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No.1 (2009/09/01)

We would like to announce that we will newly start the e-mail magazine.
We hope that this e-mail magazine will be useful information exchange tools and JILAF reports for you.

Greeting Message by President Tsuyoshi Takagi
Tsuyoshi Takagi

As the Japan International Labour Foundation (JILAF) marks the 20th anniversary of its establishment, I would like to express to you all my deepest gratitude for the warm support and cooperation that we have received so far.
Amid the current once-in-a-century financial crisis and worldwide simultaneous recession, 2009 is expected to be a year of major change for Japanese society.
From various perspectives, JILAF is going to be forced to make reforms as well.
Since its founding, JILAF has consistently engaged in positive activities with the aim of strengthening and developing a free and democratic labour movement in developing countries. At first JILAF began the Invitation Program with a small organization of only 7 directors and staff, but today it is conducting various programs with an organization of 20 persons.
In FY 2008 JILAF invited 12 teams consisting of 97 junior trade union leaders from around the world to Japan, so the number of participants in the Invitation Program since JILAF's founding now exceeds 2,200 persons. The Invitation Program has achieved major results in providing participants with an opportunity to learn about the labour movement and the labour-management relations in Japan, as well as Japan's economy, politics, society, culture, and so on, and in promoting their understanding of Japan. After their returning home, many of the invited participants go on to be active as union leaders. Many of them work prominently not only in the labour field but in the political and economic fields as well. In addition, in Field Projects, which began in 1994, seminars are held in Asian countries on themes based on the needs of local unions. As of April 2009, more than 82,000 union members participated in these seminars. Centered on the developing countries, our activities have received high reputation and expectancy, and we intend to develop even more improved activities to meet these expectations.
At the same time, however, it is a fact that the environment surrounding us is getting harsher year by year. The biggest problem is finance. Amid the nation's severe fiscal situation, expanding our budget for projects is extremely difficult. In view of this current situation, I believe that we must seek to improve the state of JILAF's financial administration with an eye on the future.
While I fully realize that we have been placed in an extremely tight situation, however, we must not forget that there are many comrades around the world who are eagerly waiting for our support and cooperation. Moreover, it is our firm belief that the existence of a democratic and sound labour movement with a function of democratic checks and the capability of making policy proposals will definitely contribute to industrial and corporate development in developing countries and to their social stability.
Therefore, JILAF intends to continue its untiring efforts as the promoter of RENGO's international solidarity activities, as well as its playing a part of Japanese diplomacy.
I look forward to your further support and cooperation in this endeavor.

Commemorative symposium of JILAF's 20th birthday

Japan International Labor Foundation (JILAF) celebrated the 20th anniversary of its establishment and held commemorative symposium on "The New Era of Development Cooperation in the Fields of Society and Labor and the Role of JILAF "In Tokyo on April 10, and 210 people gathered to symposium.

The First Part, Greeting and Proposals

Commemorative symposium of JILAF's 20th birthday
people joined the symposium
Mr. Takagi, JILAF President, making a speech
Mr. Maeshima, emeritus professor of Tokai Univ., serving as a coordinator for panel discussion

President of JILAF, Br. Takagi greeted as follows, on behalf of the organizer, "When JILAF was established, the Berlin Wall fell down and the cold war came nearly to the end. Understanding that the existence of a free, and democratic trade union movement and independent workers are important to build up sustainable labor market, economic growth and a fair and equitable society, we have operated our activities for these twenty years.
We will continue to promote such projects as useful to an international framework to fulfill the dignity of labor and a fair and equitable society.
We would like to ask you for the support to us."
And then, the General Secretary of the RENGO (JTUC) Br. Koga made a proposal titled "The role of the RENGO in development cooperation activities and its expectation to JILAF" and stated "I participated in the Trade Union Summit held in Rome. We can never forget that those who have been suffered from the most serious damage through the worldwide economic crisis are the workers in developing countries who can not receive benefits under poor safety nets. JILAF is working on various activities (1) occupational safety and health (2) labor-management relations (3) worker education activities (4) gender equality (5) child labor and (6) HIV/AIDS.

In the proposal titled "Expectation toward the Japan's Trade Union Movement in Development Cooperation", Vice President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Mr. Oshima stated "The development cooperation activities in the labor field do not stand out in comparison with economic infrastructure, agricultural development, and health care. However, they are still important from the view point of human security. As for the expectation to JILAF, the following should be noted. (1) contribution to capacity-building of developing countries, reflecting the comparative advantage of Japan (2) support of measures against new situation of industrial accidents, occupational disease etc. due to globalization and (3) strengthening of comprehensive approach

In the proposals titled "Expectation to Development Cooperation by RENGO and JILAF", General-Secretary of ITUC, Br. Guy Rider stated, "By globalization, many issues cannot be solved by one country, and the role of trade unions is getting more important. ITUC places a major stress on the following conducted by the Trade Union Development Cooperation Network (TUDCN), (1) trade union aid effectiveness (2) trade union as development actions (3) trade unions and multilateral development aid architecture (4) sharing of information development cooperation among trade union actors. The worker's solidarity is indispensable to work humanly. And I would like JILAF to play a part in this activity."

The Second Part

At the panel discussion Professor Emeritus Maeshima of Tokai University conducted as a coordinator. The Panelists are General Secretary of ITUC Guy Rider, General Secretary of ITUC-AP Suzuki, General Secretary of ACILS Ely Larson, Chairman of CITU Thamrin Mosii, and President of JILAF Takagi. First, the following were taken up as the issues to discuss. (1) Meaning of development cooperation by trade unions and their role. (2) How development cooperation by trade unions should be. (3) Expectation to JILAF activities. Following were made by the participants on the floor. "What cooperation are NGOs and trade unions doing in foreign countries?" "The advanced trainers who were trained in the JILAF seminars to improve workplace environment are active in another country. ITUC shouldn't keep successful cases in its data base?"

At the end, President of JILAF Takagi showed the following determination. "We would like to reflect the comments and opinions expressed by the panelists and the participants, in our activity. I believe that our activities will contribute to the development of industries and enterprise and to the social stability of developing countries. We should be aware that we play a part of Japanese diplomacy and we would like to develop our activities for the next ten years."

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