We welcome ratification of ILO Convention No. 105 and demand early ratification of No. 111
the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
June 8, 2022
The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) welcomes the ratification by the Japanese Diet of ILO Convention 105 concerning the abolition of forced labor, which is a key element of decent work promoted by the ILO. With this, Japan has ratified seven of the eight core ILO conventions.
Since the adoption in 1998 of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the ILO has established eight fundamental conventions and asked member nations to follow them up. The Japanese government ratified only four of the eight conventions at the time of the adoption of the Declaration. Urged by the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and other unions, it later ratified the convention concerning on prohibition of child labor. But refused to ratify C105 (banning forced labor) and C111 (abolishing forced labor) on the grounds that it contradicts relevant domestic laws, citing for example the public service act’s provision banning public service employees from participating in political activities.
These conventions have long been left unratified. The Japanese Parliamentarian League on ILO Activities held discussions with a view to getting these conventions ratified. Last year, it drafted a bill to revise the relevant laws necessary to ratify it. The bill was soon introduced to the Diet and became a law, paving the way for the government to submit bills to ratify the conventions in the current Ordinary Diet Session.
The 110th Session of the International Labour Conference began on May 27 in Geneva. Items on the agenda include discussions on formulation of new instruments. This indicates that international labor standards are continuing to develop. Amid economic globalization, there is growing interest in international labor standards. It is often the case that the observance of the eight “fundamental conventions” is cited as a condition for international business trade and transactions.
Ratifying the Convention 111 is an urgent matter to deal with. The Japanese government remains passive about the ratification because many related laws need to be amended. Zenroren demands that the government move away from the passivity now and ratify Convention 111 without delay.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is making the international situation unstable, not only causing sharp price rises for resources but also having a serious impact on the manufacturing of industrial products, electronics, and automobiles. It also has repercussions on people’s livelihoods. The government must take effective measures against such impacts.
Zenroren has been fighting for decent work by holding a monthly publicity action. It will continue to work hard with comrades across the country to make advances in campaigns demanding a sharp wage increase from bottom up, improvement of public services and education, stronger measures against disasters and infectious diseases, and opposing the adverse revision of the Constitution.