lpjuly262015

Three amigos on a mission to protect your rights

The only people who tend to know what I’m talking about when I say the words “labor relations commission” are unionists, labor or corporate lawyers and labor-law scholars. These panels are government enforcement bodies that lack the glamour and fame of the courts, the cops and even the Labor Standards Office, and sound about as dull as dish water. This is a shame, because in actual fact, they do some amazing work. Let me explain.

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Has striking in Japan become extinct?

“Strike.”

Dear reader, what do you think when you hear this word? What impression do you get? Do you see the blood, sweat and tears? Do you see an angry, vicious mob disturbing our civil society? I bet a majority of Japanese people under the age of 40 have neither a positive nor negative impression of strikes. They have no impression at all and no idea about what a strike is because strikes have become rarer in modern Japanese society. This, however, hasn’t always been the case.

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ABC NewsRadio Interview

ABC NewsRadio’s Eleni Psaltis presents Japan In Focus, a new program that takes a close look at significant political and cultural developments in Japan.

This week: Defining Joshi Kosei – high school girls hired for a range of controversial services for men, the US dollar hits its highest level against the yen since December 2002 and why people are consuming more meat than fish in Japan.

Eleni Psaltis speaks to Hifumi Okunuki and Louis Carlet from the Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union, the Wall Street Journal’s Tokyo correspondent Eleanor Warnock and Masa Kagawa, an associate professor at the Kagawa Nutrition University.

Listen here:
http://www.abc.net.au/newsradio/content/s4246199.htm

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‘Zero Overtime Bill’ is the thin end of the wedge for workers’ rights

Takuboku Ishikawa died in 1910 at the tender age of 26.  But before he left this world, he penned the following famous tanka:

働けど
働けどなお
我が暮らし
楽にならざり
じつと手をみる

Hatarakedo
Hatarakedonao
waga kurashi
raku ni narazari
jitto te wo miru

Staring at my hands
I toil and toil
yet my life gets no easier

Bewildered by his predicament, Takuboku found himself staring at the hands that connected him both physically and spiritually to his work.

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過労死をいっそう促進する「残業代ゼロ制度」はどう考えればいい

働けど
働けどなお
我が暮らし
楽にならざり
じつと手をみる

1910(明治43)年に26歳で夭逝した歌人の石川啄木による、あまりにも有名な短歌である。「どれだけたくさん働いても、一向に暮らしは楽にならないのはなぜだろう? 途方に暮れて、思わずじっと自分の手を見つめてしまう・・・」という意味である。

啄木は若き才能あふれる文学者であったが、生前はその才能が世間になかなか認められず、代用教員や校正など、生活のために様々な職に就いていた(ちなみに、彼は周囲の人に借金をしまくっており、しかもその返済をしなかったという)。ただし、啄木は肉体労働には就いていなかったので、「じつと」見つめていた手は、きっと赤剥けもささくれもなく、細く白かったのだろうと推測できる。

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In the News

執行委員長奥貫妃文が、フランスのリベラシオン誌Arnaud Vaulerin記者より、マタハラの件で取材を受けました。記事のメインはマタハラネット代表の小酒部さやかさん。奥貫は、マタハラが起こる背景や法規定との関連についてコメントしました。

Executive president Hifumi Okunuki got interviewed by Liberation in the French press journalist  Arnaud Vaulerin  about Japanese matahara (maternity harassment). The article is about Sayaka Osakabe of Matahara Net. Okunuki made a statement about the background of matahara.

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組合活動した大学の外国人講師7人雇い止め「ユニオンの排除が目的か」弁護士が批判

東京・豊洲などにキャンパスがある「芝浦工業大学」で英語を教えていたが、3月末に雇い止めになった外国人の元非常勤講師7人が4月7日、厚労省記者クラブで会見を開いた。元講師たちは、カリキュラムの変更を理由に雇用契約が更新されなかったのは無効だとして、雇用の継続を訴えた。

7人は労働組合を結成して、大学側と労働環境の改善に向けた交渉をしていた。7人を支援する弁護士は「ユニオンを排除するためにカリキュラムを変えたのではないか」と語っている。

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| ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS MACKENZIE

Japan sees progress on sexual harassment, but some still don’t get it

BY HIFUMI OKUNUKI

Once upon a time, the English word “harassment” was unfamiliar to Japanese ears. Over the past quarter-century the word has burrowed its way deep into the collective consciousness, at times even replacing the Japanese word iyagarase. Today one would be hard-put to find a citizen unfamiliar with the English version and its many derivatives (see below).

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