General Union fighting for expat unemployment insurance, island by island.

I see on the Osaka General Union’s website that the membership in Tokyo is fighting to get two members enrolled in Japanese unemployment insurance.

As you may know, a court commission in Japan has already ruled that workers for an Eikaiwa chain called GABA are “employees” under the Japanese labor law.

And in typical Japanese fashion, now the fight starts: just like World War II, island-by-island combat of a sort. Rather than the administrative agency that covers Hello Work (the cute name for the unemployment office, believe it or not!) directing GABA to enroll its employees in unemployment insurance, instead the union has to take up the cause for each individual member. In the relevant office. And wait for the investigation. And then wait some more. And then, wait some more.

GABA should never have been allowed to pretend that its employees were “independent contractors”. In some American states, like New Jersey, the employer goes to jail (or pays a fine in lieu) if they play that game.

Not so Japan. In fact, it’s a snarky, bureaucratic way to refight World War II. Island-by-island.

When the tsunami hit, our military was right there on the shores of Tohoku, helping out. We did not set up a committee to deliberate whether we should help out or not.

When a Japanese comes and works in Pennsylvania, we don’t have a bureaucratic rigamarole set up to deny the Japanese national our state unemployment insurance.

2 comments

  1. Kronstadt · July 1, 2011

    World War 2 comparisons are a bit much…

    • hoofin · July 1, 2011

      I wanted a historical reference that went to this idea that, in Japanese culture, it’s not unusual to have to fight, step by step, in order to get something done. And that “something” is, really, a foregone conclusion as it is. This was the tragedy of World War II.

      Because no one in Japan really talks about Japan’s World War II policies as that country’s own undoing in the 20th century, these patterns of behavior are often lost on those who engage in them.

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