ILO advises Japan to lift ban on public employees' right to strike

The International Labor Organization on November 21 recommended that Japan comply with the provisions of the ILO Convention that give public employees the right to strike.

The recommendation points out that Japan's public employee system violates the freedom of association and that it should be corrected.

Their advice is that restrictions on the right to strike be limited to administrative personnel of the central government and the police; it advises that employees of fire stations and prisons be allowed to unionize.

In 1965, the ILO made similar recommendations to Japan in relation to its public employee system. The Japanese government did not comply, and has maintained the ban on the right of public employees to strike on the grounds of "national circumstances."

At the latest ILO recommendation, the Public Management Ministry published a view that the recommendation is "unacceptable."

At the news of the ILO recommendation and the Japanese government's rejection of it, the National confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) on November 21 held an emergency rally in Tokyo, with a hundred people attending.

Zenroren General Secretary Bannai Mitsuo published a statement applauding the ILO recommendation. The statement demanded that the Japanese government immediately consult with the ILO with a view to changing Japan's public employee system to comply with international labor standards and the freedom of association.

Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) General Secretary Kusano Tadayoshi also published a statement. It called on the government to promise for a change of the public employee system in compliance with the recommendation and the ILO Treaty, and to immediately consult with all trade union organizations in order to create a public employee system in which all public employees are guaranteed with fundamental worker rights. (end)