Cross Currents Home
Resources | About Us | 日本語サイト
Home Learn About Japan Learn About Japan-U.S. Cross Currents Learn About the U.S.

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
Listen in English | Japanese Japanese View Article in English | Japanese
Six political leaders shake hands together.
Non-LDP political leaders gather at Rengō headquarters in January, 1990.
Photo from Mainichi Shimbun.
Rengō and the Merger of Japanese Labor Federations
By the mid-1980s, unionized Japanese workers had achieved good job security and comfortable wages, but the national labor federations worried that they did not have enough political power. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which had dominated Japanese politics since 1955, paid more attention to the needs of famers and corporations than to labor. So, in 1989 the labor federations joined together into a new federation called Rengō (Nihon Rōdō Kumiai Sōrengōkai, or Japan Trade Union Confederation) to support political candidates favorable to labor, regardless of which political party they belonged to. The new reform spirit of Rengō helped bring about an election loss for the LDP in 1993, for the first time in nearly four decades. However, in subsequent elections the unions participating in Rengō could not agree on candidates to support and Rengō's political power has weakened. Click on DOCUMENTS, below, to see a list of unions that belong to Rengō.
Special Terms: job security

Download Podcast in English | Japanese
Document | Audio-Video | Chart | Picture | Map