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U.S. demands deregulation of labor laws

The U.S. government is urging the Japanese government to deregulate labor laws, pressuring it to include U.S. requests in labor-related bills that it is preparing to submit to the next ordinary Diet session. This is clearly U.S. interference in the domestic affairs of Japan.

At a working-level meeting of the Japan-U.S. Investment Initiative held in Tokyo on December 2 last year, the U.S. side demanded that the Japanese government deregulate the Worker Dispatch Law and expand the categories of workers who are exempt from entitlement to overtime payments.

The Investment Initiative was established as a mechanism in which the U.S. government makes requests regarding Japanese domestic affairs. At the December 2 meeting, participated by representatives of governments and business organizations of both countries, the U.S. made remarks hostile to the regulations in Japanese labor laws.

The U.S. demands made at the meeting were based on a policy recommendation entitled "Enhance Labor Mobility" published by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ). It urges Japan to "further reduce restrictions on the Worker Dispatch Law," "encourage greater freedom of contract in the employment relationship," and "expand the range of employees who are exempt from entitlement to overtime payments."

The Worker Dispatch Law requires companies to offer direct employment to contingent workers who have been working for them more than a certain period (1 year in the manufacturing industry). The ACCJ demands the withdrawal of this requirement.

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro and U.S. President George W. Bush in 2001 agreed to establish the Investment Initiative in addition to the Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative.

The U.S. has established a setup of interference in Japanese affairs by which U.S. requests are implemented a few years later. The U.S. government has been calling for an introduction of mixed medical services to meet U.S. insurance corporations' demands. The bill to introduce the mixed medical services is being discussed in the current Diet session.
- Akahata, March 7, 2006

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