Japan’s top union leader vows for better worker wages and conditions

Tomoko Yoshino said that gender inequality is also interwoven into Japan’s tax and pension system, and is part of a wider problem on workers’ rights.
By: | November 8, 2021

Japan’s top union leader, Tomoko Yoshino, has pledged for stable work for workers after the pandemic, which impacted women and other vulnerable groups the hardest. 

“The most urgent issue is to secure stable employment. Suicides have risen among women … and many non-regular workers fear losing their jobs, while many others were laid off and ended up in dire straits after using up their savings,” Yoshino told Associated Press in an interview.

Japan’s poverty rate in single-parent households is one of the highest among wealthy nations, said Yoshino, who is also the first woman to head the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, also known as Keidanren.

“In order to stabilise their daily life, we must hurry to protect their employment,” she added, adding that “I must extend a hand to those people and listen to their voices closely and demand a better working environment for them”.

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She acknowledged that gender inequality is also interwoven into the country’s tax and pension system, highlighting that it is just part of a wider problem on workers’ rights. 

“We must seek equality of opportunity,” Yoshino said, noting that “companies have accountability for the treatment of each of their employees.”