Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tokyo Joins Global 'Occupy' Movement

Several hundred people gathered at parks and took it to the streets of Tokyo on Oct. 15, the day of global action to Occupy Together.
One of the Tokyo actions had more than 100 independent, trade unionists and activists at a small park in Roppongi, a trendy district of Tokyo.
Each spoke of their demands to the government, income disparity that continues to be worse and concerns over radiation contamination by Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The Roppongi action received a solidarity message from Occupy Seoul and talked to the members of Occupy in Merced, California, and Washington D.C. via Skype.
Although police and secret agents surrounded the rally, the 99% were strong and persistent with music and free vegitable curry served.
Occupy Tokyo organizers plan to have another action sometime soon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Inamori in Court, Backs off from Earlier Statement: the JAL Restructuring Case

The plaintiffs and their supporters, demanding Japan Airlines to reinstate 165 employees who were dismissed in December last year, gathered in front of the Tokyo District Court in the morning on 30 September. Some of them were in the uniform of JAL pilots, others holding banners expressing their demands. The day marked the highlight of the trial with the court appearance of the Chairman, Kazuo Inamori who admitted, in a press conference in February, that the dismissal was unnecessary in light of the restructuring plan of the company. He however disappointed the courtroom audience by mentioning his earlier remark as "imprudent and regrettable." Satoshi Tokairin, one of the audience, described Chairman's testimony as "outrageous." "Inamori pretended to be a token representative of the JAL management with no actual role in the unlawful dismissal. He said he was unaware of the fact that the restructuring target had already been achieved by that time and put all the responsibilities on the receiver, " he said.
In the inquiry of the day, the leader of the plaintiffs, Taeko Uchida, examined Inamori herself, but he replied to all her questions with phrases indicating lack of knowledge, involvement or memory. The audience was so appalled to the extent that they could not help laughing at times.
(By M)


9月30日、東京地裁前は朝から「JAL不当解雇撤回」の桃太郎旗が林立し、パイロット姿の原告団と支援者で賑わった(写真)。この裁判は、昨年末に165名が整理解雇された事件。この日はJAL稲盛会長の証人尋問で最大の山場を迎えた。稲盛会長は2月の会見で「経営上、解雇は必要なかった」と明言しており、証言に注目が集まった。しかし稲盛会長は「軽率な発言で反省している」と述べたのみ。傍聴した東海林智さんは「ひどい。“何の責任もないお飾り”と自分を演出していた。人員削減目標を達成していたことについても “知らなかった。管財人が決めたこと”を連発していた」。また内田妙子原告団長が尋問に立ち、組合との話し合いの約束を破り続けた稲盛氏に鋭く迫った。これに対し稲盛会長は「記憶にない、覚えていない、知りません」を繰り返すだけ。このJAL経営最高責任者の見苦しい姿に、傍聴席からは失笑が漏れた。(M)

Japan Post Plans to Dismiss 14000 Non-regular Workers Nationwide: Union Protest by Sit-in

Members of the Postal Workers’Union conducted a sit-in protest in front of the head office of Japan Post on 27 and 28 September. The protest was against the dismissal of 14000 non-regular workers aged over 65 scheduled for the end of the month.
"It is absolutely unacceptable that the company unilaterally made it possible for them to dismiss non-regular workers of certain ages simply by manipulating the employment regulations. Like myself, people of these ages are often playing leading roles among the employees of the sections they belong to. The present decision has taken no consideration of such circumstances in our work places," said outraged Tadanori Fukao (left in the photo), a telephone operator at a call-center. Ryoko Niwa (right in the photo), a delivery driver, criticized JP harshly. "Four colleagues are to be dismissed in my section and it will be impossible for the remaining staff to process the same amount of workload. On the other hand, the same jobs are offered in the employment service office. This is ridiculous! The massive dismissal will disrupt the work at post offices and inevitably result in worsened service."
Among 14000 workers to be dismissed, 32 belong to the Postal Workers’Union. The reporter was informed that they were considering a lawsuit.
(By M)



Fukushima Eyewitnesses Appeal in US: Debriefing for Press Held in front of METI

Sachiko Sato of the Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation and five other anti-nuclear activists held a press conference in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on 25 September to report on their visit to the United States.
Sato, Kaori Izumi of Association for Saving Children of Fukushima, Ireene Mioko Smith of Green Action, Yukiko Anzai, an organic farmer of Yoichi, Hokkaido Pref. and two others visited New York and Washington DC. for a week from 18 September to inform the American public of the current situation in Fukushima. In Washington DC., they had discussions with members of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the equivalent of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, and with lawmakers. In New York, they appeared on a CNN program and conducted a standing demonstration together with members of local anti-nuclear citizens' organizations. (By Masanori Yumoto)
Video (YouTube)



Philosopher Labels Proposed Ordinance as 'Fatal to Education': 800 Rally against Imposition of Kimigayo in Osaka

A national rally titled 'We say No! to the ordinance of Kimigayo coersion' was held in Osaka on 24 September with participation of some 800 citizens local as well as from other prefectures. The participants,including many teachers and students, were driven by mounting concerns surrounding the prefectural government's aggressive move toward enactment of education-related ordinances that reflect nationalistic view of the right-wing governor, Toru Hashimoto. In the opening speech of the rally, Philosopher Tetsuya Takahashi severely criticized the proposed ordinance and Hashimoto himself. "It should be called 'The Basic Ordinance for Destruction of Education.'" "The governor's vision of Osaka government is that of the imperial system whereby the governor is the emperor."
Following Takahashi's speech, teachers struggling under similar situations in other prefectures made short speeches of solidarity. Among them was Kimiko Nezu, an ex-teacher from Tokyo who continued defiance of Kimigayo through to the retirement of this year despite three times of six-month suspension. She encouraged fellow teachers to keep to their belief and not to give in. Masaki Yumoto, a university student one of whose parents is non-Japanese national, raised an issue for the protest movement while commenting critically on the proposed ordinance. "It would coerce children of non-Japanese nationalities to give away with their own identities. This is why I feel against it. I also feel that the protest movement has yet to involve younger generations. I urge the participants to consider what each of you can do to reach out to the youth."
The rally was webcast by Labornet TV.
(By Jo Kimura, Labornet Reporter based in Kansai Area) *Photo: The venue, Thirty Hall in Daito-shi, Osaka



Nothing Is More Valuable than Life!: 60,000 Participate Japan's Largest Ever Anti-nuclear Rally

On 19 September, Meiji Park in Tokyo was filled with people and their calls for abolishment of nuclear power plants. Organized workers and other citizens belonging to all sorts of groups as well as individuals not affiliated with any particular organizations gathered together, expressing their desires for nuclear-free world on banners and sign boards. "Fukushima is still much contaminated with radiation. The status is far from 'under controll.' We will by no means allow other nuclear plants to resume operation. There is noting more valuable than the life!" Core promoters cried out angrily and the crowd responded with enthusiastic applaud.
The rally was followed by a demonstration march in three routes. Though the march lasted for for more than four hours, the participants were cheerful. They seemed to be delighted, empowered by the fact that as many as sixty thousand people came together.
The day certainly marked a historic step in the movement toward the nuclear-free world. (By M)
Photo report and video by Masanori Yumoto Photo, Mainichi Shimbun Video, Kyodo News Snap shots, Labornet JP Video, OurPlanet-TV
Live Report in English with Japanese subtitle, Labornet TV (10 min.)Photos, various unions Video, action against TEPCO by three unions


9月19日、東京・明治公園は人・人・人の波、そして「原発いらない」の声であふれた。市民・労働者はじめあらゆる団体・個人が、旗を掲げプラカードに思いをこめて集まってきた。「福島は放射能まみれで事故は収束していない。再稼働などとんでもない。命より大事なものはあるのか!」。怒りの呼びかけ人アピールに呼応して、拍手が地響きのように起きた。3コースに分かれたデモは4時間以上続いたが、人々の表情は明るかった。「6万人も集まった」という自信と喜びだった。この日はまちがいなく、「脱原発運動」の歴史的一歩を刻印する日となった。(M) 写真報告 ・動画(湯本雅典)毎日新聞写真  ・共同通信(動画)  ・スナップ(報道部)  ・動画(OurPlanet-TV) ・レイバーネットTV(現場中継・2ヶ国語版10分)写真(ユニオン系)動画(3単組の東電抗議行動) 

Philippine Toyota Union (TMPCWA) Suceeded in Launching Joint Action Both at the main struggle site, the Philippines, and in Japan

We, Suppor Group for TMPCWA in Japan,, launched from last October 9 thru 12 a series of concerted concurrent joint action with TMPCWA against Toyota, both in Japan and the Philippines, seeking for the solution of a 11-year longstanding struggle against a mass dismissal.
Inviting two union members representing TMPCWA (Union Vice President Wenny and Union Member Rowell) to Japan, we, supporters from Kanto Area went over by bus to the place in front of Midland Square by Nagoya Station of JR (Japan Railway), namely in front of toyota Aichi Headquarters to make, together with the local supporters in Aichi Area, PR activities to citizens of Nagoya City, and after that held a solidarity exchange meeting at Toyoda City Industrail and cultural Xenter.
The next day, from early morning, around Toyota Headquarters and Plant, we circulated to Toyota workers showing up for their daily job a paper napkin packet combined with a bill appealing their support and also made a request to the Headquarters. As a quite remarkable fact indeed, we had astrong impression that the workers coming their way to the company all looked so tired and somber as if they had had no human feelings.
On the other hand, in the main site, the Philippines, on October 10, bothe the dismissed members and the inside members currently working at Toyota plant of TMPCWA, together with a number of their supporters and member workers from other unions who came to join for cooperation, conducted a series of protest actions before Department of Labor and employment (DOLE), Department of Justice (DOJ), Japanese Embassy, etc. The joint actions both in Japan the Philippines were sucessfully finished thanks to the solidarity of workers.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Tokyo High Court Penalizes Travel Company for Failing to Pay Overtime Work

National Union of General Workers, Tokyo Tobu, won a lawsuit against Hankyu Travel Support Co. for failing to pay overtime work. The Tokyo High Court upheld lower court’s decision on Sept. 14 that the company must calculate work hours of tour guides. The court dismissed the company’s claim that the overtime hours were included in the salary because it was difficult to calculate the hours. The court ordered the defendant to pay 513,730 yen unpaid and an equivalent amount for penalty.
At the press conference held at the labor ministry, the plaintiff, Ms. Toyoda, said she hoped the decision would help improve working conditions of her colleagues in the industry. “I am really happy that the court understood the working conditions of travel guides,” she said. “I will try to improve the working conditions of travel guides in solidarity with others.” (By Sugano, NUGW Tokyo Tobu) *Photo: Toyoda and lawyers in front of the court house after the verdict


 9月14日、東京東部労組HTS(阪急トラベルサポート)支部が闘っている「偽装みなし労働」撤廃のための不払い残業代請求裁判控訴審の判決があり、1審に続き、組合側完全勝利判決をかちとりました。高裁は、1審に続き、「添乗員の労働時間算定は可能」と明確に判断し、「事業場外みなし労働」の適用を否定。未払い残業代51万3730円の支払いを命じると共に、同額の付加金(ペナルティ)の支払いも命じました。組合はこの勝利判決を受け、弁護団とともに厚労省記者クラブで記者会見を行いました。その席で原告の豊田さんは「添乗員の業務の実態を分かってもらった判決でとても嬉しい。この判決をステップに、力をあわせてがんばる。これを期に業界全体が変わってほしい」と訴えました。(東部労組・菅野)  *写真=喜びの当該労働者と弁護団(裁判所前)

Parents Demand GOVT Set Up ‘Evacuation Zone by Choice’

Seiichi Nakate (photo) of a Fukushima network to protect children from radiation talked about “evacuation zone by choice” at an event held on Sept. 11, half a year after the explosion at the TEPCO plant. The “evacuation zone by choice,” which is proposed by Children of Fukushima, is asking the local governments to financially support residents wishing to evacuate from this zone. The government is asked to guarantee the means of evacuation, as well as compensate the cost. “It’s not too late yet,” Nakate said. “The government should set up the evacuation zone by choice at an earlier date. This will surely save more lives.” (By Masanori Yumoto), See video on YouTube


 福島原発事故から半年経った9月11日、福島市内で「9・11福島アクション」が開催され、そのプログラムの一つの「テーブルトーク」で、「子どもたちを放射能から守る福島ネットワーク(略称・子ども福島)」代表中手聖一さん(写真)が「子ども福島」が提唱する「選択的避難区域」について語った。「選択的避難区域」の設定とは、その区域の住民が避難を希望した場合、行政が避難のための費用、方法等を保証し賠償もするという仕組みである。中手さんは、「まだ間に合う。今からでも『選択的避難区域の設定』を一刻もはやく行うべきだ。そうすれば助かる命が増えるはずだ」と語った。(湯本雅典) ・動画(YouTube)

‘We can Change Society by Demonstration’ ~ Voices against Nuclear Power Plants

Actions against nuclear power plants were carried out at three locations simultaneously in Tokyo on Sept. 11. Some 2,000 people led the one to Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. By 3:40 p.m., they surrounded the ministry building with a human chain. Two young participants began hunger strike in protest against nuclear power plants at 5 p.m. In the meantime, a rally blasting loud music in Shinjuku faced harsh restrictions from the police, and about 10 demonstrators were arrested. However, the courtyard in front of Shinjuku Station was packed with protestors around 6 p.m. Kojin Karatani spoke at the rally. “People often ask me if we can really change the world by demonstrations,” he began his speech. “’But of course,’ I always tell them. Why? Because by demonstration, we can create a society where we can take it out onto the streets. Before March, I don’t think there is any demonstration that we can call, ‘demonstration,” except for ones in Okinawa. Now we see more than 100 demonstrations across the nation. The Japanese society has changed a bit.” His speech was welcomed by loud applaud. (By M) Photo flash news, photos of unfair arrests, video of unfair arrests (YouTube), hunger strike at the ministry (Ustream), courtyard at Shinjuku Station, Hibiya Park, Yoyogi Park, video by OurPlanet-TV, Mukimbo Photos


 9月11日、都内では3ヶ所で脱原発アクションが行われた。日比谷公園を出発した東電デモと経産省包囲行動には、あわせて約2000名が集まった。プラカードを持った市民が手をつなぎ、午後3時40分経産省の建物は、完全に人間の鎖で包囲された。午後5時からは若者2名が同省前ハンストに突入した。いっぽう「素人の乱」呼びかけの新宿サウンドデモは、デモ出発時から警察の激しい規制があり、10数名が不当に逮捕されるなど緊迫が続いた。しかし午後6時からのアルタ前街頭宣伝行動は人並みで埋まった。警察も手を出せず、再度「原発やめろ広場」が出現した(写真)。評論家の柄谷行人さんは、マイクを握りこう訴えた。「デモで社会を変えられるのか?とよく聞かれるが、“確実にできる”と私は答える。なぜか。デモをすることで“デモをする社会”をつくれるから。3月以前に日本では沖縄を除いてデモらしいデモはなかった。しかし今日も全国100ヶ所くらいでデモが起きている。日本の社会は少しは変わったのだ」。聴衆から大きな拍手が起きた。(M) 写真速報不当逮捕の写真不当逮捕の映像(YouTube)経産省前ハンスト(ユースト中継)アルタ前写真(昼)日比谷公園-代々木公園写真アルタ前写真(夜) ・動画(OurPlanet-TV) ・ムキンポ写真館 

JR Needs to Recover All Railroads in Tohoku Now!

Some railways damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake were repaired and the services resumed. Reports say that the worst is over since the recovery of Tohoku Shinkansen and Tohoku Line. However, some along the Pacific coast, including JR Hachinohe, Yamada, Ofunato, Kesennuma, Ishinomaki, Joban and Sanriku Tetsudo Railways, have no prospect of repair or recovery. “It may be a waste to repair the track because we don’t know how the towns are going to be reconstructed,” Japan Railway East officials said. True. But while other transport systems, such as roads and docks, are recovering by the day, railroad services that are basic infrastructure are left untouched. The railways that run through Tohoku like veins were said to be costly, a losing business, and facing a change in ownership to avoid complete closure. The central government and Japan Railways imposed heavy burden on passengers and local governments. And they are hoping to completely shut down these train services, taking advantage of the disaster. (By Katsuji Yamahara) *Photo: Sendai Shinminato Station left unrepaired.

 東日本大震災直後に不通となっていた幾つかの線区は復旧し、東北新幹線と東北線の急ピッチの再開でヤマを越えたという報道も多い。しかし、JR八戸・山田・大船渡・気仙沼・石巻線・常磐線や三陸鉄道など、太平洋沿岸は未だコマ切れで、進展も少なく、貫通の見通しは全く示されていない。JR東日本は言う「街の再建がどう行なわれるかの計画かわからないので、元の所に線路だけ敷いても??」と。確かに、そうかもしれない。でも、道路や港湾はほんの少しずつでも復旧しつつあるのに比べ、同じ基礎的インフラである鉄道は、放置同然である。東北を血管のようにつないできた鉄道は、震災以前から「赤字路線」と言われ、「廃線が嫌なら第三セクター」と、国とJRは乗客や自治体に高負担を強要してきた。そして今、東北に集中するワースト赤字線区がさらに被災した、として「永遠の不通、いや廃線」としたいのがJRの本音であろう。(山原克二)  *写真=放置される仙台新港駅

Union for Foreign Workers Born at Sharp-affiliated Plant

 Nearly 200 workers established a union at Sharp Co.-affiliated plant in Matsuzaka City, Mie Prefecture, on Aug. 18. The members manufacture liquid plasma display at Sharp Mie Plant No. 2 and No. 3 in the city. They are all Filipino working at GL, which is an outsourcing company of Mie Tech, a Sharp subsidiary. There are about 300 people working at the plant, but the union, Union Mie Sharp PNoy Unity, was able to organize more than a majority of workers. PNoy means Filipino, and the union was established as a branch of Union Mie. (By Esaman) See video on UnionTube. *Photo: Celebrating PNoy Unity establishment on Aug. 20.


 ユニオンチューブに「ユニオンみえ・シャープピノイユニティ」の組合結成パーティの動画をアップしました。以下は、動画提供者Esamanさんの記事です。「8月18日に、三重県松阪市にあるシャープ系工場で、200人規模の労働組合が結成されました。現場となったのは、液晶パネルを作成している、松阪市の多気町にあるシャープ三重・第二工場と第三工場。シャープ工場の下請け企業ミエテックの業務を請け負っている『ジーエル』で働くフィリピン人による労働組合です。同現場では300人ほどの従業員がいるとのことですが、職場の過半数を大きく超える労働組合が誕生したことになります。労働組合の名前は『ユニオンみえ・シャープピノイユニティ』。ピノイとはフィリピン人のことをさし、三重県津市に本部をおく、ユニオンみえの分会として結成されました。」 ・動画(UnionTube) *写真=8月20日の組合結成パーティ