Asia-Pacific Team

JILAF invited eight trade union leaders (including two women) from five countries and one territory (East Timor, Fiji, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka) to visit Japan from November 8 to 21 as the Asia-Pacific Team. The training was conducted in English only, but the participants helped one another in deepening their understanding of the program content, and on the final day they expressed their desire to further deepen mutual solidarity among themselves in the future.
They also participated in the 31st Industrial Labour-Management Autumn Festival, an event that brings together government, labour, and management leaders with the aim of deepening exchange among them. This festival gave the participants an opportunity to come into contact with Japanese traditions and culture and also to deepen exchange with Japanese trade union leaders.
At the places visited and in lectures, the participants heard explanations of such topics as industrial relations, employment policy, and the problem of nonregular workers in Japan, as well as the role of the national center in addressing these issues, and, while making comparisons with conditions in their own countries, deepened their understanding of the situation.
In the visit to RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), the participants received a lecture on its organizational expansion policy. Amid dramatic changes in employment patterns, they recognized the importance of trade unions having a firm organization strategy, and they showed much interest in the roles of company-based unions, industrial trade union federations, and regional branches of RENGO and their collaboration in promoting the organization of workers.
In the industrial federation visit, the participants visited Nikkyoso (Japan Teachers’ Union), where they received an explanation of the organization’s structure, the issues facing teachers, and problems facing public-sector workers. They expressed surprise when told that many teachers were taking time off work for mental health reasons, and questions focused on the efforts of the industrial federation to address this situation.
In discussions with RENGO Nara, the participants engaged in discussions on such matters as the differences in the roles of the RENGO Headquarters and RENGO Nara, the impact of globalization on companies in Nara Prefecture, the response of trade unions to this situation, and efforts to boost organization. In the workplace visit they went to the Nara Plant of Shinagawa Machinery Works Co., Ltd., which manufactures cake-making, food product processing, and other scientific machinery. They inspected the assembly plant, heard an explanation of such issues as productivity improvement and the efforts of the Health and Safety Committee, and showed much interest in the fact that labour and management cooperate in a wide-range of activities.
At the Hello Work Nara public employment office, the participants asked about the state of collaboration between public and private job-introduction facilities and the position of foreign workers and actually experienced the use of job-vacancy and job-seeking search terminals. They also visited KIZUNA Café, which brings together RENGO Nara, the government, an employers’ organization, and a welfare group to provide employment support for disabled persons. Here the participants received an explanation of Nara Prefecture’s efforts relating to the employment of disabled persons, as well as related issues and prospects, and engaged in discussions.

List of Cooperating Organizations

NikkyosoKIZUNA Café
RENGO NaraHello Work Nara
Shinagawa Machinery Works Co., Ltd. Nara PlantShinagawa Machinery Works Labour Union

Many thanks to everyone.

Photos of the Participants

Labour-related lecture

Participation in the 31st Industrial Labour-Management Autumn Festival

Group discussions

Visit to Nikkyoso

Visit to KIZUNA Café (employment support for disabled persons)

Visit to Hello Work Nara

Discussions with RENGO Nara officials

Visit to the Shinagawa Machinery Works Co., Ltd. Nara Plant

Visit to the National Association of Labour Banks