Business leaders call for working hour regulations to be removed

The Japan Business Federation (JBF), led by Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Okuda Hiroshi, is demanding that the government abolish regulations on working hours, unpaid overtime work, and the use of temporary workers.

The "Request for Regulatory Reform," submitted by the JBF to the government in November, states, "Excessively restrictive administrative directives and other measures should be restrained," in addition to making calls for revisions of the Labor Standards Law and the Worker Dispatch Law.

The list of 23 items includes a review of the directive to end unpaid overtime work which requires all companies to manage workers' working hours. This directive was issued by the Labor Ministry in 2001 and has pushed 2,201 companies to pay workers 42.7 billion yen in back pay for unpaid overtime work. The continued struggles of workers and their families as well as efforts by the Japanese Communist Party members in the Diet discussions contributed to issuing this instruction.

The JBF also calls for lifting a ban on employment of temporary workers in the fields of port transport, construction, security, and medical service. It proposes that the term of short-term contract workers be extended from the present three years to five years.

The JBF reported that State Minister for Regulatory Reform Murakami Seiichiro had said, "We will do our utmost to realize the demands." (end)

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