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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 November 26 - December 2  > Ichida: Government is responsible in regard to three points concerning jobs
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2008 November 26 - December 2 [LABOR]

Ichida: Government is responsible in regard to three points concerning jobs

December 1, 2008
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi, appearing on an NHK debate program broadcast live on November 30, pointed out that the government is tasked to fulfill three responsibilities in dealing with the nation’s worsening employment situation.

The discussion, attended by representatives of ruling as well as opposition parties, was about what to do with an extra budget to deal with the current economic downturn, in which, according to a government survey, more than 30,000 contingent workers will soon lose jobs as they are expected to be denied renewal of their contracts.

The first point Ichida made was that the government has the responsibility to regulate and have oversight over large corporations so that they will fulfill their social responsibility in employment.

He said: “Large corporations have 230 trillion yen in internal reserves and are financially capable of securing jobs for workers. The Toyota Group is spearheading massive layoffs by planning to cut 7,800 contingent jobs even though it is expected to report a profit of 600 billion yen at the end of March 2009. We do not forget that former Toyota President Okuda Hiroshi once said that an employer who fires workers deserves to die.”

Secondly, Ichida said that the six trillion yen in the employment insurance savings fund should be used to assist those who have been driven out of dormitories for temporary workers after being laid off and also to help find their next jobs.

Thirdly, Ichida stressed the need to overhaul the Worker Dispatch Law, which was adversely revised in 1999 to meet corporate needs to be able to hire and fire contingent workers at their disposal in all job categories. He pointed out that as a result of this, the number of contingent workers has increased to account for one third of the nation’s labor force.

“At that time I was on the House of Councilors Labor Committee. Not only the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties, but also the Democratic and Social Democratic parties supported the proposal to give employers of all categories freedom to hire temporary workers. The reasons they gave for their support was that it was necessary to meet the needs as well as diverse work styles or that young workers’ labor values were changing,” Ichida said.

Kitagawa Kazuo, the ruling Komei Party’s secretary-general, said that while it is necessary to review the labor laws, corporations have the responsibility to maintain employment.

Hosoda Hiroyuki, LDP secretary general, said that his party would come up with a proposal on employment by December 5.

Ichida emphasized that the destruction of employment has a very negative impact on the Japanese economy. It is essential to protect jobs in order to increase domestic demand.

He said that an estimate by the Japanese Research Institute of the Labor Movement shows that if companies hire contingent workers as full-time workers, if unpaid overtime work is eliminated, and if every worker uses his or her paid holiday, workers will increase their personal consumption, with a ripple effect of increasing gross domestic product by 24.3 trillion yen.

“To achieve this, it is essential to end the system that allows corporations to cut costs by hiring many low-paid contingent workers in lucrative boom times and drive them hard and in recession times drive them out at any time. It is important to eliminate the practice of firing temporary and fixed-term contract workers before the end of the contract term, and labor regulation should be changed from deregulation to stricter controls. It is absolutely wrong to shift the blame of the casino economy onto workers. With a view to ensuring healthy development of the Japanese economy, the government must seriously address the employment problem,” Ichida said.
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