Call for Endorsement and Participation in National Workers'
Rally on Nov. 5
-In Tokyo, Hibiya Open-air Stage at 12 Noon on November 5, Sunday-
Let's Create a Nationwide Network of Fighting Labor Unions!
International Workers Solidarity Against Constitutional Revision, War,
Privatization and Union Busting!
(English translation of an appeal to Japanese labor unions)
Dear workers across the country,
The Revision of the Constitution is now on agenda: we are at a crossroad
of the history.
In the last session of the legislature the Koizumi administration submitted
bills for the revision of the Fundamental Law on Education, for national
referendum for the amendment of the Constitution, for introduction of
Crime of Conspiracy, and for upgrading of the Defense Agency to a ministry.
This move is evidently a reactionary, historic attempt of overthrowing
Japanese social system established after World War II. With more than
two third seats in the Diet, the governing parties tried to have all
these bills railroaded through Diet as a preliminary step to the revision
of the Constitution. However, they had to abandon this attempt after
all, for among people there was a heightening general feeling that a
dangerous and unbearable age was approaching and this feeling could,
at any time, burst into an angry upsurge of workers. The battle was
thus carried over into this autumn. Let us once again organize an all-out
The Koizumi administration has recently been promoting a quantum leap
in Japan-U.S. Security Alliance. The mass media is crying out "threat
of North Korea", taking full advantage of the test firing of missiles
by North Korea last July, to incite chauvinism and nationalism. Its
aim is to pave way for the constitutional revision. The aggravating
situation in Iraq - quagmire as a result of the US aggressive war -
is driving Bush and Koizumi more and more into a worldwide war.
On the other hand, three Laws on Administrative Reform and the amendment
(for the worse) of the Law on Healthcare System were forced through
in the last Diet session. Further, the government is preparing to legislate
Labor Contracts Law that aims to destroy an eight-hour day and labor
right to organize. Meanwhile, as a part of these reactionary offensive,
a series of brutal police repressions have been taking place against
fighting labor unions and civic movement in an extreme way almost denying
the very existence of organized movements.
As a result of severe government's and capital's offensives, a large
number of workers have already been deprived of their right to organize,
thrown out of employment. Many of them have been downgraded to irregular
job without any right. The gap between the rich and poor is now tremendously
widening: people often talk about "inequality society": one
out of five families yearly earns no more than two million Yen. Social
security system including pension and healthcare is going to be dismantled.
We live now in an age, in which we cannot survive without fighting back.
All of these clearly demonstrate what happens when labor unions are
degenerated and workers solidarity is destroyed, letting free-market
fundamentalism run in an unrestricted way. We should now focus our effort
on changing the present situation of labor movement. We must take back
labor solidarity and regenerate labor unions. Now, reserving difference
of views and expanding opinion's agreement, let us organize a common
action against the ongoing constitutional revision, war, privatization
and union busting! Let us create a nationwide network of fighting labor
Nakasone Yasuhiro, ex-prime minister, referring to the division and
privatization of the National Railways (1987), which constituted the
starting point of today's aggressive labor policy, has been repeatedly
emphasizing that he had carried out his policy with an aim of destroying
Kokuro (National Railway Workers' Union) and ruining Sohyo (the General
Council of Trade Unions of Japan) and Socialist Party. Through getting
rid of these organized forces, according to his statement, Nakasone
intended to enshrine "a (new) worthy constitution". He was
followed by the former prime minister Mori, who recently proclaimed,
"We must destroy Zentei (Postal Workers' Union), Jichiro (All Japan
Prefectural and Municipal Workers' Union, and Nikkyoso (Japan Teachers'
Union)." As these two examples illustrate, union busting, privatization
and drive for constitutional revision have been carried out together.
The leadership of Japanese labor movement that has been limitlessly
degenerating since the privatization of the National Railways, now even
supports the revision of the constitution. Rank and file workers, however,
are raising their voices of anger across the country against humiliating
situation of the labor movement, overcoming the difference of national
federations and union affiliations.
We three unions have been continuing to struggle together for rebirth
of labor movement all through a year since the last rally of workers.
Kan-Nama has fought back the arrests of its leaders and police crack-down
and defended its landmark industrial policies, which the union has created
over many years. Minato-Godo has been organizing most strained workers
in medium, small and tiny enterprises in the area and fighting against
bankruptcies and dismissals. Doro-Chiba has been continuing to fight
for rail safety after the deadliest rail accident in Amagasaki, Hyogo
Prefecture in 2005, that was an inevitable result of the privatization
of the National Railways. Beating back the unjust punishment upon the
safety action, Doro-Chiba is strengthening this struggle. Further, Doro-Chiba
is fighting for reinstatement of 1047 railway workers who were dismissed
by the privatization. On the other hand, new struggles of workers are
now emerging on shop floors and in communities across the country: education
workers are fighting against coercion of "Hinomaru and Kimigayo"
(national flag and anthem) in school ceremonies, postal workers and
local government workers against privatization, workers and people in
Okinawa against the transformation of Japan-U.S. Security Alliance and
military bases. As was clearly shown by the victories of the struggles
last spring against the introduction of the Crime of Conspiracy and
against the revision of the Fundamental Law on Education, it is workers'
struggle that reveals the true nature of the issue to the whole society
and create a new dynamics of movement. In these struggles we have strengthened
our solidarity and confidence: if we fight, we will brighten our prospects.
All over the world, workers are rising up for struggle. In France
massive strike and demonstration of three million workers and students
forced government to rescind the First Employment Contract. Korean workers
have launched successive general strikes against bills on Irregular
Workers and have blocked its legislation up till today. In the United
States 10 million immigrant workers have taken to the street and many
workers are beginning to wage militant strikes. In U.K. one and half
million workers are rising up for a struggle to prevent reactionary
attempt of changing the pension system. All of these struggles already
herald the advent of a new era, in which more and more rank and file
union members emerge as a powerful new stream and strenuously demand
fundamental transformation and rebirth of labor movement.
We, undersigned unions, invite you to join the above captioned rally
and to create together a nationwide network of fighting labor unions,
which will break the thick wall in front of us. We wholeheartedly call
for everyone who shares the aspiration with us to endorse and participate
in the rally.
Kan-Nama / Solidarity Union of Japan Construction and Transport Workers
Kansai Area Branch
Minato-Godo / Metal and Machinery Workers' Union in Osaka
Doro-Chiba / National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba
DORO-CHIBA (DC): National Railway Motive Power Union of CHIBA