RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) held the 84th May Day Central Rally in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, on April 27 with the participation of about 40,000 union members.
At the beginning, RENGO President Nobuaki Koga touched on recovery and reconstruction work in the disaster area following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and emphasized that we should quickly resolve such issues as the raising of minimum wages and establishment of a social safety net. He also emphasized that what the government should do now is to improve the living conditions of people by increasing household income and eliminating job instability.
Next, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Norihisa Tamura spoke to the participants that, in order to achieve sustained growth, the government wants to promote environment building and the establishment of support systems so that employment and wages can be improved, working women can build careers, and both men and women can achieve a balance between work and raising children.
Besides these, there were also speeches by political party representatives, including Democratic Party of Japan President Banri Kaieda, and Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose, as well as an appeal on behalf of nonregular workers and a report from the disaster area by Iwate Prefecture Governor Takuya Tasso.
Finally, the participants unanimously approved the May Day Declaration and closed the rally with three "Let's do our best!" chants.
In parallel with the rally, RENGO also held a "union carnival" at the venue with many booths set up by nongovernmental organizations, nonprofit organizations, labour unions, political parties, and other groups. JILAF also participated in the carnival. As last year, RENGO's Center for Nonregular Workers held a meeting with young union members for students and others engaged in job-finding activities. Through this meeting, RENGO expected to grasp a better understanding of issues related to youth employment and reflect it in its policies and campaigns from now on so as to erase the anxieties and questions of young people regarding work.