October 13, 2008

International World Teachers Day in Tokyo and Osaka

On October 6, in solidarity with worldwide actions in International World Teachers Day, Japanese education workers stood up for rallies in Tokyo and Osaka. In Tokyo, a rally was held at 18.00 17:00 in the evening in front of the building of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office with 150 participants including education workers of Tokyo and Kanagawa prefecture, workers of other sectors and their supporters.

Sister YONEYAMA Yoshie of Tokyo Teachers Union, one of the sponsors, reported that brothers and sisters of UTLA were simultaneously holding a rally in Los Angeles, denouncing military recruiting in schools in the name of NSLBstandardized testing under NCLB, and that also in San Francisco another rally was taking place. She added she got news from Osaka that there was also an education workers rally in front of Osaka Prefecture Government Office (read the following article). In her speech, sister YONEYAMA denounced the outrageous attack on Japan Teachers Union (JTU) by NAKAYAMA, resigned Education Transport Minister, who openly demanded disband of JTU. She closed her speech by an energetic call for a general mobilization of workers to the November 2 workers rally in Tokyo in order to develop international solidarity advanced by Doro-Chiba. Sister NEZU Kimiko, another sponsor of today's rally, who had succeeded to prevent her dismissal this spring because of her continued disobedience to Hinomaru and Kimigayo ceremony, expressed firm determination to keep on her struggle till next March, month of school ceremony with Hinomaru and Kimigayo. She told her own experience of being transferred every school season to different workplaces (schools) that gives her favorable opportunity to be a " traveling agitator" of calling on different colleagues for refusal of Hinomaru and Kimigayo ceremony. She proposed a protest action on October 22, when she would be summoned by the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education (TMBE) for "brain-stormintraining courseg" to prevent repeated disobedience in ceremony". TMBE announced her this just on the day of the expiration of disciplinary suspension on her that made her angry and drove her for another action. This proposal of a protest mass action was supported by enthusiastic applause. Beside these speeches, education workers of Tokyo and Kanagawa, a welfare worker, a municipal worker and a student of Hosei University spoke out one after another their angry anger against neo-liberalism union bustingto crush labor union in the midst of deepening world financial crisis. They all confirmed their determination to organize a fight-back in their workplaces against capital's offensive. Closing address was made by brother KAWASAKI Masahiro, executive committee member of Doro-Chiba, who strongly urged everybody there to bring 10,000 workers to November 2 workers rally. At the end of the rally, all the participants shouted with raised fists, "We denounce TMBE under Governor ISHIHARA!" against the building of Tokyo Metroplolitn Metroplolian Office.

In line with the rallies in Tokyo and also in San Francisco, education workers in Osaka stood up for a joint action in solidarity with the International World Teachers Day. The rally was held just in front of the annex of Osaka Prefectural Office with more than 20 participants with education workers at their head. Many of them came to the rally demanding a break during the duty. Solidarity messages from sister Arlene Inoue of CAMS and from the simultaneous Tokyo rally were read out. It was followed by education workers, who raised their angry voices against neo-liberal "Educational Reform" that forces education for war mobilization, drives competition among students to widen gaps and attempts to privatize education. Among others, their vehement denunciation was focused upon the "Emergency Declaration on Education", recently issued by HASHIMOTO, Osaka prefecture Governor.
An education worker condemned HASHIMOTO for his budgetary reform that had brought her wage cut by 40,000 yen ($400) and forces her even to pay the meals during the school excursion she was going to accompany. She called on the municipal workers of Osaka Prefectural Office to stand up for strike to overthrow Governor HASHIMOTO, mentioning that wages would be lowered and working conditions would be worsened in the process of deepening financial crisis unless workers fight back.
Another education worker attacked NAKAYAMA, resigned Education Transport Minister, who declared to destroy Japan Teachers Union (JTU) and Governor HASHIMOTO, who urged to put "incompetent teachers" on "undesirable dismissal". He exposed HASHIMOTO's intention of dividing education workers and undermining labor unity by means of introducing "performance-based wage system on job valuation". November 2 workers rally, he stressed, is a powerful weapon to crush those reactionary offensives by the power of international solidarity of working class.
Osaka rally declared: "In solidarity with sisters NEZU and KAWARAI, let's rise up for a struggle next spring, together with colleagues in workshop, to refuse to stand up and sing Kimigayo in front of Hinomaru and frustrate HASHIMOTO's attack on us".
Osaka Prefectural Office was overwhelmed by workers' anger against Governor HASHIMOTO and determination to advance struggle through strengthening international labor solidarity.