Major Developed Countries Team

JILAF invited five persons from the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC), and the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) to visit Japan from February 17 to 23.

JILAF organized an international symposium on the theme of “economic globalization and disparities” with the purpose of sharing information on present conditions in which, although economies are growing, the distribution of profits to workers is distorted and the efforts of unions in the countries concerned to rectify disparities. About 100 people attended the symposium, including trade unionists and researchers.

In his keynote speech, Senior Economist Hisashi Yamada of the Japan Research Institute emphasized the need to raise the wages of workers in order to break away from the deflationary economy in Japan and the significance of the spring labour offensive reforms. The visiting union leaders then reported on the widening disparities between rich and poor in their own countries and suggested ways of correcting the situation, including the introduction of a fair progressive tax system, the introduction of labour rights in trade policy, the organization of workers by supply chain and community, and re-regulation relating to dispatch workers.

On the day before the symposium the participants heard a lecture at JILAF on the current deflationary state of the Japanese economy and issues, learning about and discussing such topics as (1) the continued wage restraint by companies citing prolonged economic slowdown and intensified international competition, (2) the sharp increase in the number of nonregular workers, and (3) the wage gap between regular and nonregular workers.

Furthermore, in visits to the RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Conference) Headquarters and RENGO Miyagi, they shared knowledge about RENGO’s efforts to address the issues of the growing number of nonregular workers and wage gaps and engaged in lively discussions on such topics as legislative revisions, organization to increase wage negotiation capabilities, and comprehensive policy and system demands to overcome the problem of growing disparities, which is the negative side of globalization.

Through the program, in view of the global development of corporate activities, the visiting union leaders shared their recognition of the need for workers also to deepen their solidarity globally.

List of Cooperating Organizations

RENGO Miyagi

Many thanks to everyone.

Photos of the Participants

A participant speaks in the international symposium.

A participant speaks in the international symposium.

In front of the RENGO Kaikan building

Discussion with RENGO President Nobuaki Koga

Discussion with RENGO Miyagi

Discussion with JILAF President Takagi