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People's Big Movement

People's Big Movemen organizing committee was established in 1980 by labor unions and democratic organizations in response to the call by the predecessor of the National Confederation of Trade Unions. It calls for military expenditures to be cut in order to improve welfare and education programs.


Petitioning is an established tactic which enables people to directly make a request to the Diet, national ministries, and local assemblies based on established rules. Along with the right to vote, the right to petition is one of the constitutional rights. Under rules established in both the Upper and the Lower Houses of the Diet, petitions should be submitted to the chairman of each House through a House member introduction. If a petition is adopted by a relevant committee of each House, the cabinet should respond to the petition.

Pneumoconiosis Lawsuits

Pneumoconiosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling a large amount of dust from coal, metals, or rocks which cannot be discharged from the lungs. This is the oldest and worst industrial disease that is still incurable by modern medicine. The labor ministry's statistics show that more than 1,000 patients every year become officially recognized as patients with this severe disease. In autumn 1998, three courts ordered Mitsui Mining Co., Ltd. and Mitsui Coal Mining Co., Ltd. to accept a settlement but the Mitsui president himself went down to the court to give Mitsui's refusal. The following year, the Sapporo District Court, one of the three courts, severely condemned Mitsui for such arrogant behavior, and garnished the desk and tables from the president's room at Mitsui headquarters. Mitsui, however, immediately appealed to the Sapporo High Court without reading the verdict. Since then, the mining giant has kept refusing everything: issuing an apology to the patients, visiting their families at hospitals to express sympathy, or to visit the survivors recuperating at home. Furukawa Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, and Sumitomo Coal Mining Co., Ltd. had already accepted a settlement mediated by the courts, and Mitsui Mining Co., Ltd. and Mitsui Coal Mining Co., Ltd. will accept the settlement on August 1, 2002. However, the rest of the offenders, the government and Nittetsu Mining Co., Ltd. will carry on with the suits.

Public Order Maintenance Law

The Public Order Maintenance Law was enforced between 1925 and October 1945, a law to repress people and make them obey the Emperor System ideology with the absolute power of Tenno. 194 people were killed by torture, 1,503 died in prison, and several hundred thousand people were arrested.

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