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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 April 28 - May 11  > 2021 May Day rallies appeal for need to replace gov’t to protect lives and jobs during pandemic
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2021 April 28 - May 11 TOP3 [LABOR]

2021 May Day rallies appeal for need to replace gov’t to protect lives and jobs during pandemic

May 2, 2021

On May 1, calling for realizing a change of government to protect lives and jobs during the ongoing pandemic, rallies commemorating the 92nd May Day took place at 16 locations across Japan in accordance with the COVID-19 rules set by the government. The 92nd May Day central rally was held in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park with a limited number of participants and many others via online streaming apps.

National Confederation of Tarde Unions (Zenroren) President Obata Masako on behalf of the organizing committee delivered a speech. She pointed out that cutbacks in public sector jobs and public services under neoliberal policies have weakened Japan’s medical and public healthcare systems. She said, “Let us oppose ‘growth’ strategies bulldozed through by the government and business circles under the pretext of confronting the coronavirus crisis. Let us work hard to eliminate inequalities and to create a just society where everyone can have a decent life with an eight-hour work day.”

The rally received video messages from Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo and representatives of a Miyagi-based NPO working for a better healthcare system, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).

Shii in his video message said that the current coronavirus crisis is a “man-made disaster” made worse by the Suga government. Referring to the fact that the hashtag “Medical workers are opposing the dispatch of nurses to the Summer Games” has trended on Twitter. He said that the government should cancel the Games and focus on efforts to put an end to the pandemic. In addition, he cited the opposition parties/citizens alliance’s victory in the latest three national elections and appealed for the need to realize a coalition government of opposition parties in the next general election in order to drastically change Japan’s world of politics.

Some union representatives delivered speeches. An officer of the Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions (Iroren) said, “It is unacceptable to force medical workers, who are already exhausted by the ongoing fight against COVID-19, to volunteer for the Summer Games.” She expressed her determination to work hard to oppose the Tokyo government’s plan to turn public hospitals into for-profit entities and the Suga government’s policy of cutting further the number of available hospital beds.

Past related articles:
> Tokyoites' medical resources may go to for-profit 'medical tourism' [March 11, 2021]
> Suga gov’t sticks to policy of decreasing number of hospital beds in midst of COVID-19 pandemic [March 4, 2021]
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