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2008年12月21日 (日)

社説:雇用崩壊 一体政治は何をしているんだ

(Mainichi Japan) December 21, 2008

Politicians should not turn deaf ear to desperate cries of unemployed

社説:雇用崩壊 一体政治は何をしているんだ

An unemployment crisis is blowing violently through the Japanese archipelago. Many temporary workers have lost their jobs, their contracts suddenly terminated. Worse still, many have been thrown out into the cold with no place to live. The alarming scramble for personnel cuts by automakers and other large corporations who in the past had been Japanese economic leaders is unprecedented.


Nissan Motor Co. announced that it would terminate all contracts with temporary workers by the end of March 2009. Fears have spread among the public as many automakers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. have revealed plans to drastically downsize their workforce, and layoffs that initially only swept through the ranks of temporary workers have begun to affect full-time employees. The wave has reached affiliate companies and contractors, and the future course is still unpredictable.


"How am I supposed to live?"


"I can't find a job."


No politician can be deaf to these desperate voices of the unemployed. It is the role of politics to provide relief to people whose jobs have been taken away from them as a result of their employers' circumstances, but the political response has been slow in coming. Many are angry and distressed: "What in the world are politicians doing at a time like this?"


A House of Councillors plenary session has passed an employment related bill submitted by the three opposition parties -- the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Social Democratic Party, and the People's New Party. Members of the ruling coalition, the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, which plan to submit a supplementary budget at the regular session of the Diet next year opposed the move, saying, "The bill only suggests everything that the government is already trying to do. It's an attempt by the DPJ to create an alibi."


Indeed, parts of the bill drafted by the three opposition parties do overlap with the ruling coalition's plans. What is important in the short time remaining in the current session of the Diet is to reach an agreement on an employment strategy and have it administered. Emergency loans and residential aid for people who have lost their livelihoods should be put into place immediately. The issue should not be left for the next regular Diet session. The lives of the unemployed rest on the shoulders of the ruling coalition and opposition parties.


In addition to a response to the immediate employment crisis, there's an urgent need for a fundamental re-examination of the Worker Dispatch Law. Most of the recent payroll cuts have taken place in the manufacturing industry, where a ban on temporary workers was lifted in 2004, leading to a shift of its workforce from full-time employees to temporary workers. As a result, when the economy suffers, temporary workers are dismissed without a second thought. Anyone can see now that non-full-time employees are considered disposable labor.


There have been increasing calls to ban temporary workers in manufacturing. Although an amendment to the Worker Dispatch Law banning daily hires has been submitted to the Diet, this is not enough. It is time for a comprehensive reassessment of the Worker Dispatch Law, including the possibility of prohibiting temporary workers in the manufacturing industry and a discussion of the pros and cons of the registration-based worker dispatch system.


毎日新聞 20081219日 東京朝刊


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« 09年度予算 埋蔵金と赤字国債が頼りとは | トップページ | テスト結果公表 学力向上に正面から取り組め »