A call for vigorous pre-convention discussion and effort to organize

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) will hold its 22nd Convention from July 26-28 in Tokyo.

The Convention will discuss and adopt a new plan of action for the next two years and a medium-range plan for organizing. The final drafts to be discussed at the Convention have been sent out to member unions as well as local centers by one month before the Convention.

The Convention will take up the task of accurately analyzing the present tumultuous situation in Japan and establish a policy that meshes with the situation surrounding the trade union movement.

Amid a rapid movement toward building a war-fighting nation through promoting a national referendum law aimed to adversely revise the Constitution, an adverse revision of the Fundamental Law of Education, and legislation of a conspiracy crimes law, we will discuss ways to rapidly develop the Article 9 Associations into a major national movement.

Paying attention to the role of trade unions in the 2007 House of Councilors election and simultaneous local elections, we must seriously discuss the role of the Zenroren task force in quest for a new Japan through repelling the intensifying attacks on government and public employees, and in blocking plans to force the people to pay more in the consumption and other taxes.

Secondly, we are called upon to thoroughly discuss the task of "organization of new trade unions" as proposed in the medium-range plan, including the future Zenroren movement and structural reforms.

We will particularly focus our attention on ways to organize the growing number of contingent workers, win equal treatment between full-time workers and contingent workers. We will also discuss how to initiate a full-fledged effort in places of work as well as local communities to develop a labor movement that represents the local interests through developing activities of "local unions" and "youth unions."

We will also discuss in earnest ways to establish a setup, including financial bases, for promoting the organizing that unites Zenroren, industrial unions and local trade union centers.

Thirdly, in quest for the establishment of rules of work, we will discuss how to fight the merit-based wage system and how to block the dangerous legislation of labor contract law as well as further adverse amendments to the Labor Standards law.

Along with the pre-Convention discussion, which is taking place in member industrial unions and local centers, let us organize a thoroughgoing discussion at workplaces and local communities, so that all member organizations can achieve an increase in their memberships toward the Zenroren 22nd Convention. (Zenroren, June 15, 2006)

Day of National Action - May 27

Calling for opposition to the adverse revision of the Constitution and defense of better and safer living conditions, about 50,000 people braved rain to assemble in Tokyo from around the country for a National Day of Action on May 27, which included a rally in Yoyogi Park and a march in demonstration on three different courses.

On the previous day, participants attended a rally in front of the Diet (parliament) and brought about 380,000 signatures bearing people's demands to Diet members.

In the rally, KUMAGAI Kanemichi, Zenroren president, spoke on behalf of the organizers. Referring to the movement developing in many parts of the country in opposition to the adverse revision of the Constitution and the Fundamental Law of Education, and to the adverse medical reform, he said: "We now stand at a very critical moment. Justice and the cause are on our side. Let us do all we can and join forces to win victory in this historic struggle."

Speaking on behalf of the Japanese Communist Party, Chair SHII Kazuo called for every effort to be made to stop the undemocratic laws and scrap the proposed bills."

EJIRI Mihoko spoke on behalf of the YWCA. She said: "Patriotism can only be expressed by defending Article 9 of the Constitution. The power of all those who are participating in this rally in the midst of rain for peace should be directed to the government. We should do our utmost to defend peace in solidarity with people of the world."

OKUMURA Waichi, who appears in the documentary film "Ant soldiers," spoke about his war experience. He was a Japanese soldier but abandoned in China after the end of World War II. He said, "I killed people" and denounced war for turning good citizens into homicidal maniacs. (Zenroren, June 15, 2006)