

With the 20th anniversary of the Emperor of Japan’s enthronement to be held in November 12, 2009, an event opposing the mandatory celebration of the Emperor was held in Tokyo. Some 150 people attended the festival entitled “Anti-emperor Exhibition: Festival for Non-Worshippers”. A variety of exhibitions, and talks retold the true nature of the emperor system over the past 20 years from his enthronement. Attendants are shared the conclusion that Japan absolutely does not need an Emperor system. Rightwing groups gathered from 10.30 a.m. blasting noise from their trucks from Hakusandoori, the main street in front of the meeting venue, which was the Bunkyo-ku Citizen’s Centre in Tokyo. They blasted the venue with rightwing propaganda and repeatedly made threats. Despite such intimidation, the festival began at 11 a.m. and the talks, music and performances ran without a hitch until the close of the festival at 7 p.m. (Written by Y, Information Dept.) * Photos are the goods that were exhibited at the festival.

「天皇即位20年」にあたる今年11月12日を前に、奉祝の強制に反対するイベントが都内で開かれた。「ハンテン展<まつろわない者たちの祭>」と題した集会に、約150人が参加した。さまざまな展示やトークで、即位から20年を経た天皇制の本質に迫り、「やはり天皇制はいらない」との結論を共有した。会場の東京・文京区民センター前の白山通りには、午前10時30分を過ぎるとぞくぞくと右翼団体の街宣車が集結。大音響で建物にアジテーションを浴びせ、威嚇を繰り返した。集会は午前11時に開会。トーク、音楽、パフォーマンスなどが、午後7時の閉会まで演じられた。(報道部・Y) *写真=会場に展示されたグッズ

Trial Commences for Laid Off Dispatched Workers from Aichi Panasonic: “I won’t give up”

On September 3, the Panasonic Eco Systems trial commenced at the Nagoya district court. 25 people from 7 organisations gathered in front of the court and handed out flyers and publicised the trial. Tsutomu Yoshioka, a PDP plaintiff, came from Osaka to show support as did Sasanichiro, the Nagoya Female Union, ATU Support Citizen Group, General Union Tokai Branch, and Aichi Health Center. Two former dispatched employees gave impressive statements at the beginning before the court. Plaintiff A commented that “There were many other dispatched employees who were laid off like him. But everyone gave up saying that it’s useless to fight back. Today, I’ve managed to take this even to court. I’m very satisfied. (Written by Aichi Solidarity Union)


1. Union Badge Wearer Tsuji-san manages to Win Reemployment and stares down threat of dismissal

On September 1, the seventh hearing for Yoshiharu Tsuji was held at the District Labour-relations Board in Kanagawa Prefecture. 50 union members and supporters turned out for the hearing. This time Norio Kimura, the person who personally handed down the punishment, was cross examined. Kimura is the former Head of Personnel, JR Yokohama branch. Over the examination, the actuality of his unfairness was brought to light. Questions such as “Do you realise that unfair labour practices are a criminal offence?” remained unanswered as Kimura stayed silent. In addition, Tsuji-san signed a reemployment contract with JR on July 17. This means that he will be reemployed for five years after his mandatory retirement in February next year. Despite receiving threats of dismissal for wearing his union badge, Tsuji-san has managed to push these aside. Tsuji-san expressed his determination to keep wearing his badge until retirement, to continue his membership with the union even after retirement, and to continue the fight to nationalise JR through the spring offensives (Written by Masanori Yumoto). *Photo: raised fists at the end of the hearing.

9月1日、辻井義春さんの第7回審問が、神奈川県地労委で開かれた。傍聴には国労組合員、支援者50人がかけつけた。今回は、直接処分を下した木村法雄氏(元JR横浜支社人事課長)の証人尋問で、その不当な実態が浮き彫りにされた。「あなたは不当労働行為は犯罪だという認識があるのか?」という尋問では、木村氏は、答えられず絶句する場面もあった。また、辻井さんは7月17日、再雇用の契約書をJRとの間でとり交わした。これで来年2月の定年退職以降5年間の再雇用が確定したのである。JRの「バッジをつけ続けるなら再雇用はない」という解雇の脅しを、とうとうはねのけたのだ。辻井さんは退職まで国労バッジをつけ続けること、再雇用先でも国労組合員であり続けること、さらに労働委闘争を通じて原状復帰を勝ち取ることを決意している。(湯本雅典) *写真=審問終了後の団結ガンバロー

Friday, September 11, 2009

Anti-poverty Network Says “Stop Destroying Lives, Help Rebuild Them!”

 First, we welcome the change in the government. While poverty spread in the Japanese society, the coalition government did not commit itself to facing poverty and surrounding issues. Our lives became really hard after the government deregulated various laws such as Dispatch Law and cut social security by 220 billion yen yearly. In the end, it left the problems up to economic recovery and blamed us for lack of effort. For that, the result of the general election in August was reprimand from the suppressed citizens. The incoming government is expected to change such a trend, which continued to degrade people’s lives, and to rebuild their livelihood. Unless this is achieved, the change of the government would lose its meaning and the citizens would give a verdict accordingly. (By Anti-poverty Network, August 30) Cartoon “Try not to be eaten.)


It Doesn’t Mean That We Approve

Toward the end of summer vacation, children are hard at play.

Satirical cartoon by Ichihanahana (August 30, 2009)



  風刺漫画:壱花花 (09年8月30日)

Appeal to Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Shintaro Ishihara ~ 250 People Surround Tokyo Education Board

 In the afternoon of August 28, about 250 citizens and teachers took “Surround Tokyo Education Board” action in front of the metropolitan government building to attack Governor Shintaro Ishihara for reprimanding teachers who refused to stand up for “Kimigayo” national anthem. Starting around 4 p.m., the group split up in two ways to go to the education board and the governor’s office. About 30 people demanded to see the governor, guards and workers came out in a rush to stop them and led the angry protest to a conference room. The group continued its demand for another half an hour and successfully pulled out a governor’s secretary or a councilor. The group then told him that the verdict was out and Ishihara should resign for destroying Japan’s education system. Seeing a group protesting transfer of Tsukiji Fish Market on the same day, it was apparent that anti-Ishihara movement has escalated. (By M)


Don’t Use Park for Profit-Making! ~ Protest against ‘Miyashita-Nike Park’

 Around 4 p.m. on August 27, Nike Japan and Shibuya Ward Office signed the naming rights agreement to reconstruct the Miyashita park, but the ceremony was closed to the public. Nearly 10 citizens gathered at the entrance hall of the ward office with signs against Nike Japan in hands. Nike Japan president ended up leaving the building guarded by Shibuya park management official and his company workers. He left without a word. Protestors pressed the signs on the car windows as he was leaving and demanded to give up purchase of the park. (By Yu Negoro) Flash news with photos, video on YouTube.

 8月27日午後4時頃、渋谷区役所で、ナイキジャパンと渋谷区との間で「宮下公園」のネーミングライツと公園改修に関する契約の調印式が、市民に非公開で行なわれた。渋谷区役所の1階エントランスには10名弱の市民が集まり、それぞれにプラカード等を持ちナイキジャパン社長への直接抗議行動が行なわれた。ナイキジャパン社長は区役所1階出口から、渋谷区公園課職員とナイキ広報部社員によって護衛されながら、車に乗り込み無言で去った。市民はプラカードや声明文を車の窓越しに提示し、ナイキによる宮下公園の買い取りを止めるよう訴えた。(根来祐) 写真速報 ・動画(YouTube)

Report from Nanjing, China: 100 People from Japan Gather at Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall

 On Aug. 15, two events were held at Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing. One was an opening ceremony to an exhibition “Pictures of August 15 drawn by 100 Japanese cartoonists.” (See photo) About 200 people including 100 from Japan gathered for the event. The exhibition was open for three months as the first since the foundation of the memorial hall. More than 160 art works on a theme of August 15 were contributed by Japanese cartoonists, authors and actors. Manga artists, Tetsuya Chiba and Kenji Morita, from Japan attended the opening. “I had never thought that it was possible to open a manga exhibition on a theme of war in Nanjing,” Chiba said. (By Masanori Yumoto) Video on UnionTube 

中国・南京現地取材 : 8月15日、日本から100名が「虐殺記念館」に集う

‘Winter Soldier’ Arrives ~ Rally with Soldiers who Fought in Iraq, Afghanistan

 Iraq Veterans Against War (IVAW) held a 40-hour talk rally, “Winter Soldier,” to hear from veterans about war and their conscientious testimonials to the world in March 2008. The media organizations, however, have not reported on it because of the seriousness of the testimonies. The testimonials of veterans called, “Winter Soldier,” is to be published in Japanese. We are planning a Japan tour of the testimonials by veterans of Iraqi and Afghan wars from Sept. 16 through 23. We will have Adam Kokesh (See photo), who appeared in a documentary film, “Winter Soldier” (Directed by Hisakazu Tabo), with us for the event. Kokesh is to speak about strategies they used in Fallujah. This will be a good chance for Japanese public to directly hear the soldiers’ first-hand stories about what really went on during Iraq/Afghan war. (By Katsuko Katada)