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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 March 11 - 17  > Unions and organizations for freelance workers call for gov’t financial assistance amid coronavirus crisis
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2020 March 11 - 17 TOP3 [LABOR]

Unions and organizations for freelance workers call for gov’t financial assistance amid coronavirus crisis

March 13 & 14, 2020

Unions and organizations representing freelance workers, including performing artists and writers, on March 12 held a press conference in the Labor Ministry Office building, demanding drastic government measures to provide financial support for freelancers and workers or “independent contractors” who experience loss of earnings due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Those participating in the press conference were representatives of the Mass Media Information and Culture Union (MIC), a freelance liaison association, the Japan Actors’ Union, a nationwide rakugo arts organization (Rakugo Geijutu Kyoukai), and the Japan Belly Dance Association.

Currently, as measures to financially support coronavirus crisis-affected freelancers, the government plans to offer emergency loans of up to 100,000 yen to such workers. In addition, the government will provide 4,100 yen a day in compensation benefits to freelance and self-employed parents who are hit by a nationwide school closure. The amount of compensation benefits, however, is nearly half of the amount paid to employees (8,330 yen).

At the press conference, union and organization representatives talked about the severe economic impact from the virus outbreak on freelance workers. According to them, for example, musicians are facing a huge income loss due to the cancellation of scheduled performances and the temporary closure of live music houses. Freelance writers are experiencing a drastic decrease in orders because of coronavirus-related cancellation of events.

MIC Secretary General Iwasaki Sadaaki said, “The amount of compensation benefits paid to freelance workers affected by the school closure should be the same as that paid to employees. The government should also set up a counseling center to help freelancers deal with their coronavirus-related problems.”

The International Federation of Actors (FIA) and the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) are also concerned about a lack of measures to support Japanese performing artists to survive economically amid the coronavirus crisis.

The two organizations on March 12 issued a statement. It points out that Japanese performing artists are unjustly excluded from the designation as “worker” under Japanese law and receive little protection in regard to their social rights. Stating that these artists are facing loss of earnings and jobs in the wake of the spread of the new virus, the two organizations expressed their support for the demand of the Japan Actors’ Union and the Musicians Union of Japan for adequate government measures.

Past related article:
> New coronavirus crisis rightly highlights anti-people nature of Abe government [March 1, 2020]
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