|The Future of Work symposium|
Mr. Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), visited Tokyo for four days from May 10 to 13, 2017. The visit was intended to promote the significance of the 100th anniversary of the ILO to be celebrated in two years in 2019, to introduce newly adopted initiatives, and to exchange views with leaders of various fields in Japan. Mr. Ryder visited Mr. Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister; Mr. Fumio Kishida, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. He also exchanged views with officials and representatives of RENGO (the Japanese Trade Union Confederation), Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation), the ILO-supporting parliamentary group, JILAF, and other Japanese organizations.
On May 12, the Symposium on the Future of Work was held at the U Thant International Conference Hall at the United Nations University in Shibuya, Tokyo, with Brother Guy Ryder as guest speaker. The symposium was organized by the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training (JILPT) with the support of the ILO. There was an audience of around 900 people, including labour and management representatives, NGO and NPO personnel, researchers, and students. Mr. Ryder gave a keynote speech titled "For the Future of Work." It was followed by a panel discussion among representatives from RENGO, Keidanren, and researchers on labour issues. Mr. Ryder also joined the panel. There was active discussion among these panelists.
During the symposium, the ILO Director-General expressed the ILO's determination to take up a new challenge on the occasion of the 100th anniversary in response to the fact that actual labour circumstances have been changing rapidly. In this regard, he clarified the seven initiatives (see the note below) currently being undertaken. He also insisted that the success in these initiatives depended on how the ILO can continue and expand "labour justice." He added that the main issues included technological innovation such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of things (IoT), worldwide demographic trends, compatibility between economic growth and environmental protection, and optimization of the labour market under a global economy.
* As confirmed at the 103rd ILO general meeting in 2013, the seven initiatives are (i) the future of work initiative, (ii) the end to poverty initiative, (iii) the women at work initiative, (iv) the green initiative, (v) the standards initiative, (vi) the enterprise initiative, and (vii) the governance initiative.
On May 12, Mr. Ryder visited the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Toranmon, Tokyo, and enthusiastically exchanged views with Mr. Toshiro Muto, Director-General, and other officials. During the meeting, both parties agreed to enter into a partnership agreement so that the preparation, procurement, and management of the 2020 Games can be made in line with ILO principles and labour standards. On May 11, Mr. Ryder signed a memorandum concerning cooperation between the ILO and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), and confirmed that strategic talks would be held annually between the organizations and to promote discussion about the future of work.
As seen above, the Tokyo visit by the ILO Director-General has brought about great success. Currently, the MHLW, Keidanren, RENGO, and other relevant organizations have been preparing programs for the ILO's 100th anniversary, strongly appealing to general citizens, firms, and workers in Japan. Also, the nationwide promotion of the significance and activities of the ILO have been undertaken by the ILO Office for Japan, the Japan ILO Association, and other institutions.
The Future of Work symposium