7,000 workers take part in Feb. 10 Day of Central Action
About 7,000 people from around the country took part in a day of action on February 10, organized by the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and the Joint Peoplefs Spring Struggle Committee in cooperation with organizations representing sectors, including farmers, traders, producers, builders, and small business operators, to call for economic recovery through wage increase and for no consumption tax increase.
Decrying the recklessness of Prime Minister NODA Yoshihikofs cabinet rushing toward a consumption tax increase, a major adverse revision to the social services and Japanfs participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks, the participants, calling for nationwide solidarity to put an end to the undemocratic policies, staged protests throughout the day.
The main rally was held at Hibiya Amphitheater from noon with about 2,500 people attending.
DAIKOKU Sakuji, Zenroren president, spoke on behalf of the Joint Spring Struggle Committee. He slapped the Noda government for putting all his energy into dragging Japan to the TPP and raising the consumption tax rate by putting the needs of post-disaster reconstruction on the back burner.
He reiterated the view that economic recovery is possible only if workers are encouraged to spend money with the economy driven by growing domestic demand, adding that this is also the way to rebuild the nationfs finances.
Daikoku warned that the government is trying to cut salaries for public service employees and cut the number of the proportional representation part of the House of Representatives seats to pave the way for what it calls gsocial welfare and tax reformsh. gWe will develop a successful 2012 Spring Struggle by taking active part in the movement against a consumption tax increase and Japan's participation in the TPP and in the campaign for zero-nuclear reactors," he said.
A participant from the Miyagi Prefectural Federation of Trade Unions (Miyagi-ken Roren) spoke about his activity at a volunteer center in the tsunami-hit city of Ishinomaki to help March 11 disaster survivors solve their problems and tackle post-disaster reconstruction. He said he will do all he can to secure jobs for workers in the disaster-hit areas.
A representative of the metropolitan joint struggle council of construction workers said, "Japan's participation in the TPP will allow foreign capital to make inroads into Japanfs construction. They will try to engage in small scale contracts. This will deal a heavy blow to the nation's construction industry. We will further develop the movement demanding enactment of local ordinances ensuring that public contracts that will offer reasonable wages and working conditions.
Speakers included representatives of public service employees, contingent workers, farmers, women, and pensioners in lawsuits for the right to live.
Participants shouted slogans demanding economic recovery through wage increase, opposing a consumption tax increase and calling for the elimination of nuclear power reactors.
After the rally, participants were divided into several groups to conduct street action in front of several ministries. Later, they converged on Hibiya Park again and began to march in demonstration carrying placards and banners with the slogans. As they passed the head office of Tokyo Electric Power Company, demonstrators shouted slogans demanding that the utility take responsibility for the nuclear disaster and that it pay full compensation without delay. Their angry voices resounded throughout the business district.
After the demonstration, some participants went to the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) to express their criticism of the business leaders for making clear their rejection of base pay increase and suggesting that there should not be annual pay increase in the Keidanren Committee on Management and Labor Policy report for 2012.