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Government shelves submitting to Diet bill to establish 'white-collar exemption'

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on January 16 announced that his government has decided not to submit to the next Diet session a Labor Standards Law amendment bill to establish the "white-collar exemption" that will allow employers not to pay overtime by removing restrictions on working hours.

Abe said to reporters, "In the present circumstances, it is difficult to submit the bill because the bill does not receive public support."

The government has attempted to push ahead with the submission of the bill in order to meet the demands of business circles and the United States in defiance of the strong opposition of labor organizations, including the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo).

Commenting on Abe's remarks, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi, who heads the JCP task force on the struggle to block an adverse revision of labor laws, on the same day stated as follows:

We have made clear our opposition to the submission of this bill that will allow long working hours to be unchecked and force workers to work overtime without pay.

The fact that the prime minister described the submission of the bill as difficult implies that he felt that this bill is inappropriate.

The JCP will make utmost efforts in and out of the Diet to force the government to completely give up on the submission of the bill even after the House of Councilors election this summer.
- Akahata, January 17, 2007

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