Exchange with the Korea Labour Foundation
On December 6 JILAF welcomed a delegation from the Korea Labour Foundation and held a meeting for the exchange of opinions at the RENGO Kaikan in Tokyo on the theme of “Present Conditions and Issues Relating to Profit-Making Companies and Distribution to Workers.” About 40 people attended the meeting from member organizations of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), related organizations, research institutes, and so on.
At the beginning of the meeting, JILAF President Tsuyoshi Takagi greeted the participants and remarked, “It is extremely significant to have this exchange of opinions from the perspective of the labour movement between Korea, where the people are not receiving an adequate distribution even though some giant companies are raking in huge profits, and Japan, which is suffering from a strong yen and economic stagnation. Welcoming the Korea Labour Foundation, with which we have fostered warm and friendly relations for a long time, we look forward to deepening our mutual understanding of conditions in Japan and Korea and having meaningful discussions toward the solution of issues.”
Representative Chairman Park In Sang of the Korea Labour Foundation then spoke about present conditions in Korea, commenting, “Since the currency crisis in 1997, large corporations centering on the chaebol [family-controlled business conglomerates] have been amassing profits. These profits have not been distributed to the people, so economic disparities are expanding. The main issues in the presidential election are reform of the chaebol and income distribution, and people are calling strongly for the improvement of welfare.”
Representative Chairman Park and JILAF Executive Director Hisashige Danno delivered keynote speeches based on statistics on the present situation in Korea and Japan, respectively. In addition, Vice-President Kim Dong-man of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) reported on trade union views regarding the Korean presidential election. Finally, there was a panel discussion on the role of the labour movement in overcoming economic issues common to Japan and Korea. The panelists were, on the Korean side, Representative Chairman Park, Executive Director Kim Sung-jin of the Korea Labour Foundation, and FKTU Vice-President Kim and, on the Japanese side, Deputy Director General Yoji Tatsui of RENGO-RIALS (Research Institute for Advancement of Living Standards) and JILAF Executive Director Danno.