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No.33(2010/10/4)
ITUC Asia-Pacific Labour Network (APLN) Conference Held in Tokyo

The 10th conference of the International Trade Union Confederation's Asia-Pacific Labour Network (APLN) was held in Tokyo on September 2-3 with the participation of 32 representatives from international industry-related labour organizations. (Rengo, the Japanese national center, was represented by President Nobuaki Koga and General Secretary Hiroyuki Nagumo.)
The APLN conference was convened in the hope that the views of trade unions would be included and its final statement reflected in the Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum to be held in Yokohama on November 13-14 and the APEC Human Resources Development Ministerial Meeting to be held in Beijing on September 16-17.
In addition, the APLN representatives also held a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and related ministers (Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Masayuki Naoshima, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Akira Nagatsuma, Vice-Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Ritsuo Hosokawa, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Shuji Kira, and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama).
In this meeting, ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow explained the views of trade unions in line with the APLN statement, including the need to establish an APEC Labour Forum, and requested the Japanese government, as this year's APEC chair, to devote its utmost efforts in this direction. ITUC General Secretary Burrow pointed out that while the APEC economies have been achieving steady growth, what is lacking is the participation of workers in the policy-making process and compliance with core labour standards. She said that labour has been debating the matter for the past 15 years, but there is still no opportunity to present the knowledge possessed by trade unions in APEC. Trade union leaders and workers are people who can make a social contribution, she said, so labour should be granted the offcial advisory status in the frawork of APEC as business circles.
Prime Minister Kan replied, "I believe that the power of labour circles is important in APEC too. In Japan also, the government cooperates with labour circles in tackling policy management and social issues. As the chair of APEC, Japan will listen closely to the proposals of the ITUC and other trade union organizations and make efforts in that direction. Regarding the establishment of an APEC Labour Forum as well, we would like to gain the understanding of related countries and realize it as soon as possible." Prime Minister Kan and the other responsible ministers also gave explanations of other matters, and very fruitful discussions took place.
Finally, Prime Minister Kan promised efforts by the Japanese government, saying, "I take the proposals of the APLN statement very seriously and once again promise to have them reflected in the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting."

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