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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 December 12 - 18  > Japan’s national trade union centers resolve to unite to defend Constitution
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2018 December 12 - 18 [POLITICS]

Japan’s national trade union centers resolve to unite to defend Constitution

December 16, 2018

Japan’s three major national trade union centers and independent unions on December 14 in a rally held in Tokyo resolved to unite to foil Prime Minister Abe’s attempt to adversely change the Constitution in order to prevent workers’ basic labor rights from being endangered under the name of war cooperation.

The rally was called for by the Labour Lawyers Association of Japan (LLAJ) which acts as a bridge between the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), the Japanese Trade Unions Confederation (JTUC or Rengo), the National Trade Union Council (Zenrokyo), and independent unions.

LLAJ head Tokuzumi Kenji pointed out that war always results in the destruction of workers’ livelihoods, and said that post-war Japan’s labor movement found its root in the belief that workers’ rights cannot be protected without peace.

Lawyer Miyazato Kunio said, “During the wartime, the trade union movement became weak through anti-union measures, such as the ban on annual May Day rallies and strike actions. Trade unions were reorganized into the industrial organization which served in collaboration with the management for the promotion of Japan’s war of aggression. Under this circumstance, the then existing rules on working hours were eliminated. Taking this fact into account, we have to work hard to block such moves from happening again.”

Rengo-affiliated All-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers Union (Jichiro) vice president Aoki Mariko expressed her determination to drive PM Abe, trampling on Okinawa’s right to local autonomy, to give up on his ambition to change the Constitution. From the Zenrokyo-affiliated National Railway Workers’ Union and the independent Japan Federation of Aviation Workers’ Unions, union activists rang an alarm bell saying that constitutional revision would allow workers to be used to transport military supplies. The Secretary General of the Zenroren-affiliated Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions (Iroren), Morita Susumu, stressed, “During the war, many medical workers were mobilized as war nurses and died on the battlefield. Based on this bitter history, Iroren will work even harder to thwart any attempt to turn Japan into a war-fighting nation.”

The Rengo-affiliated union organizing Japanese workers at U.S. bases in Japan, All Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union, sent a message in solidarity to the rally.

Past related articles:
> Maritime workers stand up to gov’t policy to mobilize them for wars [February 17, 2016]
> War legislation aims to mobilize civilian workers [July 4, 2015]
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