Following restrictions on entry into Japan due to the spread of Covid-19 infections, instead of inviting participants to Japan to take part in training programs, JILAF is implementing online meetings via the Internet.
In these circumstances, 11 persons (including 3 women) in the three countries of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine participated in the online Eurasia Team program on September 21 – 25, 2020. The program was completed according to plan.
These three countries were under the Soviet sphere of influence in the past and still have strong ties with Russia. Recently, however, China, which advocates the “One Belt One Road” initiative, is expanding its influence as well. In this training, the participants in Kazakhstan, where many Japanese companies have operations and which is calling on Japan for more investment, Ukraine, which has the next largest number of Japanese companies, and Belarus, which is also catching the attention of Japanese companies in recent years with the growth of its information technology industry, were able to learn about the building of constructive industrial relations and other topics.
In the opening ceremony, which took place in real time online, interest was shown in Japan’s labour movement and prevention and settlement of industrial disputes. In addition, Chairman Satybaldy Dauletalin of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan (FTURK) explained the significance of the program and expressed his gratitude to JILAF.
In a lecture on the role and issues of the Japanese labour movement, the participants were given an overall picture of what should be learned in this program. They heard about such issues as the transformation of trade unions in the postwar society and economy of Japan and the present state of trade unions; efforts to prevent industrial disputes and secure employment stability through constructive industrial relations differentiating between collective bargaining and labour-management consultations; the annual spring labour struggle; and the holding of tripartite (government-labour-management) consultations.
In a lecture on labour legislation supporting the labour movement and the social security system, the participants were able to deepen their understanding of these topics through content covering labour-related laws, such as the Labour Standards Act and Trade Union Act, and social security schemes.
In lectures by RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), the International Policy Division gave an outline of the RENGO Headquarters and explained such matters as priority activities and RENGO’s peace campaign, and the Fair Work Promotion Center explained the employment situation in Japan and labour consultation initiatives, thereby deepening the participants’ understanding.
In a lecture by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, as well as an outline of the ministry’s work, the participants heard explanations of such topics as the characteristics of Japan’s industrial relations and industrial disputes.
In a lecture on trade union leadership, after an overview of the mental readiness of trade union leaders, the social role of trade unions, and so on, the participants learned about the importance of engaging in the labour movement while taking account of the various issues facing each country and having a medium- and long-term perspective.
In a lecture by the Japan Productivity Center, the participants were given an explanation of the three guiding principles of productivity and Japanese-style industrial relations and were able to deepen their understanding of the contribution of Japanese trade unions to productivity improvement and the three guiding principles of productivity.
In a lecture by the National Conference of Associations of Small Business Entrepreneurs (Chudokyo), after an overview of the ratio and characteristics of small and medium-sized enterprises in Japan, the participants heard an explanation, with reference to specific cases, of the desired form of industrial relations in SMEs and consequent results.
In a lecture by the National Council of Workers’ Welfare (Chuo Rofukukyo), the participants learned about the history of Japan’s workers’ welfare movement and actual activities.
In discussions with JILAF executives, the executives answered questions from the participants, and then the participants proposed the following action plans:
(1) “I understood that the role of the trade union is important for increasing the profits of the company. In Ukraine there is no idea of distributing profits to workers, so I want to draft policies utilizing the philosophy of the productivity movement.” (Ukraine)
(2) “I will hold seminars on women’s activities and the qualities of trade union leaders.” (Belarus)
(3) “I want to devote efforts to the improvement of social security. I would like to establish an organization like the labour banks in Japan.” (Kazakhstan)
Although there were some difficulties after the start with communication links and so on, overall the program proceeded in a friendly atmosphere with active participation. At the same time, many participants showed an extremely strong desire to visit Japan so as to directly learn about the activities and conditions of Japanese trade unions and related organizations and to actually meet and hold discussions with related people.
|■||Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare||■||RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation)|
|■||Japan Productivity Center||■||National Conference of Associations of Small Business Entrepreneurs (Chudokyo)|
|■||National Council of Workers’ Welfare (Chuo Rofukukyo)|
Many thanks to everyone.