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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 August 24 - 30  > Local gov’t workers were forced to mobilize public for Japan’s war of aggression
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2016 August 24 - 30 [PEACE]

Local gov’t workers were forced to mobilize public for Japan’s war of aggression

August 28, 2016
The Japan Federation of Prefectural and Municipal Workers’ Unions (Jichiroren) held its 38th regular convention in Okayama City from August 21 to 23. In the discussions, Jichiroren’s Kyoto prefectural branch chair Ikeda Yutaka expressed his determination to work to foil Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s attempt to destroy the pacifist Constitution, referring to the fact that local government workers had been used to mobilize the general public for Japan’s war of aggression. The following is a summary of Ikeda’s remarks:

Before and during World War II, local government employees in the country did not just deliver draft notices called “red slips”. At that time, each local government had a military affairs section. Under the section’s command, civil servants collected personal information on draftees, such as family relationship, medical history, religion, ideological tendencies, favorite sports, and criminal records of blood relatives. They then provided the data to military authorities.

In addition, they listed excellent students aged 14 or older and with the help of teachers persuaded those students to enlist as soldiers.

Local government workers were forced to play a key role in helping the Imperial government establish the national mobilization system. Japan’s wartime regime was formed on a denial of local autonomy and fundamental human rights.

Along with the abolition of the war-renouncing Article 9, PM Abe intends to add an “emergency clause” to the Constitution. If the prime minister declares a state of emergency under a revised constitution, the central government will be allowed to issue a government ordinance which will have the same effect as a law and local government heads will be obliged to obey the prime minister’s directives. The national government will suspend people’s rights as well and a dictatorial regime will emerge again.

Unions of local government workers should spearhead a public movement to protect local autonomy.
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