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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 April 26 - May 9  > 2023 May Day rallies call for ‘No!’ to tax increases to cover planned huge military buildup
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2023 April 26 - May 9 TOP3 [LABOR]

2023 May Day rallies call for ‘No!’ to tax increases to cover planned huge military buildup

May 2, 2023

In celebration of the 94th May Day in Japan, rallies free of COVID-related restrictions took place on May 1 at 256 locations throughout the country, appealing for the need to win substantial wage hikes to deal with price hikes and calling for opposition to the government move to increase taxes to cover the planned huge military buildup.

In Tokyo, the 94th May Day central rally was held in Yoyogi Park with 15,000 people, mainly union workers, participating. After the rally, carrying various creative signs and banners, participants marched in demonstration through Tokyo’s three main shopping districts.

In the rally, National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) President Obata Masako delivered a speech on behalf of the May Day organizing committee. She stressed that in this years’ “shunto” spring wage offensive, Zenroren member unions worked harder than ever before to win substantial wage hikes. She called on the participants to work together with a wide range of workers and people to oppose the government’s move toward tax hikes to help pay for a huge military buildup and work to build a peaceful Japan which abides by the Constitution.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in his speech in solidarity noted that not only in Japan but also in other countries union workers staged strikes to win higher wages to counter the ongoing price surge. He emphasized the significance of a militant labor movement.

Appearing on the stage, union representatives made speeches. Among them was a member of the General Federation of Japan Printing and Publishing Workers’ Unions (Zen’insoren) Kato Megumi who works at a microfilming services company. She said, “In order to fight back against unreasonable demands on workers made by the company, we formed a union in February. Our union succeeded in attracting many workers, including non-regular ones, and became a major influence in the company.”

At the rally venue, Sekine Kyosuke, member of the Japan Metal, Manufacturing, Information and Telecommunication Workers' Union (JMITU) who works at a precision equipment maker, said, “Seeking to urge the company to offer base-pay increases exceeding the rate of inflation, the union carried out strikes ten times and won a monthly pay increase of more than 10,000 yen.”

An officer of the National Federation of Consumers' Cooperatives Workers' Unions (Seikyo-roren), Sugamoto Maiko stressed that a substantial increase in minimum hourly wages is urgently needed to help non-regular workers survive the rising cost of living. She said, “Non-regular workers receive lower wages than regular workers although they do the same work, which is unfair.” She expressed her determination to work hard to create a workplace with no wage gaps so that everyone can work without anxieties and earn living wages.
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