RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) held its 19th Central Discussion Meeting to Formulate Policy and System Demands to the Government in Tokyo on April 17-18 with the participation of about 510 people from affiliates, local RENGO branches, and other related organizations from all over Japan.
Addressing the participants at the beginning of the meeting, RENGO President Nobuaki Koga stated that following the change of government at the end of last year, RENGO is required more than ever to display its role as the representative of the working people. Noting that the deregulation policy promoted by the former coalition government of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito had swelled the ranks of the poor and nonregular workers, he emphasized that it was an important task for RENGO to make policy proposals aimed at improving the living conditions of working people and recreating a solid middle class.
The "Policy and System Demands and Proposals" draft document presented to the meeting contained the suggested demands and proposals to be made by RENGO to the government and others in the period from July 2013 to June 2014. They are composed of three parts: (1) policies for recovery and reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, (2) policies toward realizing a secure society built around work as its core, and (3) policies that RENGO will continuously address and aim to realize.
After the opening session on the first day, the meeting divided into four subgroups, in which the participants engaged in lively discussions.
On the second day, keynote speeches were delivered by Mr. Hisashi Yamada, chief economist and director of the Research Department of the Japan Research Institute, Ltd., on the theme of "Evaluation and Problems of Abenomics: What is necessary to link it to economic revival and an exit from deflation?" and then by Mr. Kouhei Komamura, professor of the Faculty of Economics of Keio University, on the theme of "Problems and Trends in Social Security Reform." After the speeches, the four subgroup meetings resumed, followed by a final plenary meeting.
At the end, the meeting adopted an appeal to develop a campaign to "put a stop to the polarizing society and realize the improvement of living conditions" and to "join together in creating a social groundswell" toward the realization of policies.
Following meetings of its main bodies, RENGO is scheduled to confirm and make a final decision on the demands and proposals at a meeting of its Central Committee to be held in Fukushima Prefecture at the end of May.