JILAF invited a team of 11 persons from 10 French-speaking African countries to visit Japan from September 23 to October 6.
Although the team consisted of 11 participants from 10 different countries, it had a sense of cohesiveness thanks to the common language of French, which enabled the participants in the question-and-answer sessions and discussions to ask questions related to ones posed by other members and to follow up answers with further questions.
The participants had much praise for the overall systems forming the basis of labour-management relations in Japan, such as the legal system guaranteeing organization and the activities of trade unions, labour-management relations supported by collective bargaining and the labour-management consultative system, and mechanisms like the labour relations commissions for the settlement of labour-management disputes.
This praise was further enhanced by visits to the Japan Productivity Center, where the participants heard an explanation of the productivity movement that is being promoted by both labour and management, and the National Association of Labour Banks, where they gained an understanding of the existence in Japan of financial institutions operating as a trade union cooperative business.
In the RENGO Fukuoka program, the participants received an explanation of the organization and activities of RENGO Fukuoka and were able to understand its relations with the RENGO Headquarters (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) and the role of regional RENGO branches. They also visited Hello Work Fukuoka Chuo and the Fukuoka Prefecture Job Support Center for Young People, where they were able to observe the front lines of employment stability administration in the prefecture. As a workplace in the prefecture, they visited Nissan Motor Kyushu Co., Ltd., where they observed that company’s manufacturing process. In addition, they visited the Kyushu Electric Power Research Laboratory, where they were able to hear an explanation of next-generation research results.
In the industrial federation and workplace visit, conducted with the cooperation of Jidosha Soren (Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers’ Unions), the participants received an explanation of the activities of Jidosha Soren and then visited the Kawasaki Plant of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation, where they observed the manufacturing process and engaged in discussions on that plant’s health and safety measures and labour-management consultations with representatives of both labour and management.
As well as labour problems, the participants showed an interest in Japan’s social security system, such as pensions and medical insurance, and they eagerly questioned how trade unions, and the Japanese nation as a whole, were going to tackle the social security system in the future in view of the fact that Japan faces such issues as aging and an increase in the number of nonregular workers.