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No.85(2012/3/21)
Obituary: Mr. Tadayoshi KUSANO, Former General Secretary of RENGO
It is with immense sorrow that JILAF announces the death of Mr. Tadayoshi KUSANO, former general secretary of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) and president of RENGO-SOKEN (Research Institute for Advancement of Living Standards). Mr. KUSANO passed away on March 7, 2112, at the age of 68.

Mr. KUSANO was the 4th general secretary of RENGO for four years from October 2001 to October 2005. In those days, in the midst of a very severe economic situation in which the unemployment rate hovered over 5% for several years, he devoted himself wholeheartedly to tackling the serious employment problem through repeated negotiations with the government and employers' organizations.

Mr. KUSANO vigorously challenged a wide range of issues. Among others, from the viewpoint that the establishment of equal treatment between men and women was one of the most important issues for RENGO to challenge, he strived to improve the treatment of part-time workers and revise the Equal Employment Opportunity Act. He also endeavored to mobilize public opinion in favor of the abolition of nonpaid overtime work.

At the same time, Mr. KUSANO called strongly for the development of a trade union movement within the framework of RENGO that was not bound by theory and that embraced public opinion, especially the voices of unorganized workers. At the RENGO Convention in 2003, he advocated action policies under the slogan of "Changing RENGO to change society," promoting the establishment of a trade union movement that corrects wrongs in society and is visible to the public.

Sincerely praying for his soul to rest in peace, we vow to make the utmost efforts to develop the trade union movement with his precious ideals firmly in mind.
RENGO Holds Joint Central Assembly
for 2012 Spring Struggle and International Women's Day
In conjunction with International Women's Day on March 8, RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) held a joint central assembly to promote the 2012 spring labour struggle in Japan and International Women's Day under the slogan of "Let's realize gender equality in cooperation with the international labour movement!---Efforts of the ILO [International Labour Organization], the CEDAW [United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women], and the spring labour struggle." The assembly, which took place on March 8 in Tokyo, was attended by about 1,000 union members from affiliated organizations.
Prior to the central assembly, a street rally was held to publicize the significance of International Women's Day, raise awareness of the nonregular employment problem, and appeal for broader application of the childcare and nursing-care leave systems in the workplace. Roses, symbolizing the dignity of women and safeguarding of human rights, were distributed to passersby.
At the central assembly, speaking on behalf of the organizers, RENGO President Nobuaki Koga declared with determination, "The participation of women is essential for unions to fulfill their role and responsibilities toward the realization of a secure society centered on work as its core. In cooperation with affiliated organizations, we will strengthen our efforts toward the further promotion of gender equality. In addition, we will make active efforts toward ratification of the ILO's Convention No. 111 [on the abolition of discrimination in employment and occupation] and Convention No. 105 [on the abolition of forced labour], which are core labour standards of the ILO."
Next, key proposals were made by RENGO Assistant General Secretary Mutsuko Takahashi, who recommended the promotion of active efforts toward, among others, (1) the correction of wage disparities between men and women; (2) the realization of a work-life balance; (3) consolidation and monitoring of the revised Equal Employment Opportunity Act to ensure its effectiveness; and (4) comprehensive improvement of the working conditions of part-time workers. These proposals were unanimously confirmed by the assembly.
Aiko Kimura, president of the nonprofit organization Japan Association for Advancement of ILO Activities, then delivered a speech titled "The equal and balanced treatment of men and women workers from the viewpoint of ILO policy," in which she shared information on the present situation concerning ILO conventions not yet ratified by Japan and related issues.
Finally, the central assembly ended with the unanimous adoption of an appeal.

Assembly Appeal

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