Japan Teachers Union (JTU, also known as Nikkyoso) decided, today on February 1, 2008, to cancel the holding of the plenary session of its 57th National Conference on Educational Research which is scheduled to be held on 2-4 February 2008. JTU was forced to give up the plenary session due to the refusal by Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo (owned by Prince Hotels, Inc.) of the usage of its assembly hall irrespective of the fact that the contract of the usage of the assembly hall had been duly signed with each other. We cannot but help saying, to our great regret, that the fact JTU was forced to cancel the plenary session of its historical National Conference on Educational Research which had been continuously held 56 times since 1951 clearly constitutes the violation of the freedom of assembly and association guaranteed by the Constitution of Japan.
How things have got this ways is as follows: it was May last year when JTU concluded a contract with Prince Hotel of the usage of its assembly hall; the hotel, however, gave a unilateral notice of the cancellation of the contract in November last year; JTU immediately applied to the Tokyo District Court for a temporary injunction to the effect that the cancellation was null and void, and in December, the Tokyo District Court awarded that the cancellation was null and void; the hotel lodged a protest against the award but the protest was rejected; and on January 16, 2008, the Tokyo District Court decided to approve the usage of the assembly hall by JTU. And then, the hotel appealed the award to the Tokyo High Court, but on January 30, 2008, the Tokyo High Court decided to approve the usage of the assembly hall by JTU, dismissing the appeal from the hotel. Thus, the argument of JTU was approved in its entirety.
The arguments which the hotel brought up for the unilateral cancellation were that street campaign activities mobilized by rightist groups would cause nuisances and troubles to the people around the hotel area and that the hotel would consequently go behind in its business. However, the Tokyo High Court judged that “the confusion could be prevented if the hotel would make full arrangements together with JTU and the police authority.”
In spite of the fact that Prince Hotel was rejected its appeal by the Tokyo High Court and was ordered to let JTU use the assembly hall, the hotel neglected in public the three-time judicial decisions. This behavior of the hotel must be strongly accused as that unworthy to the constitutional state and poses a grave problem that the meaning and significance of the judiciary might be doubted.
The JTU’s National Conference is a big gathering with about 3,000 member teachers participating in each plenary session with a total of about 12,000 participants in three days. So it had been almost impossible to secure another place only in two months before the Conference started.
The JTU’s National Conference is a yearly forum in which JTU members from across the country share the achievements made by their daily educational activities and has its own significance to study the overall present state of school education from the standpoint of on-the-spot education, thus becoming one of the pillars of JTU’s policy activities as an existence to support school education. The refusal of the usage by the hotel clearly constitutes the interference with such a legitimate trade union activity.
RENGO cannot approve any actions which interfere with legitimate trade union activities. RENGO will maintain its resolute stance to protect the trade union movement based upon the freedom of assembly and association and the democracy guaranteed by the Constitution of Japan.