Court rules dismissals based on frame-up are invalid

A court has ruled that the dismissals of five National Railway Workers Union (Kokuro) members who were employees of former Japanese National Railways (JNR) based on a frame-up are invalid.

The five workers have been demanding that Japan Railway Co., the company established after a breakup and privatization of JNR (1987), hire them since the Tokyo High Court in 1995 upheld the 1993 Yokohama District Court decision that they are innocent of any wrong doing and that the dismissals were invalid.

On August 29, the district court ruled that the JNR management's decision was invalid based on the 1993 district court ruling.

The five workers were fired by JNR under the pretext that they used violence against JNR officers in December 1986 at the "manpower development center" at the Yokohama freight car area in Kanagawa Prefecture. The five workers were strongly opposed to the privatization and breakup of JNR.

The JNR established the "manpower development center" with the aim of isolating union activists from other JNR workers, containing them in a center to make them sell souvenirs at station shops and do weeding, so as to weaken the JNR union.

Commenting on the ruling, Okamoto Akira, one of the defendants, said that now that the court rejected the company decision as invalid, the next step must be reinstating the five unionists in their previous positions. The government, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and JR should immediately take measures to get the unionists returned to JR workshops, he said. (end)