JILAF invited 10 persons from Thailand and Indonesia to visit Japan from May 18 to 31.
There are many Japanese companies operating in these countries, and their economic and social conditions are relatively similar. Although both Thailand and Indonesia have established labour laws, however, they face many problems in the application of these laws. Furthermore, although their economic development has been spectacular, due to the unfair distribution of profits they share many issues, including a mounting sense of dissatisfaction over wages.
The participants shared a common awareness regarding efforts to tackle the issues faced by their countries and took part in the program with a serious attitude, actively asking questions at lectures and places visited and displaying an eagerness to learn about Japan’s constructive industrial relations and other topics.
At the lectures and places visited, they asked many questions and expressed their opinions about such matters as labour-management consultations, the problem of nonregular workers, the effectiveness of labour legislation, and industrial disputes. In the industrial federation lecture, held with the cooperation of JEC Rengo (Japanese Federation of Energy and Chemistry Workers’ Unions), the participants received an explanation of the organization’s structure and activities. In order to draft and realize policies specifying the goals of the industrial federation, the importance of lobbying various circles, including employers, the administration, and assembly members, was emphasized.
In the RENGO Yamagata program, the participants took part in the May 27 nationwide campaign to “Stop the unequal society! Raise the level of living standards!” organized by RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), with one representative from each country delivering an address of solidarity. This was a good opportunity for the participants to experience a specific campaign conducted by RENGO.
Furthermore, in discussions with RENGO Yamagata, the participants were able to exchange opinions on such topics as the budget of a regional branch of RENGO, RENGO Yamagata’s involvement in determining the minimum wage, and the state of women’s participation in trade unions.
The participants also visited Hello Work Yamagata and Hello Work Plaza, where they inspected job-introduction facilities and actually experienced the job-seeking process via computers and over the counter, and Yamagata Casio Co., Ltd., where they observed the G-Shock watch and die production lines and engaged in discussions with both labour and management representatives together, asking questions about the impact on workers of robotization in the workplace and health and safety efforts.
In addition, the participants heard lectures from the Japan Productivity Center, Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), and Zenrosai (National Federation of Workers and Consumers Insurance Cooperatives), which deepened their understanding of the ideas behind the productivity movement, industrial relations from the perspective of management, and the mechanism and characteristics of mutual-aid schemes. The participants made such comments as “I want to use the knowledge I have gained in Japan for the development of the labour movement in my own country” and “I learned a lot about industrial relations and want to use it as reference in order to build sound industrial relations in my own country.”