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A group of men, some in suits, carry signs in a protest.
Labor Unions
  1. Rapid Rise of Labor Unions in Japan from 1945
  2. Postwar Japan's first Labor Laws
  3. Labor Strikes and Production Control
  4. Bloody May Day (May 1, 1952)
  5. Formation of Sōhyō (Japan General Council of Trade Unions)
  6. The Rise and Fall of Radical Union Activity
  7. Enterprise Unions in Japan
  8. The Miike Mine Strike
  9. Strikes Japanese-Style
  10. Who Can Strike in Japan
  11. Kinds of Strikes in Japan
  12. The Spring Labor Offensive (Shuntō)
  13. Enterprise Union Cooperation
  14. Privatization of Japan National Railway
  15. Rengō and the Merger of Japanese Labor Federations
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Aerial view of two trains damaged by railway workers' strike.
Angered by a railway workers' strike during rush hour, commuters damaged the trains.
Photo from Mainichi Shimbun.
Who Can Strike in Japan
Under the Labor Union Law that took effect in March 1946, all workers except police officers, firemen, and prison guards could join labor unions, engage in collective bargaining and strikes without fear of retaliation from their employers. Government employees including schoolteachers, railway workers, communications workers, and regular office workers also organized unions and threatened national strikes to achieve their demands for higher wages. The government reacted by passing the Labor Relations Adjustment Act. This law required a thirty-day cooling off period before public utility workers, public or private, were permitted to strike. In 1948 the government enacted laws that allowed public workers to belong to unions, but prohibited them from striking. In March, 1973, workers at the Japan National Railways went on their first major strike, stopping trains during the morning rush hour. Commuters at 26 train stations in the Tokyo metropolitan area rioted and damaged trains and train station offices because they could not get to work.
Special Terms: national strike  |  strike

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