Eurasia Team

In front of the Japan Productivity Center

JILAF invited 10 people (including 7 women) from the three countries of Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Ukraine to visit Japan from June 26 to July 9. All of the programs were completed according to schedule.
During their 14-day stay, as well as receiving labour-related lectures at JILAF, the participants visited the RENGO Headquarters (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), Gomu Rengo (Japanese Rubber Workers Union Confederation), the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, and the Japan Productivity Center. In the regional program they visited RENGO Kyoto and related places in Kyoto Prefecture. They showed especially strong interest in the social participation of women and the organization of young people, asking many questions and expressing their views on these issues. They actively participated in the programs and showed a strong determinations to learn about the good aspects of Japan, such as the annual spring labour struggle efforts and Japan’s labour-related legislation and social security system, and take the information back to their own countries.
In the first half of the program, lectures were held on arousing the problem awareness of the participants as trade union leaders, the role and issues of the Japanese trade union movement, and Japan’s social and labour-related legislation. In the lecture on the occasion of their visit to the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, they learned about its organizational structure and related policies and asked wide-ranging questions about Japan’s labour administration, such as the public insurance system, the powers of labour standards inspectors, and reasons for the shortage of child day-care facilities.
In the visits to and lectures at RENGO and an industrial federation (cooperation was received from Gomu Rengo), at the RENGO Headquarters the participants received a talk on RENGO’s efforts relating to social security and asked questions about the “10 million–strong RENGO” campaign and the role of men in child raising. At Gomu Rengo questions focused on its efforts toward gender equality, the organization of young people, and survey activities.
In the Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting, the participants gave reports on the labour situation and issues in their own countries. In particular, the participants from Kazakhstan reported about tripartite efforts through government-labour-management partnership and such issues as gender equality strategy and youth and women activities; the participants from Ukraine spoke about the response to illegal labour and activities directed at young people; and the participants from Turkey reported on efforts to address such issues as gender equality, nonregular employment, and adverse amendment of the retirement allowance system.
In the regional program the participants visited Kyoto, where they inspected the Kyoto Job Park employment support site operated by the government, labour, and management, asking various questions about the facility and expressing their opinions. In the discussions at RENGO Kyoto they asked questions about such issues as its efforts to promote organization and the positive appointment of women officers. On the final day of the regional program, the participants visited the head office of Shimadzu Corporation, which is active in such fields as analytic equipment and industrial equipment, and the Sanjo Works, where they inspected the printed circuit board manufacturing site. (The labour union at the Sanjo Works is affiliated with the Japanese Association of Metal, Machinery, and Manufacturing Workers [JAM].) In discussions with labour and management there they asked about such issues as the gender wage gap.
At the Japan Productivity Center the participants received a lecture about the three principles of productivity, Japanese-style industrial relations, and future issues and asked questions about such topics as the division of roles between the Japan Productivity Center and trade unions. In the lecture from Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) they received an explanation of industrial relations as seen by an employers’ organization and asked questions about such topics as the involvement of Keidanren in the case of an industrial dispute occurring.
In their visit to the National Association of Labour Banks the participants heard an explanation of the business’s history, principles, and front-line activities and deepened their understanding of the duties and role of a mutual-aid organization for workers. In particular, in their visit to a labour bank, they were impressed by the guidance blocks for visually impaired people.
After the program activities had been completed, the participants proposed the following action plans:
(1) Promote the conclusion of agreements in affiliated organizations on the basis of the kind of industrial relations learned about in this program.
(2) Aim for the establishment of facilities like the child day-care center at Kyoto Job Park, the Hello Work public employment offices in Japan, the Kyoto Manabi no Machi enabling children to experience work, financial institutions like labour banks, and mutual-aid organizations like Zenrosai (National Federation of Workers and Consumers Insurance Cooperatives).
(3) Post a report in the newsletter and other media (already posted on national center website).
(4) Hold a meeting of the national center’s youth and women’s committee and seek to reorganize the body based on what has been learned in Japan.
(5) Propose a reform of the employment system to the national center.
(6) Utilize what has been learned regarding wages, insurance, and social security in negotiations with the government.
(7) Investigate and implement effective means of collective bargaining. Introduce a system like Japan’s where employers cannot refuse collective bargaining.
(8) Engage in activities to increase the participation and participation awareness of women in the field of labour.

List of Cooperating Organizations

Gomu RengoKyoto Prefecture Headquarters of Zenrosai
RENGO KyotoShimadzu Corporation
National Association of Labour Banks

Many thanks to everyone.

Photos of the Participants

Lecture by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare

Visit to Gomu Rengo

Visit to the Kyoto Prefecture Headquarters of Zenrosai

Discussion with RENGO Kyoto officers

Visit to Shimadzu Corporation

Visit to the National Association of Labour Banks