JILAF held invitation program follow-up seminars in the Vietnamese cities of Hanoi on September 20 and Ho Chi Minh on September 22. A total of 46 persons attended the seminars, including past participants in JILAF’s invitation program and trade union leaders. (There were 16 persons who had participated in the invitation program in the past. Since the program began in 1999, JILAF has invited a total of 34 persons to Japan from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour [VGCL].)
The objectives of the follow-up seminar are (1) to investigate how past participants in the invitation program have been using what they learned in Japan since returning home and (2) to hold discussions on the labour situation and labour movement in Japan and the counterpart country, thereby strengthening solidarity and cooperation between the two countries.
At the beginning, Deputy Director Chau Nhat Binh of the VGCL’s International Department commented, “JILAF is engaged in various activities in Vietnam, including the invitation program and labour-management relations seminars. Participants in the invitation program are utilizing what they learned and experienced in Japan in their respective fields of activity. Through this follow-up seminar, I hope that the cooperative relations between our two organizations are further strengthened.”
Next, JILAF Deputy General Secretary Yozo Abe said, “We are very grateful for the VGCL’s enormous cooperation in organizing this seminar. Also, we very much appreciate the warm messages of encouragement and support that we received from the VGCL following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11. Over the years we have invited many union leaders from the VGCL to Japan. In this seminar, we want to hear your honest opinions of the JILAF program and use them from now on to build even more cooperative ties.”
JILAF Deputy General Secretary Abe then delivered a lecture titled “Issues Facing Japanese Labour Unions.” After his talk, the participants asked many questions about the labour and social situation in Japan, including about measures to increase the organization ratio and the relationship between unions and politics.
Past participants in the invitation program then reported on their activities since returning to Vietnam and offered requests and suggestions concerning the program from now on. The participants highly evaluated the program and reported how what they had learned in Japan had influenced their own daily activities and led to the improvement of organization management. Participants commented that “I made policy proposals to the VGCL and the government for the introduction of labour welfare activities and labour policies that I had learned about in Japan,” “It has been useful for the education of union members and unionization,” and “I learned about the importance of building cooperative labour-management relations.”
Overall, many participants expressed the hope for strengthened solidarity with JILAF, making such suggestions as “I would like to see JILAF’s assistance so that we can develop a productivity movement” and “From now on also, I would like you to organize field seminars and tell us firsthand about the labour and social situation in Japan.”