Nach Abes erneutem Wahlsieg: Linke japanische Gewerkschaften verstärken Mobilisierung

tokiodemoMehr als 70 Prozent der Abgeordneten im neuen Parlament werden also für eine Reform der japanischen Verfassung stimmen können – zu Lasten des Pazifismus. So zeichnet sich nämlich die notwendige Zwei-Drittel-Mehrheit für eine Überarbeitung von Artikel 9 ab, in dem Japan auf das Recht auf Kriegsführung verzichtet. Diese Reform ist Abes eigentliches politisches Ziel. Um das zu erreichen, wird der Nationalist auch weiter den Scharfmacher geben. Dabei wird er ignorieren, dass nur etwas mehr als die Hälfte aller Japaner an die Wahlurnen gegangen ist und es Umfragen zufolge keine Mehrheit für eine Abkehr vom Pazifismus gibt“ – aus dem Kommentar „Ein japanischer Populist“ von Martin Fritz am 22. Oktober 2017 in der taz externer Link, in dem diese erneut vorgezogene Wahl als ein wesentlicher Schritt des Militarisierungsprogramms bewertet wird. Siehe dazu unsere Dokumentation des gemeinsamen Aufrufs „November 5 National  Workers’ All-Out Rally – Stop Constitutional Revision!“ der linken Gewerkschaften Kan-Nama, Minato-Godo und Doro-Chiba (engl.) zur alljährlichen Novemberdemonstration, zu der nach diesem Wahlergebnis verstärkt mobilisiert wird, mit dem Schwerpunkt, gegen die kriegerische Verfassungsänderung Front zu machen:

„Revive Militant Labor Unions!  Victory for the Struggle of National Railways!
10 Thousand Workers’ Grand March against War, Privatization and Dismantling of Labor Laws“

Solidarity Union of Japan Construction and Transport Workers Kansai Area Branch (Kan-Nama)
Metal and Machinery Workers’ Union in Osaka (Minato-Godo)
National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba)
Nationwide Movement against the Division and Privatization of National Railways and for the Withdrawal of the Dismissal of 1047 National Railway Workers (Nationwide Movement of National Railway Struggle)

It was 1998 when we, the three unions—Kan-Nama, Minato-Godo and Doro-Chiba—started holding the November National Workers All-out Rally with a call for establishing a nationwide network of militant labor unions. Though we were well aware at that moment that our endeavor was too reckless as a small stream, we boldly dared to issue an appeal to workers all over the country. And now this autumn we are going to hold the 20th November rally. We would like to express our greatest thanks for the efforts of all the organizers, participants and supporters toward the realization of our ideals. And again we appeal to you. The time has come for us to rise up with firm determination. After 20 years of strenuous efforts to revive labor movement, the time is coming to closely associate our efforts with a furious voice of people now filled in our society.

The brake on war drive is going to be released. The crisis of war over Korean Peninsula and East Asia is imminent. Abe government forcibly enacted recently security-related laws1) (war laws) and conspiracy law2), and in line with that, declared to have a new Constitution enacted in 2020. A string of recent suspicious political issues—Moritomo Gakuen3) &Kake Gakuen4) Scandals and Defense Ministry’s disclosure of daily report issue5) have exposed evil and corruption prevail in Abe’s inner circle. Although being on the verge of a crisis, Abe does not change his policy to submit a draft of revised Constitution of Liberal Democratic Party to an extraordinary Diet session scheduled for this fall. “Stop war” has been a consistent and biggest agenda for Japan’s postwar labor movement. We shall never let war start again. It is high time to go back to the starting point and unite every angry voice of working class people.

  1. Security related laws: the laws allow Japan to fight overseas in the name of “right to collective self-defense” for the first time after WWII under the war-renouncing Constitution.
  2. Conspiracy Law: the law allows authorities to criminalize planning and preparations to commit crime.
  3. Moritomo Gakuen Scandal: a private educational firm with a nationalist bent, secured a huge and suspicious discount on state-owned land at a seventh of its listed price for a new elementary school. Shinzo Abe, his wife Akie and prominent politicians support its conservative education ethos.
  4. Kake Gakuen Scandal; Kake Gakuen won approval from the central government to open a new veterinary department of its Okayama University of Science in a special strategic zone. It is suspected that the government might have chosen Kake Gakuen for the deregulation project because of Abe’s close friendship with Kake.
  5. Defense Ministry’s daily report issue: The allegations of a cover-up involving logs that recorded the daily activities of troops serving as UN peacekeepers in South Sudan and the then Defense Minister Tomomi Inada’s alleged involvement. The logs described particularly tense situations in the fledgling African country and their disclosure last year could have adversely affected the government’s push to continue the troop deployment and assign new, and possibly riskier, security responsibilities during the UN mission.

Abe government is attempting to deliver a death blow to the postwar labor laws by establishing so-called “Work Style Reform.” The core intent of this reform is to abolish regulation on dismissal and create a society where there are no regular job workers (total casualization of workers).  “Zero Overtime Pay Bill” will be submitted to an extraordinary Diet session this fall. The conversion of fixed-term employment to permanent employment begins from April next year. This really is a brutal attack on 4.5 million targeted workers that force them into a “regular employee in name only” who will be paid at about the same level as minimum wages. Employment system is now going to be destroyed fundamentally. The government is promoting to privatize all public services and works, dismantle social security system and abandon rural areas. A total breakdown of society is now beginning.

Some executives of Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) are showing their readiness to accept the Zero Overtime Pay Bill at the meeting with Prime Minister Abe. But a large number of labor unions and workers affiliated to Rengo opposed it and protested calling for the federation to withdraw the acceptance of the government’s request immediately. Although the Abe government attempted to create its power base within Rengo to publicly support its policy of Constitutional revision that can legally wage war and dismantling of the labor law, it has failed for the time being because it was too coercive. In the prewar period, the government abolished independent labor unions and organized all industrial workers into company-by-company political cells called Industrial Patriotic Associations (Sangyo Houkokukai) in 1940. In postwar period, in 1946, the Japanese Congress of Industrial Organizations (Sanbetu Kaigi) was formed but disbanded during the Korean War in 1950. Instead, the General Council of Japanese Trade Unions (Sohyo) was established. The division and Privatization of Japan National Railways (JNR) in 1987 resulted in breaking-up of the Sohyo and was replaced by the Rengo. The forth transformation of national federation of labor unions is now going to start in Japan. This shows that the time has come to discuss about how we transform and reorganize our labor movement.

The 30-year struggle against the division and privatization of JNR has been actually the biggest showdown over union busting in  post-war Japan. At the same time, it has played a decisive role in stopping the revision of the Japanese Constitution. From the onset, the underlying intention of the division and privatization of JNR has been the “laying the foundations for enshrining a strong Constitution through the privatization and division of the JNR, that would bring about destruction of the National Railway Workers’ Union”. It was openly declared by the then Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.

Now, under the banner of “Withdraw the dismissal of 1,047 National Railway Workers! Smash the outsourcing, personnel transfer and irregular employment!” we are determined to launch fierce counter-offensive.

The November Rally has been developed into international solidarity struggle against war and neoliberalism since 2003 by demanding an end to the Iraq war. Last year, we successfully started to organize this rally as part of the epoch-making “International Joint Action in November in Tokyo and Seoul” with a call for all over the world. This year, the November Rally will be held by welcoming Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and many foreign union representatives.

We have decided with a fresh determination for a significant leap forward, to carry out the 20th anniversary of the rally on November 5th with a new scheme in two steps:

From noon to 2pm: National Workers All-out Rally against war, privatization and dismantling of the labor law

From 2pm: People’s All-out Rally against constitutional revision and Ten Thousand People’s March in Ginza, downtown Tokyo

We would like to step into a new phase of revitalizing labor movement. Let’s stop the revision of the Japanese Constitution and war! Let’s crush neoliberalism! We sincerely ask your endorsement to and participation in November 5 National Workers All-out Rally and  Ten Thousand People’s Grand March”.

  • Name of the event: November 5th National Workers All-out Rally for victory of national railway workers’ struggle and revival of militant labor unions. Ten Thousand People’s Grand March (International Joint Action in Tokyo and Seoul) against war, privatization and dismantling of labor law
  • Date: Sunday, November 5, 2017
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Venue: Hibiya Open-air Music Hall, Tokyo
  • Contact: