You can't find a job if you have no money: Akahata editorial, November 19, 2001

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro in the Diet on November 13 said he will
study the possibility of privatizing the Public Employment Security Office.
When the government needs to consider the employment situation as an
"emergency" and make all-out efforts to secure employment, Koizumi is
planning to relinquish the government responsibility for job placement.

Irresponsible remarks about employment

The Public Employment Security Office provides a free job placement
service and this is why job seekers can visit it at any time. It is
necessary to enlarge the office and expand its services, as the office is a
"lifeline" for the unemployed.

Prime Minister Koizumi suggested privatizing the public employment
security offices, saying that most people are willing to pay if they can
find a job soon. This will offend those who have lost jobs and are facing
difficult conditions.

In prewar Japan, job placement businesses for profit conducted human work
traffic, imposed forced labor on the people, and enjoyed profits from
intermediary exploitation. Learning from this bitter history, governments
after WWII have provided free job placement to guarantee all people their
rights to choose their occupation, to procure income, and to get help to
find a job.

If the Public Employment Security Office is privatized, people will have
to pay to find a job. Even after they are employed they may be assessed a
cut as a commission on their wages.

Prime Minister Koizumi has repeatedly expressed deceptive and outrageous
statements. He said that at the public employment security offices the
number of job offers is larger than the number of the unemployed and that
regulations on dismissals should be established because companies will hire
more people if it becomes easier for them to fire employees. What an
irresponsible attitude he has toward employment and the precarious lives of
the working people!

His statements taken together are not just his ideas but a manifestation
of business circles' requests.

Large corporations are carrying out massive job cuts on an unprecedented
scale, utilizing the increase in unemployment and the greater mobility of
the labor market as new business opportunities for larger profits. The
business circles are calling for deregulation on rules for job placement to
allow job placement agencies to charge commissions not only on job offering
companies but also on job seekers. The government policy package on jobs
includes a review of the present regulations on job placement agencies.

The Koizumi Cabinet position of being callous to workers and their
employment prospects clearly translated in the measures which the government
has submitted to the Extraordinary Session of the Diet. The government
position is one of disregarding the need to regulate the corporate
restructuring which is the major cause of the highest ever unemployment rate
in postwar Japan. Instead, the government encourages further competition
among themselves for corporate restructuring, saying, "The government is in
no position to tell them not to restructure themselves."

Behind the statement that the public employment security office be
privatized lies the thinking that deregulation is the cure-all with a belief
in brazen market forces. The "structural reform" policy which the Koizumi
Cabinet is pursuing based on this thinking, however, has already failed.

In the last six months, the unemployment rate rose 0.5 percentage points
to mark the highest ever rate, and the gross domestic product (GDP) for
fiscal 2001 is forecast to be at a minus 0.9 percent.

As part of social services cuts, the planned major adverse revision of
the medical insurance system will increase the burden on insured persons
from the present 20 percent to 30 percent of payments for medical costs. In
October, the number of business failures was the highest since the bubble
economy burst.

Drastic job security creation measures are needed

The Koizumi Cabinet is responsible for the persistent economic recession,
and the people have to endure heightened hardships.

To settle the job question, the task now is for the government not to
privatize public employment security offices or to lift rules to facilitate
worker dismissals.

What is called for is a realistic policy on jobs: regulate arbitrary
restructuring and worker dismissals by large corporations, establish rules
to defend employment and regional economies; secure the livelihood of
jobless people, and increase employment by shortening working hours without
pay cuts. (end)