The coronavirus continues to rampage through society, but 2021 has begun. Unnoticed by some, several coronavirus crisis villages (sodan mura) sprang up around Japan’s capital city in recent weeks. The pandemic has devastated people’s livelihoods as well as public health.
Shane Corporation management, which earlier this year attempted to force its language teachers to repay the furlough allowance they had received during the coronavirus emergency shutdown in the spring, has followed up with yet more egregious action.
The labor union I represent, Tozen Union, this year marked its decennial anniversary–ten years since its founding on April 25, 2010.
Countless workers are struggling to make ends meet as the Covid-19 coronavirus leads to non-renewals, dispatch agency firings, and even non-payment of the furlough allowance. This includes English conversation schools, many of whose foreign instructors face economic hardship after losing their jobs.
Why not just go back to your country? This simple exhortation to foreigners experiencing difficulty living in Japan captures the stark social reality for many of them.
Today, we see the eight-hour workday as a social norm, albeit observed more in the breech. But workers shed blood and tears to bequeath this right to us.
Around Japan, workers still commute each day on packed trains and file into crowded meeting rooms. Some are told to stay home, with or without pay.
Yasuhiro Nakasone, who served as prime minister from 1982 to 1987 and died this past November 29, broke the back of Japan’s labor movement.
Tokyo General Union President Hifumi Okunuki outlines an important legal battle over paid leave and workers’ rights in Japan.
Between 2012 and 2018, I wrote a monthly column called “Labor Pains” for the Japan Times. I have left Japan Times. I am so delighted to begin a new column this month called “Bread and Roses” for the Shingetsu News Agency.