JCP's parliamentary questioning causes Toyota assembly lines to stop

Toyota Motor Corp. called a brief halt to its production lines on January 29 to announce that the company would correct habitual long working hours.

It is extremely exceptional for an automaker to turn off its assembly lines by itself. The workers were all surprised by the event.

Each time shift-workers came to the plant on the day, Toyota stopped the lines for 15 minutes and held a meeting to announce that the company would try to eradicate the inappropriate checking of working hours.

Five days earlier, this globally famous car maker had informed the workers of the need to hold an emergent meeting, following the accusation made at the Diet by the Japanese Communist Party's Yamaguchi Tomio that Toyota has been forcing its workers to work extremely long hours.

Yamaguchi stated that at Toyota, employees are working 2,434 hours a year on average, 442 hours longer than the national average. Toyota's monthly overtime is 66 hours, exceeding the 45-hour government limit set to prevent death from overwork. Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro admitted the condition at Toyota as "aberrant."

The event has encouraged Toyota workers and the others who work under bad working conditions. They now believe, "Things may change if we act." (end)

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