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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 February 21 - 27  > Shii: Gov’t should give up submitting pro-business ‘work-style reform’ bill to Diet
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2018 February 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

Shii: Gov’t should give up submitting pro-business ‘work-style reform’ bill to Diet

February 23, 2018
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on February 22 at a press conference in the Diet building said that the government should give up on submitting a bill related to the expansion of the discretionary work system to the Diet in light of the issue which emerged regarding the falsification of survey data concerning working hours.

The data fabrication came to light in recent Diet deliberations on the government plan to expand the use of the discretionary work system. The expansion is one of the pillars of the “work-style reform” package bill which the government seeks to present in the current session of the Diet with the aim of relaxing various labor rules.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at a Diet meeting last month in a bid to give the impression that a broader use of the discretionary labor system will be effective in reducing workers’ working hours cited the Labor Ministry data indicating that workers under the system work shorter hours than general workers. However, it was revealed that the Labor Ministry fabricated the data by manipulating the statistics on working hours. Following the revelation, Abe retracted his remark.

Shii stressed that the government has a grave responsibility to look into the issue of the falsification. He said that the government should not only abandon its intent to submit the bill but also investigate what kind of effects the discretionary work system would actually have on working hours. Shii also demanded that the government make findings available for the general public.

Shii pointed out that the work-style reform package bill is based on the 2015 proposal by the Labor Ministry’s Labor Policy Council. The proposal points to the necessity of reviewing labor laws from the point of reducing excessively long working hours and promoting work-life balance. Shii said, “However, concerning the possible impact of an increase in the use of the discretionary work system on working hours, the government had not provided reliable data in the council meeting and Diet sessions after the labor council’s proposal was issued. The government finally presented data, but it was falsified. This is the essence of the problem.”

Shii said that it is essential to find out who committed the fabrication and for what end. In addition, he said that the prime minister should be held responsible for having made a remark in a Diet meeting based on such problematic information.

He also criticized Abe for making excuses for the retraction of his remark by saying, “I just presented information that the Labor Ministry had given to me,” and “I do not always understand every detail of information I receive.” Shii said, “A prime minister should not be a person who merely reads out documents written by bureaucrats.” He stated that Abe cited the false information in his own remarks and still Abe asserts that he did not know the details. Shii stressed that if such an excuse is accepted, Diet deliberations will be meaningless.

Past related article:
> JCP efforts in Diet push major insurance company to stop imposing long working hours on workers [August 1, 2017]

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