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No.8 (2009/12/08)
Report of the Asia Pacific Woman Team
In the Invitation Program the Japan International Labour Federation (JILAF) invites 12 teams (about 120 people) of promising young trade union leaders mainly from developing countries to Japan every fiscal year. The program aims to deepen mutual understanding between Japan and other countries by giving the participants the opportunity to learn about the Japanese labour situation, labour movement, productivity movement, and so.
During the current fiscal year JILAF invited an all-women team for the first time in five years; the Asia-Pacific Region Women's Team consisted of nine participants. Here are the impressions of Invitation Program Group Leader Yoshiki Ito, who was in charge of the team, Project Advisor Tadashi Miura, and the program participants.

The participants displayed outstanding teamwork in the program.

JILAF invited a women-only team for 14 days from September 27 to October 10. It was the first time in five years, since fiscal 2004, that an invited team consisted only of women.
I was frequently impressed by the positive attitude of the participants towards the labour-related lectures, visits, and the session on the labour situation during the 14-day stay. Despite their national differences, they became friendly to each other from the very first day and displayed outstanding teamwork. Determined to make the most of their short stay, they eagerly stepped forward and observed Japan not only during the official program but also during brief intervals, such as when they were moving from one place to another, and in evening activities. I will post photos and captions of their visit on the JILAF website, so please take a look at them.
Due to a transfer within JILAF, this was the last team which I took charge of as a member of the Invitation Group, so for me it was a very memorable two weeks indeed. I am happy that all the participants seemed to enjoy their stay in Japan. I would like to express my gratitude not only to the participants but also to all those concerned at the places we visited. Thank you very much!

Yoshiki ITO
Feild Project Group Director
Japan International Labour Foundation(JILAF)

Networking among participants themselves is important.

In my capacity as a JILAF Project advisor, I accompanied the Asia-Pacific Women's Team during their two-week program in Japan.
What especially impressed me during the program was the Exchange of Views on Labour Situation Meeting, at which the participants gave a presentation on the labour situation in their own country. Since it was a women's team, the participants were asked to explain mainly activities relating to gender problems. Although their goals are the same, their immediate issues in the Asia-Pacific region differ from country to country, probably because of their different historical backgrounds as well.
According to the presentation by the New Zealand participant, the average difference in the hourly wage between men and women in that country is 12%. As part of a campaign calling for the correction of this gap, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU), which is the national center for trade unions, together with NGO held a "Pay Equi-tea" tea party on the Parliament steps and symbolically showed the gap by presenting a cake with 12%missing.
Clearly they have not forgotten their sense of humor.
All the participating countries have suffered the impact of the financial crisis and are facing serious employment issues. Through their discussion I was deeply impressed by the image of these youth facing up to the difficult problems in their countries and campaigning to solve them.
During their stay in Japan the participants were able to meet their counterpart from other countries and establish networks among themselves that should play a very important role in their activities from now on. After their return, I hope their participation in this JILAF study program will prove to be very useful to their work in the trade union activities.

 

Tadashi MIURA
Exchange Program Group Project Advisor
Japan International Labour Foundation(JILAF)

Learning about Japanese culture and the labour situation in other countries.

The experiences in Japan have been very meaningful. We visited many cities- from the big metropolitan Tokyo, to Hiroshima with sobering experience by atomic bomb, and to Wakayama with its local RENGO Program- and learned a lot in each city. Our study programme has also been demanding, challenging and inspirational. I have learnt much, and gained many ideas from the founders of the productivity movement and institutions like Hello-Work and Labour Bank. I am looking forward to sharing all with my colleagues at home. Instant friendship and solidarity were built among the participants. Sharing the experiences together, has we could break through any language barriers and learn as much from each other as from our lectures and visits. I am grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this study tour, and I'm already envious of those who will get to participate in the future!

Georgina MCLEOD
Asia Pacific Woman Team
New Zealand Council of Trade Unions(NZCTU)

Utilizing what was learned in Japan back home.

I don't know how much I waited for the moment to arrive in Japan, "the great knowledgeable land", after receiving the letter of invitation to the JILAF Invitation Program. It was a dream since my childhood to visit the country and it was about to come true! I was just shocked by Japanese culture and tradition, and loved them after my 14-days-stay in there.
I learned a lot about Japanese Trade Union Movement and Labour Laws through lectures by the JILAF Executives.
What I was most impressed was with the system of "Hello-Work", which we visited in RENGO Wakayama Program, because they had job placement systems for young people such as "Young Work Salon" and "Job Cafe" and gave detailed service to young job seekers.
I think it is an important role as a participant to share the knowledge gained on Japan not only with my colleagues at our national center, but also with as many union members as possible when I get back to my mother country, Sri Lanka.

Suthajini SUBRAMANIYAM
Asia Pacific Woman Team
Ceylon Workers’ Congress(CWC)

Profile of Participants
ITUC-Bangladesh Council(ITUC-BC)
1. Name : Rahat AFZA
  Name of organization : Bangladesh Home Based Workers Union- Bhbwu
  Position : General Secretary Joint Secretary
BLF Womens Committee
  Union
experience
(years)
: 6
Cambodian Trade Union Coordination Council(CTUCC)
2. Name : Roatana CHEY
  Name of organization : Combodian Labour Confederation
  Position : Accountant and Administrator
  Union
experience
(years)
: 1
Fiji Trades Union Congress(FTUC)
3. Name : Shaheeda ZAITOON
  Name of organization : Fiji Sugar and General Worker's Union
  Position : Secretary / Admin officer / Liaison Officer for Youth Wing&Women's Wing
  Union
experience
(years)
: 18
Hind Mazdoor Sabha(HMS)
4. Name : Taruna PANI
  Name of organization : North Western Railway Employees Union(NWREU) Jaipur(Rajasthan)HMS
  Position : Vice Chairperson, Women's Committee, NWREU Secretary, Women's Committee, HMS, Rajasthan State
  Union
experience
(years)
: 6
Malaysian Trades Union Congress(MTUC)
5. Name : Selvakumari A ABRAHAM
  Name of organization : Electrical Industry Worker's Union
  Position : MTUC Women and Youth Committee
  Union
experience
(years)
: 2
Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions(CMTU)
6. Name : Zulkhuu PUNTSAGDORJI
  Name of organization : Confederation of Mongolian Trade Union
  Position : Specialist of International Cooperation Department
  Union
experience
(years)
: 6
Nepal Agriculture Workers Union(NTUC-I)
6. Name : Tara Kumari RAI
  Name of organization : Nepal Agriculture Workers Union
  Position : Vice-President Central Committee Member of NTUC-I
  Union
experience
(years)
: 6
New Zealand Council of Trade Unions(NZCTU)
8. Name : Georgina Heather MCLEOD
  Name of organization : New Zealand Council of Trade Unions(NZCTU)
  Position : Policy Advisor-Health Sector
  Union
experience
(years)
: 6
Ceylon Workers' Congress(CWC)
9. Name : Suthajini SUBRAMANIYAM
  Name of organization : Ceylon Workers Congress
  Position : Public Relations Officer
  Union
experience
(years)
: 5
The participants in the program
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