Strengthen struggle to defend the Constitution and increase membership in all affiliated unions to realize a safe, fair and peaceful Japan

Zenroren holds 37th General Council meeting (Tokyo, 27-28 July 2005)

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) held its 37th General Council meeting July 27-28 at Zenroren Hall in Tokyo and decided to reinforce the action plan adopted at the 2004 Zenroren Regular Convention based on the achievement during the past year.

Following Zenroren President Kanemichi KUMAGAI opening speech (see separate item), General Secretary Mitsuo BANNAI proposed increasing efforts on several issues for the coming year.

The main points of the Bannai report are as follows:

- To increase the struggle to stop the moves toward adverse constitutional revision, member unions will establish the "Workplace Association in Defense of the Constitution" and go on strike if the government tries to railroad through the National Referendum Bill.

- Concrete steps should be taken for all Zenroren member unions to meet in the next year's Zenroren Convention in an upswing of their memberships.

- Member unions will petition local assemblies demanding an increase in the minimum wage.

- Zenroren will establish its task force to help increase the struggle in opposition to drafting a new labor contract bill that would undermine the present legal protection of workers.

The Bannnai report also made a preliminary proposal of the "2nd draft of the intermediate plan to increase the Zenoren membership with a view to building a new trade union movement in the 21st century" and of amendments to the Zenroren Statute (to enhance women worker representation at its leading bodies). He called on all Zenroren union members to participate in the discussion of these proposals in their workplaces.

In the two-day discussions, 46 General Council members spoke on each theme, and Secretary General Bannai answered questions raised by delegates on behalf of the Zenroren Executive Committee.

The General Council meeting adopted a special resolution in support of the "Save Ariake Sea!h lawsuit. The resolution was proposed jointly by the General Council members from Kyushu block.

(From the August 15 issue of gZenrorenh)

gTherefs no doubt that Koizumi government reaches an impasse.
'Other Japan' is possible,h says President Kumagai

In his opening speech at the 37th General Council meeting on July 27, Zenroren President Kanemichi KUMAGAI I stated as follows:

Our movement since our Convention last year has contributed to rapidly developing regional joint efforts to block the adverse revision of the Constitution and achieved significant advances in organizing non-regular workers as well as workers at large companies' subsidiaries. In this year's Spring Struggle, we won the first wage increase in four years, though it was too small to fundamentally improve workers' living standards. These gains convince us that we can win further advances in our movement.

The recent fatal derailment on West Japan Railways (JR West)'s Fukuchiyama Line and many other accidents and incidents have raised questions about the way large corporations and Japan's economy are being run.

Under the neo-liberal "structural reform" policy based on the false belief that the principle of market forces as panaceas for all economic problems, the profit/efficiency -first economy is forcing the law of the jungle on our society and thus distorting the Japanese economy.

The issues of Yasukuni Shrine and the problematic history textbook edited by the "Association for History Textbook Reform" are worsening Japan's relations with its Asian neighbors. Clearly, the policies pursued by the Liberal Democratic-Komei party coalition government led by Prime Minister Koizumi at the beck of the large corporations and the United States in disregard of the public needs have reached an impasse. This is what characterized the past year.

The Liberal Democratic Party is drafting a revised constitution with the aim of adversely amending Article 9 of the Constitution to turn Japan into a "war fighting" country. Zenroren is calling on its member unions to establish their readiness to go on strike if necessary in order to prevent the bill to hold a national referendum on constitutional revision. This issue should be discussed in earnest in all places of work and communities.

It is also very important to contribute to bringing success to the coming World Conference against A & H Bombs. Zenroren has invited US labor unions to participate for the first time in the World Conference.

The biggest task now is for us to act to thwart a massive tax increase and adverse constitutional revision. We will also step up our struggle against cut-backs on social securities, job cuts and wage cuts for public service employees and the proposed adverse revision of the Fundamental Law of Education. Depending on the fate of the postal privatization-related bills, a House of Representatives could be dissolved for a general election. We should take this as an opportunity to get closer to political change in national politics. In this context, we will make every effort to make a success of the "November 19 National Rally."

As the LDP-Komei coalition government, led by Prime Minister Koizumi, has reached an impasse, both in domestic and foreign policies, various contradictions are surfacing, bringing about major changes in the attitudes of local communities as well as LDP supporters. This lays the groundwork for our efforts to realize "other Japan" with a view to achieving a safe, fiar and peaceful Japanese society.

I call on all delegates to take active part in a discussion that will lead to confirming the importance of combining struggles in all areas with the organizational build-up efforts in order to be able to hold our next Convention with an increased membership while all member organizations work to become the majority. (From the August 15 issue of gZenrorenh)