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No.21(2010/4/28)
RENGO Top Leaders and Government Hold Second Meeting

In the morning of April 5, RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) had a meeting with the Japanese government at the Prime Minister's Office, according to RENGO News on April 7. From the RENGO side, President Nobuyuki KOGA, two deputy presidents, two vice-presidents, and the general secretary attended. From the government side, Prime Minister Yukio HATOYAMA, Deputy Prime Minister Naoto KAN, and six other ministers, including the minister of health, labor and welfare, attended. The meeting between RENGO's top leaders and the prime minister and other ministers was the second since the change of government last autumn.

Prime minister stresses further cooperation between the two

At the beginning of the meeting, Prime Minister HATOYAMA expressed his thanks for RENGO's cooperation. He reflected that over the last half year his government had tried to bring about a new style of politics following the change of government, but people still did not have a real feeling that politics had changed. However, with the passage of the fiscal 2010 national budget and implementation of concrete policies, such as the child allowance, people were getting a feeling that politics really is steadily changing. The economic and employment situation are severe, he said, but the government will definitely tackle these problems in cooperation with RENGO. At present, Prime Minister HATOYAMA added, public support for the government is severe as well, but this should not be allowed to change the course of how politics should be. Finally, he stressed the need for RENGO's further cooperation with the government, including its cooperation in the upcoming election of members of the House of Councillors to be held in July of this year.

President KOGA suggests some review of DPJ election manifesto
Responding to the prime minister's remarks, RENGO President KOGA paid tribute to the government's stance of addressing difficult problems head-on over the last six months since its establishment. He highly appraised the successful passage of the fiscal 2010 national budget before the end of fiscal 2009, as well as bills for the child allowance, free high school tuition fees, and other measures. On the other hand, he said, the employment situation continues to be severe, as shown by the falling ratio of new school leavers receiving tentative job offers. President KOGA said he expected the government's employment measures to have steady effects over time. He also observed that what the HATOYAMA government is challenging and implementing are things that definitely could not be realized under the previous government of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). In this connection, he expressed his hope that the government will come up with a future vision of Japan, including a new growth strategy, local sovereignty, and mid-term budget framework, so that people can live with security and hope.

Regarding information that the government and ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) have started a review of the DPJ's election manifesto, President KOGA commented that it would be necessary to show challenging and realistic alternatives based on a hard look at what things would be like in three years' time. While steadfastly maintaining its basic stance of "Putting People's Lives First," he encouraged the DPJ to review what should be reviewed on the basis of the dizzying changes taking place in the economic situation and the problems that have come to light since it took power. President KOGA also emphasized, though, that when something is done, it should be done with people participating in the discussions.

Japanese Government Agrees to Settle 23 Year-Old Railway Labor Dispute

The government on April 9, agreed to pay a sum of 22 million yen ( equivalent to US$ 236,500), per union member, totaling 22 billion yen, as compensation to 1,047 workers of the former Japanese National Railways when the newly created Japan Railway group had refused to hire when the JNR was privatized in 1987.
The settlement therefore brings a 23-year-old labor dispute to an end.
The union members and their supporters gathered together on April 9 and decided to accept the proposal from the three ruling parties ( Democratic Party of Japan , People's New Party and Social Democratic Party) and the opposition New Komeito.
These four parties also asked the JR companies to hire some 200 former JNR workers. The government also showed a positive stance toward this rehiring proposal.
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said that the government must study the proposal seriously, adding that many former JNR workers had endured hardship over the past 23 years.
Many of the 1,047 workers, whom the JR companies had refused to hire had been members of the militant National Railway Workers Union.
The compromise deal submitted by the four political parties urged the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency, an organization that inherited the JNR's debts, to pay a total of about 23 billion yen, later reduced to 22 billion yen by the government, as compensation money to the workers who were not hired.

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