Thursday, March 26, 2015

Stop building a new US base in Henoko ~ Urgent protest at the Defense Ministry in the rain

The Abe administration resumed on March 12 an offshore boring survey in Henoko without listening to the voices of the Okinawan people. In the case of nuclear power plants, the government tries to forcibly restart nuclear reactors, ignoring the opinions in the local community or the voices of the surrounding local governments. We should feel ashamed to be the citizens of a country where these things go unchallenged, unlike any other law-abiding countries. Let us--the people of the mainland—fight the struggle with utmost effort, while trying to prevent the government from reclaiming Henoko and to minimize irreparable damages caused by acts of violence. We should act in protest so as not to disappoint the future generations.  On March 16, in the urgent protest against the Defense Ministry, two groups, “One-square-foot property owners against war in the Kanto region” and the executive committee on “No to new base in Henoko,” read out a protest statement and submitted it to the ministry. Despite the rain and an urgent request, some 80 people gathered at the ministry. They received an encouraging voice mail message from Hiroji YAMASHIRO, the director of Okinawa Peace Movement Center, saying, “Let’s continue the struggle.” (By Shina)

辺野古新基地建設を今すぐ中止せよ! 3.16 防衛省抗議要請行動


Action to pursue the responsibility of the government, TEPCO  ~We should never forgive secondary damage by TEPCO, Government

 People protested at TEPCO and at the prime minister’s office on March 11, the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear explosion. Some participants were from as far as Sapporo, while others came from Ibaraki. Delayed by the snow, Masumi KOWATA from Fukushima Women Against Nukes joined the action after a meeting in Fukushima. The protesters handed written petitions addressed to Prime Minister Shinzo ABE and to TEPCO workers. No one was willing to take it, while the only ones who took them turned out a worker at the Cabinet Office, and a guard (!) at TEPCO.

There are still 120,000 evacuees, but TEPCO and the government have made very little compensation during the past four years. They are suffering very much because of the damages caused by the explosions and hoping something would be done to the situation. Many are frustrated at the government’s attitude, but because of the struggles in their daily lives, they have very few opportunities to directly protest against or demand the government and TEPCO. Also an atmosphere is growing in which they are pressured to refrain from raising voices.  In such a situation, it is all the more significant for the protesters to continue pursuing the responsibilities of the government and TEPCO.  (By Shinya)



Action to remember Fukushima, never to restart nukes draws 23,000

The day was called “NO NUKES DAY” on March 8, as it was approaching the fourth anniversary of Fukushima nuclear disaster. A joint action against nuclear energy was held all around Japan, calling to remember Fukushima and never to restart nuclear plants. With the rain let up, people filled the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall in Tokyo holding bright red signs that read, “NO NUKES!” Actions were followed by a demonstration to the Diet, a human chain and another large rally in front of the Diet building. At the rally, people from different fields, such as lawmakers, a movie director, an author of children's books and a German Greenpeace activist spoke and demanded to decommission all the nuclear plants in Japan. “A nuke-free society is possible. This is proved by the fact that we have lived our lives without depending on any nuclear plant for the past four years.” According to the organizer, a total of 23,000 citizens participated. (By Shinya)


真っ赤な「原発反対 NO NUKES!」のプラカードが、雨の上がった日比谷野音を埋めつくしたNO NUKES DAY。4年目の3.11を迎える3月8日、「福島を忘れるな! 再稼働を許すな!」の声を一つに、全国で反原発統一行動が行われた。東京・日比谷野音は会場に入りきれない人で溢れた。午後1時からの集会、国会請願デモ、国会包囲、国会前大集会と夕方5時過ぎまで、行動が続いた。国会前集会では国会議員、映画監督、絵本作家、グリーピースのドイツ人活動家などさまざまな分野の人たちが意見を述べ、国会に向かって原発を全て廃炉にせよと声を上げた。原発ゼロは可能だ。わたしたちは4年間、原発に頼らずに暮らしてきたことがそれを証明している。参加者は主催者発表で、延べ23000人だった。(shinya) 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Postal Industry Workers Union goes on nationwide strike, demanding increases in staff and wage, and equal pay for equal work

The Postal Industry Workers Union began strikes at 24 post offices nationwide on March 16, 2015. The union demands that the number of staff and wage be increased and the unequal pay for non-regular employees be rectified. In Tokyo, the strike was carried out at Tamagawa Post Office, joined by approximately 100 supporters. Three postal workers who led the strike uniformly referred to the shortage of workers in their workplace, saying, “Due to a lack of manpower, delivery has been delayed even to the night. The situation is even worse at our Tamagawa Post Office. We demand adequate human resources be secured” and “The shortage of manpower directly causes reduction in customer service”. Japan Post abandons public service without increasing manpower despite its huge profits. At the same time, Japan Post fails to pay decent wages to its workers, especially to non-regular employees. Their demands for more staff members and wages and equal pay for equal work are really compelling. After the strike at the post office, the strikers and their supporters waged a protest action in front of the headquarters of Japan post. (M)


郵政産業労働者ユニオンは、316日、全国24の職場でストライキに突入した。2015春闘として、賃上げ・非正規差別是正・人員増を要求している。東京の拠点は、世田谷区の住宅街にある「玉川郵便局」。早朝から支援の人たち約100名が駆けつけ、郵便局周辺は赤旗が林立した。ストに入った3名が口々に語ったのは、人員不足だった。「人が足りず定刻に配達できず夜間配達が常態化している。玉川は特にひどい。ちゃんとした要員確保を求めたい」「業務に見合った人がいないことは、お客へのサービス低下に直結している」。日本郵政は巨額の黒字決算にもかかわらず、増員もせず公共サービスを放棄している。また 働く者にも還元せず、膨大な非正規職員は低賃金に置かれたままだ。「人を増やせ!賃金上げろ!非正規差別をやめろ!」は、郵政労働者の切実な要求だった。11時からは、日本郵政本社前で抗議行動を行った。(M

Shedding light on current situation in Japan from the French perspective: LaborNet general assembly in 2015

On March 7, 2015, the general assembly of LaborNet Japan was held in central Tokyo. A French film “Un racisme à peine voile” (A thinly veil racism) was screened with a commentary by KIKUCHI Keisuke, an associate professor of Doshisha University specializing in regional research in France. He said, “Poverty and gap brought by neo-liberalism are behind anti-immigration sentiment in France. The leftist Mitterrand administration first advocated a ‘welfare state’ in 1981 but soon converted to neo-liberalism with small government and reduction in welfare. Some people who were disappointed with this became apathetic about politics, and some others turned to far right”. Then, Kikuchi suggested, “The issue of immigrants and Muslims has been fabricated by the government and the media to divert people’s attention from the fundamental social problems”. According to Kikuchi, there has been fierce bashing on Muslims leading to the introduction of the “Patriot Act” in France since the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January. What is going on in France shed light on the “present and future” of Japan, referring to the “Koizumi reforms” and xenophobia in Japan, represented by Zaitokukai. (M)


37日、東京「スペースたんぽぽ」でレイバーネット総会が開かれた。二部の特別イベントでは、フランス映画『スカーフ論争』上映と菊池恵介さん(同志社大 教員・写真)の解説があった。「フランスの移民排斥の背景に新自由主義がもたらした貧困・格差がある。1981年ミッテランの左翼政権は“福祉国家”を掲げたが、すぐに新自由主義に転換し“小さな政府・福祉削減”を進めた。これに失望した層は無関心になったり、極右に投票するようになった」。そして菊池さんは「移民・イスラム問題は政治とメディアによって作られたもので、民衆の眼を社会の根本問題からそらすために使われている」と断じた。1月のパリ銃撃事件のあと、フランスでは激しいイスラムバッシングが続き、「愛国法制定」の動きも進んでいるという。小泉改革・在特会の話も出たが、フランスから日本の 「現在・未来」がくっきり見えてくる集いとなった。(M

Trade union says no to war! Memorial of the Great Tokyo Air Raids

A memorial event to hand down war tragedies from generation to generation was held on February 28, 2015 by the Katsushika Local of the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu. There, photos of the air raids were exhibited with a picture story show “Enough is enough” and a testimony of a lady who experienced the air raids. All the participants were drawn by the storyteller of the show that was produced based on a real story of a female student who actually experienced the atrocities killing 100,000 people in one night on March 10, 1945.  During war, workers and ordinary people and their family members are always obliged to kill with one another. Trade unions that defend the rights of workers have to oppose war with confidence. (National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu)