Japan workers protest massive wave of job cuts

TOKYO - Hundreds of unionized workers rallied in Tokyo on Tuesday to protest massive job cuts, accusing the country’s biggest companies of sacrificing jobs to protect profits.

By (AP)

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Published: Tue 16 Dec 2008, 6:31 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:09 PM

The global financial crisis has forced some of Japan’s corporate giants to take drastic measures including job cuts, suspending production, postponing projects and closing factories. Sony Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. are among the major employers to trim thousands of workers from their payrolls.

About 200 protesters waved banners and shouted slogans through loudspeakers outside the headquarters of the Nippon Keidanren _ Japan’s largest business lobby group _ in Tokyo’s main business district.

Toyota, stop cutting seasonal workers! We workers are not disposable!’ they chanted. Sony, stop massive firing!’

Most of the job cuts have targeted temporary contract workers, but lately they have included full-time salaried workers.

Speakers at the protest said some newly unemployed contract workers also lost their company-owned housing, leaving them jobless and homeless.

We do not accept job cuts in the name of the economic crisis,’ said Kazuko Furuta, a representative of New Japan Women’s Association, a women’s rights group that organized the rally with dozens of labor unions. Shame on the Japanese companies that dump their workers like objects.’

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai told reporters Tuesday that the government was doing its utmost to support small businesses and ensure job security.’

Fujio Mitarai, head of Keidanren and also chairman of Canon Inc., said the influential lobby will cooperate with the government’ to implement job security measures.

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