No. 6 Feb. 2001

From the Editorial Committee

This issue shows in English the first fruits of an on-going team research project on the organization of foreign workers in Japan. This topic was one of the original two projects the Center for Transnational Labor Studies planned to undertake when it began in 1995. Over the past decade workers in Japan, particularly foreigners and Japanese women, have experienced increasing casualization of their employment. Community and general workers unions have made inroads in organizing these sectors of the labor force, which the mainstream labor movement has tended to overlook. In this issue, Yoko Kuroiwa first provides an overview of the increase of irregular employment for Japanese women workers. Then Koichi Ogawa reports on a community union which has organized hundreds of foreign workers in Kawasaki, Yokohama and other industrial areas just south of Tokyo. Finally, John McLaughlin has annotated a translation of an interview our research team conducted with an experienced organizer in the language school industry, which employs thousands of foreign teachers in Japan. He also provides some general background information on foreign workers unions and the Japanese labor movement. Within the next two years we plan to publish books in Japanese and English on the foreign workers union movement in Japan based on the numerous interviews and hours of participant observation our members have conducted with these unions over the past five years.

---- Editorial committee: Yukie Araya
Michiko Hiroki
John McLaughlin
Hideo Totsuka
Seiichi Yamasaki

Center for Transnational Labor Studies
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