Japanese Prime Minister Backs Call for APEC Labour Forum

In a meeting today with a delegation of the ITUC Asia Pacific Labour Network (APLN), Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan stated that he would work to achieve agreement on establishing a Labour Forum to enable trade union representation in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The Japanese Prime Minister said that in his capacity as host of the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Yokohama, Japan on November 13-14, he would approach other governments to attain their support for a Labour Forum, and would seek to ensure decent work was promoted throughout the APEC region.

"For too long, there has been a basic injustice in the APEC structure that gives business every opportunity to influence decisions through the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) but no such channel to trade unions and the workers of APEC that we represent,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. “It is time to end that injustice, and we commend the Prime Minister on his support for our position.”

Responding to Sharan Burrow`s argument that economic stimulus must remain the priority to address the global crisis, the Prime Minister said Japan had maintained its own fiscal boost even though certain European Union countries had started to advocate a premature exit strategy. He emphasised that Japan considered employment creation and higher demand a priority and said if necessary Japan would increase spending to maintain economic and employment growth. He added that Japan would take measures to reduce the level of precarious work, and that all countries should do the same.

The trade union delegation was led by JTUC-RENGO President Nobuaki Koga, who presented the Prime Minister with the ITUC/APLN’s Statement to the APEC Leaders’ Meeting entitled “Beating the Crisis, Involving Working People and Realising Decent Work.” The statement contains trade union recommendations in a range of areas on APEC`s agenda including trade, investment, environment, human resource development and workers` rights, and the Prime Minister said he would seek to ensure these issues were reflected in APEC Leaders` discussions.

To see the Statement of the ITUC Asia Pacific Labour Network To the 2010 APEC economic leaders’ meeting in English

In Spanish

To see the Photo Gallery of the meeting