A statement by the independent Doro-Chiba railway workers union about the recent earthquake in Japan and the government’s response to it.
Let’s Organize Relief Activities for the Affected Area by Workers’ Unity and Solidarity! Stop all nuclear plants immediately!
No dismissal under the pretext of the earthquake!
Let’s fight to live!
March 14, 2011
The huge earthquake on March 11th has brought about a large-scale disaster to Northeastern Japan and the rest of the whole area of East Japan. We have not yet got the whole picture of what happened and what is actually happening: how many lives are lost, how many people are now seeking rescue, and so on. At this very moment, many lives are being lost. Few shelters are provided with water, food, electricity, or medical treatment. Moreover, Fukushima nuclear plants are
running out of control through fatal failure of cooling systems and are precipitating into catastrophe after two blasts of nuclear facilities.
Government’s rescue plan has been bankrupted. Let’s organize relief action of the affected people and area by workers’ unity and solidarity.
Of course, the huge East Japan earthquake and ensuing Tsunami were beyond all anticipation. It is, however, evident that enough measure has not been taken to confront earthquake even though it had been warned that a big earthquake would occur within 10 years with 99% certainty. The reality was that neo-liberal agenda has been carried out on the principle of “competition and selfresponsibility” at the sacrifice of local communities and lives of working people. Local governments were in a critical financial difficulty and in a situation far from preparing for possible earthquake. Expanding earthquake disaster is an inevitable result of this.
What is happening now in Fukushima is a typical example of the bankruptcy of local communities. Inhabitants of the area within radius of 20 kilo meters from the nuclear plants are driven out of their houses which are barely escaped from the earthquake, in the cold weather under the winter sky. Numerous people are contaminated by the blasts of nuclear facilities. The nuclear plants were built on the “nests of earthquake” by the government and electric power corporations, which insisted that the nuclear plants were absolutely safe and offered clean energy. It proved to be blatant lie. Nuclear plant meant for capitalists a miracle instrument to bring about a huge amount of profit and for the government a vital tool for nuclear armament. It has been exposed in the worst form what these policies really meant.
It is reported that the troops of the Self-Defense Forces are going to put the main roads toward the affected region under their control. The rescue activities of a large number of people anxious about the situation of affected inhabitants are blocked in the name of “securing the rescue route” by the SDF. Even minimum physical distribution is stopped: three days after the earthquake, foodstuffs have disappeared from super markets not only in affected regions but also in the
Tokyo metropolitan area. While the SDF is dominating everywhere, rescue activities and transportation and distribution of rescue goods are in trouble.
Surprisingly, the US nuclear aircraft carrier, Ronald Reagan, has arrived at a harbor adjoining the affected area. Even in face of the reality, in which tens of thousands of people are still buried under the wreck or waiting for rescue in isolation, public security is the priority agenda for the government and ruling class. An attempt is under way to establish a wartime mobilization system under the slogan of “national unity to overcome national crisis”.
It is evident that all essential information especially on the nuclear accidents is manipulated and the facts are cautiously concealed. Even the violent blasts of the unit 1 and 3 of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are described as not serious problem and we are not at all informed of what is actually developing on the site of the accidents while a large volume of radioactive materials are leaking from the reactors and meltdown is imminent.
At this critical moment when all efforts should be made to prevent meltdown of the reactor, the only concern of the government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) is how to maintain their policy of promoting nuclear power. All political forces, governing Democratic Party of Kan administration, Liberal Democratic Party, Komei Party and others, are joining in “political truce” in face of the huge earthquake and going to present rescue measures, including “tax hike for restoration” “revision of the budget by cutting child-support allowance” “finance for damaged corporation” “finance aids for restoration” etc. Their aim is to overcome the present social crisis through an overall exploitation and plundering of working people, taking opportunity of horrifying situation of the affected people and regions.
What is desperately needed for the workers, farmers, fishermen and small business, who have lost everything by the earthquake and Tsunami, is not financial aids but the place to live, means to survive, unconditional free medical treatment, etc. To be abolished is not child-support allowance but defense budget.
In the whole area of East Japan, numerous workers have already lost their jobs. Even in Chiba prefecture, 500 kilometer far from the seismic center, the Bay Area is attacked by liquefaction: streets and buildings are severely cracked. Large-scale fires are raging in the industrial complex. Almost half of the whole Japanese land is suffering from a severe damage and Japanese economy is hit by a devastating blow. The result is an all-out assault on workers: massive dismissal under the pretext of the earthquake and a large-scale unemployment. The huge East Japan earthquake is going to effect a total change over the Japanese society.
Workers’ situation had just arrived at a critical point when the earthquake came. We have experienced in the past year a violent storm of mass dismissal: dismissal by the privatization of the Social Security Agency, JAL’s dismissal of designated workers, dismissal of several thousands workers of irregular employment by JP (Japan Post), etc. A large number of workers have been thrust into irregular employment or working poor. While the social security system has been considerably dismantled, it has become more and more difficult to survive everyday for working people. Just at this moment, the huge earthquake broke out, giving a fatal blow to those people who are on the brink of existence. The ruling classes of the whole world are horrified to witness a critical situation, in which the collapse of economy is spreading from Japanese to other countries in the midst of the global economic crisis and explosion of angry voices of working class, ignited by these developments, is shaking the entire world.
We have already begun the nationwide campaign of national railway struggle to fight the neo-liberal offensive. This movement heralds a great challenge for revitalization of labor movement through gathering angry voices of workers and organizing powerful actions. Now is the precise moment to promote this effort vigorously.
Let’s fight to live.
Organize relief action of workers’ unity and solidarity for the affected people and areas with all of our power!
We demand enough and immediate supply of housing, foodstuffs and medical treatment unconditionally for all the affected people!
Stop immediately all the nuclear plants!
Stop dismissal under the pretext of the earthquake!
Let’s give a decisive and final blow to neo-liberalism!
Kick out Kan administration!
Labor union shall stand in the forefront of this struggle!