Recently, there continue to be outrageous crackdowns, in defiance of common sense, against the All-Japan Construction and Transport Solidarity Union, Kinki Regional Headquarters, Kansai Nama-Kon Branch. From August through October, a shocking 23 Union members have been arrested, with many of them even now still detained.
The Shiga and Osaka prefectural police forces are at the center of this suppression, with those in Kyoto, Nara and Wakayama prefectures also working together, competing to crack down repeatedly as if in a contest. Also, an unprecedented aspect of this now is that, following directions from the National Police Agency, the Organized Crime Division has come to the forefront. In other words, the suppression this time is unmistakably a move by the power of the State to treat labor unions as being “antisocial forces” just like boryokudan (organized crime groups) and smash them with all its might. However, unions are groups or workers joining together to exercise their basic labor rights as guaranteed by the Constitution, so there is no way they could possibly be “antisocial forces”.
However, unforgivably, union members have now been arrested on charges of “(attempted) extortion” and “threats” for making demands of the employer in collective bargaining; and on charges of “forcible obstruction of business” for going on strike. These arrests are egregious. If unions cannot press an employer in collective bargaining and cannot exercise their right to act collectively against an employer who ignores the workers’ demands, this is as good as declaring that unions must stop being unions. This situation is an urgent one that will have a serious effect on the future of the labor movement.
What makes the abnormality of this suppression even more apparent is the ugly collusion between the employers’ association executives and racist elements. The current state of affairs, where they are so desperate to bust the union that they have even swept in former leaders of the *Zaitokukai, shows vividly how the power of the State is seeking to stamp out the movement and organization of the Kansai Nama-Kon Branch and their resolute fight against war and for peace–including the anti-base struggle, the fight for Japanese-Korean solidarity, and so on–before the change of Emperors next year.
Zenrokyo is a group of labor unions organized by workers in all sorts of industries, jobs, and forms of employment. Each has its own opinions on how the movement and the organization ought to be, and each has its own style. However, with the disparities in society continuing to deepen, the importance of unions is growing. We will never let anyone rob us of our rights to have collective bargaining and go on strike, let alone allow racists to interfere in industrial relations.
Based on the above points of view, we not only protest this outrageous crackdown with full-hearted fury, but have made up our minds, in order to protect the dignity of the labor movement, to continue participating from now on in the fight to denounce unjust suppression.
Resolved, as above.
November 11, 2018
Osaka Zenrokyo 311th Executive Committee
*Zaitokukai, full name Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (在日特権を許さない市民の会, meaning Association of Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi), is an ultra-nationalist and far-right extremist political organization in Japan, which calls for an end to state welfare and alleged privileges afforded to Zainichi Koreans.