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Taxi workers assemble in Tokyo to call for a review of deregulation

About 2,000 taxi workers who are suffering from hardships caused by low wages and excessively long hours of work assembled in Tokyo from around the country on March 3 and marched in demonstration to call for a review of the deregulation of the taxi industry.

The day's action was called for by the All Japan Federation of Transport Workers' Unions (Jiko-soren) as part of a concerted action to win wage increases and better working conditions in the Spring Struggle.

Nikaido Tsukasa, 28, participated in the demonstration holding a placard reading "End the fare competition." He switched to a become a taxi driver a year ago from his previous occupation as a truck driver and his monthly salary recently decreased by 50,000 yen to 160,000 yen. "With this low income, I cannot even think of getting married. The government should admit that the deregulation was a mistake."

Speaking at a rally preceding the demonstration, Jiko-soren President Ryoke Mitsunori said that the Jiko-soren's persevering struggle has contributed to heightening the public awareness of the harmful effects of deregulation and forcing the government to announce steps to correct its oversight. "Workers' actions have been generated by anger as well as contradictions. Let us increase our common action."

Kokuta Keiji, a House of Representatives member, spoke on behalf of the Japanese Communist Party in solidarity with the participants.
- Akahata, March 4, 2006

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