42nd Central Committee Meeting

Bring Back a Japan Where People Can Lead Happy, Safe Lives

08 June 2004
On June 1, RENGO held its 42nd Central Committee Meeting at the Ikenohata Bunka Center in Tokyo, where approximately 300 people including Central Committee members and audience members were in attendance. Among the issues endorsed by the committee were the "2004 Spring Struggle Interim Report," "FY2004-5 RENGO Priority Policies," and the "Establishment of a Control Committee." The committee elected Kazuo Hitomi of JICHIRO to fill the position of Acting President due to current Acting President Sakakibara stepping down from this position.

Photo: President Sasamori said Photo: President Sasamori said
RENGO President Sasamori stated that RENGO will "secure our citizen’s desire for a sense of security in their lives, stability for the future, and safety for their regions. RENGO also is setting aside this year as a first step toward a recovery from last year’s low point and will bring back a Japan where people can lead happy, secure lives." Sasamori emphasized that RENGO would play a large role in that process. As for securing and maintaining the wage curves which we worked for during the Spring Struggle, Sasamori said "we realize that we saw results in making this a year of recovery establishing last year as the low point." On narrowing disparities through supporting small to medium-sized and local unions as well as strengthening joint struggles, President Sasamori had the following praise to offer: "Through cooperation among unit unions, industrial federations and RENGO, the initial activities of small to medium-sized unions and local unions successfully reduced wage disparities which had continued to widen. This clearly illustrates that we have succeeded to blaze the path of reform of the Spring Struggle, something that we have been seeking for the past few years." Sasamori said we need to continue working on activities for the improved treatment of atypical workers and the abolition of unpaid overtime year-round.

On the issue of pension system reform, Sasamori touched on his two meetings with Prime Minister Koizumi, where they confirmed to establish a council involving labor and management for radical reform of social security systems. Sasamori decisively told the audience that "RENGO will realize the path it has created for fundamental reform by taking responsibility and in accord with public opinion."

President Sasamori also commented on the bribery incident that took place at the Central Social Insurance Medical Council (CHU I KYO) and Japan Dentists Federation (NISSHIREN) saying that "it was truly regrettable and utterly lamentable. I sincerely apologize from the bottom of the heart to all of our citizens and union members. From now on RENGO will be clearly distinguished for its high standards of recommendation so that this sort of thing never happens again and it will continue to provide thorough instructions repeatedly and on a periodic basis so that each committee member can continue to maintain a proper sense." The Central Committee will endorse the establishment of a control committee and decide proper punishment for this problem.

After hearing the report on general activities delivered by General Secretary Kusano, some of the opinions presented on pension system reform included the following: "we can praise the fact that we made PM Koizumi promise to set up a council which will include labor and management." (SERVICE RYUTSU RENGO = Japan Federation of Service Distributive Workers' Unions) A contrary opinion was also expressed: "while union members work on movements telling people that we don't need such a bill from the government, it’s confusing to be asked if scraping the bill is enough. We need more measured remarks as well as explanations that union members can understand." (KIKAN ROREN = Japan Federation of Basic Industry Workers' Unions)

Furthermore, President Okada from the new executives of the Democratic Party of Japan appeared before the committee, and gave a speech of solidarity expressing his resolution for a change of government.

The proceedings of the committee were discussed in the following order: "election of an official to fill an open position," "award presentation," "establishment of a control committee," "2004 Spring Struggle Interim Report," and the "FY2004-5 RENGO Priority Policies."

During the discussion over the "2004 Spring Struggle Interim Report," the following opinions were presented: "we want (RENGO) to strengthen activities for uniform organization of the Spring Struggle." (SHITETSU SOREN=General Federation of Private Railway and Bus Workers' Unions of Japan) "It deserves special mention that RENGO led the setting of the demand standards for small to medium-sized unions, as well as a proposed wage level which guarantees living standards. It was an encouragement for small to medium-sized unions, but, it is now crucial how we follow up with those unions that have not yet received results at the present moment." (ZENKOKU IPPAN = National Union of General Workers) "Working conditions of organized workers have not yet influenced atypical workers so any recognition of the real conditions of the two situations is bound to be different. RENGO should work on problems together with equal treatment for part-time workers and the pension system." (ZENKOKU UNION = Japan Community Union Federation)

In response, General Secretary Kusano stated that RENGO will utilize these and other opinions that will be voiced in upcoming meetings and make use of them for their August summary.
Other reports that were also presented at the committee meeting included the first stage statistics of 2003 to 2005 Organizational Expansion.