Nov. 2 National Workers All-out Rally

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<Nov. 2 Speech>
Yasuhiro Tanaka
President, National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba)

First of all I thank you sincerely for your long-years’ support to the national railway struggle.
We are here today to achieve reinstatement of 1047 dismissed national railway workers and to take back workers’ unity and labor right which were destroyed by the Privatization and Division of National Railway. We are rallying here also to stop war by any means.
We stand on the crossroad of history.
The Abe administration is desperately rushing to war once again, trampling on the Constitution by the recognition of exercise of the right of collective defense. With an aim of transforming Japan into a “ war state”, terrible onslaught is being carried out on labor right, education and media in line with stirring up flood of nationalism (patriotism) and chauvinism. Capitalism in a grave crisis is provoking war in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and Palestine.

Now we are witnessing an ongoing collapse of neo-liberalism which has raged for last 30 years and an inevitably brought about a fierce result of its contradictory development:  as a typical case, 896 municipalities are facing bankruptcy and threatened to vanish. In a word, neo-liberalism has brought about a total break-up and downfall of the society. In spite of this serious outcome of neo-liberalism, the Abe administration is still intent to promote wholesale privatization, casualization of total employment, freedom of firing workers, deregulation of working hours, amendment of Workers Dispatch Law, reactionary revision of pension, medical and care systems, and so on. He is going to open up the last door to an all-out destruction of labor right.

We hear 20 million workers of irregular employment crying: “Let’s live!” While in Fukushima, radioactive contamination is spreading in an unprecedented scale never experienced by human beings before, the actual dreadful situation is concealed for the purpose of promoting nuclear power at the sacrifice of people in Fukushima.

The Division and Privatization of National Railway 28 years ago has triggered all these terrible developments. Japanese labor movement was forced to experience a bitter setback because it failed to militantly confront fierce privatization, outsourcing and union busting all through this tumultuous period. Now, however, the violent practice of these brutal onslaughts has gone too far beyond the limit. The full consequences of the brutal policy ended up with an imminent breakdown of the whole social system. Angry voices are mounting in the whole Japanese society and the history is going to move. Now is the time workers take back unity and solidarity and revive labor movement.

Looking back our struggle against the he Division and Privatization of National Railway for almost thirty years, we can proudly and confidently declare that our struggle has opened up a new dimension of Japanese labor movement never reached before: 15 years’ struggle to oppose to outsourcing of essential railway jobs to subcontractors by the privatized companies and five years’ endeavor to defend the militant tradition of national railway struggle after the concessive “political settlement” reached among the political parties and National Railway Workers’ Union on April 9th in 2010 to put an end to national railway struggle.

Meanwhile, we have got a great victory in the court struggles against the unjust dismissal of 1047 national railway workers in the course of the rail privatization: successively in 2012 at the Tokyo District Court and in 2013 in Tokyo High Court, we got judgments ruling that unfair labor practices were committed by the co-operation between the former Japan National Railways and its successors, Japan Railway Companies.

Thus the struggles against the unjust dismissal of 1047 national railway workers has succeeded to disclose publicly the true anti-labor nature of the railway privatization and acquired the highest position in the history of Japanese labor movement. We are now challenging a vital task of fighting back capitalist attack on workers to put them into irregular employment by ongoing outsourcing and to establish a link with dispatched workers in subcontractors of JR companies and organize them for a common struggle against outsourcing and irregular job.

Our colleagues of Doro-Mito are engaged in organizing strike in workplace in support of people of Fukushima, who have been suffering from the government’s policy of promoting nuclear power in sacrifice of people.

All these efforts just answer the urgent needs of the times to gather all angry voices of working class people against the present cruel situation for the advancement of the militant labor movement.

JR (Japan Railway Companies) are facing now a total systemic catastrophe 28 years after the rail way privatization. Rail safety is in a desperate and helpless situation. Four of the seven privatized railway companies are ranked as failed companies. In a desperate attempt to overcome the crisis, these companies are launching endless and unprecedented attack on workers in workplace by union busting and outsourcing. The situation in railway workplace is the severest since the time of the privatization. The time of showdown has come for national railway struggle. We are firmly determined to establish a General Federation of Motive Power Workers nationwide to revive national railway struggle.
We hear a sonorous voice of working class people ringing in the whole world, a voice sharing the same aspiration for a common bright future in confrontation against the same class attack. We are very happy to tell you that we are sitting here with our colleagues and friends from Korea, USA, Germany and several other countries of the world, joining here beyond national borders.
Among others we feel the presence of the Korean high school students killed by the Sewol disasters. They are demanding their lives given back to them. We are holding today’s rally against the international background, in which workers are striking against privatization, outsourcing, dismantling medical, educational and social welfare systems and also against warfare and poverty that are prevailing all over the world. Greedy capitalists are responsible for this entire terrible situation.
Let me tell you once again that the struggle of dismissed 1047 national railway workers is now in the midst of the decisive battle at the Supreme Court. We are resolved to fight out this struggle till we gain a victory in this struggle for the reinstatement of unjustly dismissed workers. We ask you energetic support for the vigorous development of the Nationwide Campaign of National Railway Struggle. Our aim is to expand union organization beyond the wall that separates workers in regular employment and those in irregular employment as well as regular and casual workers hired by subcontractors in order to crush outsourcing.
Let’s revive militant labor unions nationwide beyond industrial branches to fight against privatization and casualization!

Let’s rise up to stop war! That is the special duty of peace-loving working class. It is an essential struggle.
Historical crossroad is before us: the related bills concerning the recognition of exercise of the right of collective defense will be brought to discussion and enactment in the regular Diet session next spring.
Let’s crush the Abe administration by the united angry power of Fukushima, Okinawa, Sanrizuka and elsewhere.
Raise you voices more loudly! For stronger and wider unity and solidarity!
Revive militant labor unions in every workplace all over Japan!


Speech on November 2 (KCTU)

Declaration of Struggle Related to Sewol Ferry Tragedy

Lee Hyeungcheul
Vice President of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions Seoul Regional Council

On April 16, 2014, Jindo was nothing but a hell. Six months have passed but the time of the Republic of Korea has been freezing since that day. 

“Stay quietly”—the passengers aboard were told as the ferry boat sank and the lives of 300 innocent people were buried in the sea. Ten bodies of student and citizen are still missing.

The capitalist greed triggered the man-made disaster. And the ineffective president did not bear responsibility for not having been able to rescue any of the victims. The horrific tragedy of Sewol ferry was not a simple accident but a massacre.

The president gave her word to fully investigate what really happened saying, “I will take this opportunity to make this country reborn.” But she fails to keep her promise. The grieving families of victims who should get consolation are fighting on the street in demand of the institution of a special law—at Gwanghwamun Square, in front of the Diet Building and outside the Cheongwadae (presidential palace). The Sewol victims’ families are now preparing to spend the winter on the street.

The president did  refuse to take hold of the grieving families’ hands  and completely ignored them. It was not the president but Pope Francesco held Kim Young-ho’s hand. The pope visited South Korea to console the victims’ families. Kim Young-ho, father of a high school girl Yoomin who died in the Sewol tragedy, was at that time on hunger strike for 46 days in Gwamghwamun demanding the pursuit of truth, the punishment of responsible persons and the institution of a special law to prevent further tragedy like the Sewol ferry incident. The pope remarked, “There is no middle road for grief.” This was a great comfort to him. 

Tens of thousands citizens joined the hunger strike in the place of Yoomin’s father. The Sewol victim families are demanding the government to give them special legal powers so they are able to investigate and prosecute. But the ruling and opposition forces only repeatedly discussed about the adoption of a special law at the Diet. On September 30, after the long negotiation, two parties reached the third round of compromise. However, the demand of Sewol victim families was not reflected. On that day, the families shouted, “Now where should we go?”

On October 22, the KCTU Soul Regional Council carried out vigorously in the rain the “March in the Streets to Demand the Fully Investigation of the Truth of Sewol Tragedy.” The workers of KCTU go to Paengmok port on Jindo every Friday by bus named “Keep Waiting” to protect the ten families of missing people still deep in the sea and fight together with them. 

The KCTU will stick out to fight together with Sewol victim families to make the decent Special Law be initiated. We will struggle to make our country with safety guaranteed. We don’t stay still until we realize a human-centered society where values of human life come first before anything including profits. We will act at our full power.



Sato Sachiko, Fundraising Committee For Fukushima Collaborative Clinic

When will Fukushima see the bright future?
On August 24 Fukushima Research Committee for the health of residents of prefecture reported that the number of thyroid cancer in children finally run up to 103.
Although one in 3,000 children actually develops thyroid cancer, they announced that "it is hard to imagine the effect of radiation" "there is no relation between dose of radiation and incidence of thyroid cancer and we cannot find regional difference in occurrence of thyroid cancer".
If this report is admitted to be correct, one in 3,000 of Japanese children should have thyroid cancer. If so it is really a serious situation. But no news paper reporter asked question at the news conference on the credibility of such an idea, to which a little thoughts would give you the right answer.
Abandoning Fukushima children in the danger of imminent death, how dare you prepare for the Olympic Games, restart nuclear power plant and export it?
Contaminated water is mounting everyday at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. No one knows to what extent the health of the workers exposed to radioactivity there will be affected.. Are you not ashamed of exporting nuclear power plant around the world while you cannot cope with the aftermath of the nuclear accident in your own country and take no responsibility for it?
Effect of the nuclear accident puts heavy strain on disability persons, elderly people and many other people. Despair over the future life is spreading among the residents of Fukushima. This phenomenon can be seen commonly in all parts of Fukushima prefecture.
Under such circumstances, election of prefectural governor took place on October 26. After the nuclear disaster, I was often asked by many people from other prefectures why we don’t demand resignation of the prefectural governor. To be honest, our energy has unfortunately run out to do it. It was the reality of Fukushima at that time.
In fact we have been waiting for the prefectural governor election for 3 years and 7 months. In the election campaign all the 6 candidates without exception formally advocated decommission of 10 nuclear power reactors in Fukushima prefecture. , It worked to make the nuclear power plant problem no issue of argument in this election. To add to it, voter turnout was as low as 45.85 %, because the major candidates was a balanced ticket of the liberal Democrats, the social democrats , Komeito and voters were disinterested..
As a result, Mr. Uchibori, former Deputy Governor and balanced ticket candidate, won the election. Decommission of nuclear power reactors is officially regarded as quite natural in nuclear disaster-affected Fukushima prefecture.
Mr. Uchibori insist, "Without the restoration of Hamadori (seaside area of Fukushima prefecture where nuclear plants are located), there can be no restoration of Fukushima." Another candidate, Mr. Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba town (a neighboring area of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant), appealed that "before restoration we need effective relief.” Mr.Kumasaka, former mayor of Miyako City, adjacent Iwate prefecture, demanded "Disclosure of information and renewal of Fukushima." But what residents of Fukushima prefecture wanted was neither "relief" nor "renewal" but "restoration". If the radioactive exposure issue was ignored, future of Fukushima prefecture is disastrous. I think so because the low state of consciousness of residents of Fukushima prefecture on the exposure issue resulted in choosing Mr.Uchibori, who never confronted the issue of exposure. Seeing the result of this election, I am inclined to think that money is ultimately more important for the residents of Fukushima than life. My heart aches.
The world watched the outcome of this election. Before the election I believed that Japan will change if Fukushima changes. If we recognize a political declaration of the voters in the second lowest turnout in the history of election, then we come to a conclusion that half of voters think that election will change nothing.
We must seriously confront the fact that we, people of Japan, have chosen an erroneous way in admitting nuclear policy for decades. and recognize the past fault. Then we move forward. Let’s make it clear that we need no nuclear plant, no military base and no war for our children in the future. Let’s reaffirm definitely that life is the most important thing not to be exposed and not to repeat such error as sending young men to the war. And let's make today a day for our new departure.

DORO-CHIBA (DC): National Railway Motive Power Union of CHIBA