Non-English-Speaking Youth Team

The Non-English-Speaking Youth Team visited Japan from May 12 (Sunday) to 25 (Saturday).

Visit to the RENGO Headquarters

A total of 12 people (of whom 7 were women) participated from Cambodia and Myanmar and completed the whole program according to schedule.

Since this was a youth team, the participants had relatively short trade union experience (an average of about six years) and were visiting Japan for the first time. They showed much interest in Japan’s industrial relations, labour policy and legislation, and various systems.

In their visit to the headquarters of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), they heard an explanation of RENGO’s priority activities, organization efforts, and other topics and engaged in discussions.

In their visit to the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, they heard an explanation of the ministry’s role and the labour situation in Japan and also about employment, workstyles, and the role of the labour administration, including social security.

In their visit to an industrial trade union federation, they visited UA Zensen (Japanese Federation of Textile, Chemical, Food, Commercial, Service, and General Workers’ Unions), where they received a lecture on the organization and its activities. The participants showed much interest in unionization and asked many questions relating to promotional efforts.

The participants also engaged in discussions with students at Rikkyo University. Since many of the participants were connected to the clothing industry, group discussions were held on such themes as youth employment and working conditions based on the keyword of “fast fashion,” which is a familiar term for the students, who are also consumers. Although they took place through interpreters, the discussions were lively, and the participants and students were able to share a common awareness that youth employment involves various issues not only in Japan but around the world. It turned out to be a valuable exchange of opinions among young people who will be leaders of Japan and the world in the future.

In the regional RENGO program, on the first day the participants visited RENGO Shimane, where they received an explanation of the organization and its present conditions and activities. On the second day they visited the Shimane Prefecture Labour Bureau and Hello Work Matsue public employment security office, where they heard an explanation of its functions. In a visit to the Shimane Prefecture Government Office, after making a courtesy call on the vice-governor, the participants heard an explanation of regional vitalization efforts. They also visited a labour bank, where they learned about the background to the establishment of labour banks and the present situation. Evidently aware of the need for a similar mechanism in their own countries, the participants showed much interest and engaged in a lively question-and-answer session.

On the third day the participants visited the factory of Juki Matsue Corporation, where they had the opportunity to inspect the sewing machine production line and learn about industrial relations on the shop floor.

From Zenrosai Kyokai (National Association for Workers’ Welfare and Cooperative Insurance), the participants received a lecture on mutual-aid projects by nonprofit organizations based on the spirit of mutual assistance. Many participants commented that they wanted to introduce such a mechanism in their own countries.

Finally the participants compiled action plans, the main points of which were as follows. Since the participants were young, their action plans consisted mainly of first of all, after their return, reporting about what they had learned in Japan to their seniors and then disseminating and utilizing it in their organizations.

---“I will report to my seniors about industrial relations and then disseminate the information in the organization through training and other activities.”
---“I want to promote unionization.”
---“I want to actively promote the lobbying of employers through information disclosure demands and so on.”
---“I want to introduce Japan’s social security system and labour bank mechanism in my country.”

List of Cooperating Organizations

UA ZensenJapan Productivity Center
RENGO ShimaneShimane Prefecture Labour Bureau (Hello Work Matsue)
Chugoku Labour BankNational Association of Labour Banks
Juki Matsue Corporation (labour and management)Zenrosai Kyokai

Many thanks to everyone.

Photos of the Participants

Hearing an explanation of the efforts of an industrial trade union federation (UA Zensen)

Visit to the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare to hear about Japan’s labour policy and other topics

Discussions with students (Rikkyo University)

With officials at RENGO Shimane

Courtesy call on the vice-governor and explanation from the Labour Bureau (Shimane Prefecture Government Office)

Factory visit to learn about the workplace environment and shop-floor union activities in Japan (Juki Matsue Corporation)