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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 May 22 - 28  > Cruel working conditions at Olympic construction sites
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2019 May 22 - 28 [LABOR]

Cruel working conditions at Olympic construction sites

May 23, 2019
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Hatano Kimie, at a Lower House committee meeting on May 22, took up the issue in which a global union federation accuses Japan of forcing workers, including migrant workers, to bear excessively heavy workloads at construction sites for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic facilities.

Presenting a report compiled by the Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI), Hatano referred to the fact that already two workers died while working at Olympic construction sites.

She considered it a serious problem for a company, according to this report, to go bankrupt without paying wages to foreign workers working at the New National Stadium site, the main venue for the 2020 Summer Games.

Furthermore, she revealed that Japanese is the only language available at Japan Sport Council's Grievance Mechanisms for receiving whistle-blowing information via hotlines.

Culture and Sports Minister Shibayama Masahiko in response said, "The ministry is now checking the facts and will address the issue to ensure a safe and comfortable work environment at work sites in coordination with relevant authorities."

Hatano pointed out that the current conditions at Olympic-related sites violate the Sustainable Sourcing Code which the Tokyo Organizing Committee itself drew up. The Code calls for proper labor management and an appropriate working environment. It also requires that systems be established so that foreign workers can easily file complaints or ask for consultation.

Minister of Olympics Suzuki Shun'ichi said to Hatano, "As the BWI report suggests that all building contractors should educate workers on the existence and operation of the Sustainable Sourcing Code, we will give detailed instructions to all institutions concerned."

Past related articles:
> Secure labor adequate to meet Olympic stadium’s construction deadline: JCP [ August 2, 2017]
> Worker committed suicide due to overwork associated with construction of 2020 Olympic stadium [ July 21, 2017]

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