KOGA Speaks! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary

KOGA Speaks!
At the Close of the 171st Ordinary Session of the Diet

23 July 2009
Nobuaki Koga, General Secretary
Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO)
  1. The 171st Ordinary Session of the Diet was closed on July 21st, with thedissolution of the House of Representatives made by Prime Minister TaroAso. The session lasted 198 days from January 5 and ended remaining oneweek more to the end of it. The global financial crisis originated inthe subprime loan issue of the U.S.A. and the subsequent simultaneousglobal economic recession has had a far-reaching impact upon the realeconomy of our country and as is symbolized by the so-called joblessdispatched workers’ villages appeared at the end of last year and atthe beginning of this year, the situation became serious with the lossof employment through the sacking of dispatched workers and/or stoppage ofemployment intensively among such non-regular workers who are outside ofthe safety net. At the beginning of the global financial crises, the Ministerof Finance Mr. Kaoru Yosano underestimated the situation and expressed thatthe impact upon our country would be weak. But in the course of the ordinarysession, it came to be called “employment session” and the Aso’s Administrationtook up supplementary budgets in addition to FY2009 ordinary budget.Some limited achievements have been made through the measures taken urgently,but no substantial review has been made in the safety net like socialsecurity systems and other systems. We have to say the government measurestaken have been insufficient.

  2. RENGO,particularly since the autumn of last year, repeatedly demanded the governmentto take emergency employment measures , and many employment and economicmeasures demanded by RENGO such as alleviation of the requirements foremployment adjustment subsidy, expansion and strengthening of job-findingsupport system and vocational capacity development support were incorporatedin “the Measures for Economic Crisis” arranged by the government in April2009 as well as in FY2009 Supplementary Budget. Furthermore, as to thebills, RENGO tackled so as for its opinions to be influenced on themand a bill submitted by the government to revise the Employment InsuranceLaw was passed after amending it through a bill to amend “EmploymentInsurance Law”, a bill for “Support for Job Seekers” and a bill for “Regulationof Unofficial Promise of Employment” which were submitted by three oppositionparties. A bill to revise the Child Care and Nursing Care Leave Law whichseeks for realizing the compatibility of working life and family life,“a bill to partially revise National Pension Law and Other Related Laws”for raising the government’s share of contributions to the national basicpension program from one third to one half, “three laws related to theEstablishment of Consumer Agency and the Setting-up of Consumer Commission”and “the Basic Law of Public Service”, the discussion of which had beencarried over, were also passed. The other economic-related bills whichwere also passed include a bill for the Regional Capacity RevitalizationSupport Corporation Law, a bill to revise the Antimonopoly Law and abill to revise the Unfair Competition Prevention Law and other bills.

  3. However,with the dissolution of the House of the Representatives, a bill forUnification of Employed Persons’ Pension Schemes (including an expansionof the coverage of Employees’ Pension Scheme) was abandoned without anydiscussion. As to the Manpower Dispatching Business Law which RENGO copedwith preponderantly, a bill to revise it was proposed jointly by threeopposition parties but unfortunately it was abandoned. “A Bill to PartiallyRevise National Civil Servants Law and Other Related Laws” in which wereincorporated centralization of personnel management of high-ranking officersand other staffs, establishment of personnel bureau in the Cabinet Office,postings of officers and other staffs for national strategy planning,and other personnel matters were also abandoned.

  4. A no-confidence motion wasbrought on July 14 by opposition parties including the Democratic Partyof Japan (DPJ) , but the motion was rejected by a majority of rulingparties. Meanwhile, against the approval rating of the Aso governmenthanging low, movements to “force out Aso” were seen and the ruling partieswere forced to make contradictory responses. After Koizumi administration,the successive administrations like those of Abe, Fukuda and Aso maintainedtheir political power without appealing for the confidence of the peopleand consequently the political base of the ruling parties has completelyfallen down.

  5. The campaigns for the General Election have already started.RENGO, in expectation of the change of the government, will involve itselfin the election campaigns and at the same time in prospect of the nextextraordinary session of the Diet which will be convened in the autumn,RENGO will make efforts with all its might for realizing its many policypriorities which have been left behind, including a revision of the ManpowerDispatching Business Law.