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Cablegate: Embassy Tokyo

VZCZCXRO0671
RR RUEHFK RUEHGH RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #1412/01 1430919
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220919Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4484
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3513
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 9513
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 4458
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 4358
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 9660
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2054
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1405
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 6110
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2096
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2312
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 6275
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 0347
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 1647
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 8557
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 7965
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6526
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0421
RUEATRS/TREASURY DEPT WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3336
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 001412

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DOL FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY RADZELY, DEPUTY U/S PONTICELLI
PARIS FOR USOECD

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: ELAB PREL ETRD OVIP JA
SUBJ: G-8 LABOR MINISTERIAL FOCUSED ON JOBS, PLUS REGIONAL AND
ENVIRONMENTAL THEMES

Summary
-------
1. (SBU) Deputy Labor Secretary Howard Radzely led the U.S.
delegation to the G-8 Labor and Employment Ministers' Meeting May
11-13. The program included an informal session with social
partners and plenary sessions focused on increased life expectancy,
regional economic disparities, and labor policy responses to
environmental change. Bilateral meetings included the UK, Canada,
ILO, AFL-CIO, U.S. business leaders, and local government. While
the environmental theme generated media attention, suggested policy
responses stuck to traditional ways labor policy can facilitate
transitions to new jobs. End summary.

Niigata Holds Labor Ministerial
-------------------------------
2. (U) Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Howard Radzely led the
U.S. delegation to the G-8 Labor and Employment Ministers' Meeting,
May 11-13 in Niigata, Japan. Other DOL delegation members were
International Labor Affairs Bureau Deputy Under Secretary Charlotte
Ponticelli, Office of International Relations Director Robert
Shepard, and Chief Economist Ronald Bird. Embassy Tokyo
Economic/Labor Officer Marc Dillard accompanied.

Social Partners' Session
------------------------
3. (U) The ministerial was preceded by an informal session for
social partners, in which business and union leaders had an
opportunity to engage G-8 delegation heads and representatives from
the ILO, OECD, and European Commission. The Trade Union Advisory
Committee (TUAC) and Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the
OECD (BIAC) presented papers.

4. (U) During the informal session, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney
and Japan Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) President Tsuyoshi
Takagi urged economic and financial officials, including central
bankers, to address the impact of the current macroeconomic
environment on the decent work agenda. They advocated greater
regulation of global capital markets and attention to the impact of
policy on income distribution. The BIAC representatives encouraged
policies directed to boost growth and emphasized open, competitive
markets that foster innovation and entrepreneurialism. They
advocated flexibility to make labor markets more inclusive and
better suited to improving work-life balance and addressing
demographic challenges.

5. (U) Rengo hosted a symposium on the same themes in Tokyo May 13
for G-8 union leaders, which was followed by a 90-minute meeting
with Prime Minister Fukuda. After the meeting, Rengo President
Takagi told the press, "We pointed out to the Prime Minister that in
the midst of globalization, problems are arising in the area of fair
distribution." A copy of the labor union leaders' statements has
been emailed to EAP/J.

Plenary Sessions
----------------
6. (U) The ministerial had three plenary sessions, addressing
respectively: 1) "Enabling Well-Balanced Lives in Harmony with
Increased Longevity," 2) "The Contribution of Labor Market and
Employment Policies to Addressing the Needs of Vulnerable Workers
and Areas," and 3) "The Contribution of G-8 Members to the
Challenges of Global Sustainability." Deputy Secretary Radzely
contributed to each session and, as a lead commentator, presented
the U.S. WIRED (Workforce Innovation for Regional Economic
Development) Initiative to the second session.

TOKYO 00001412 002 OF 002

7. (U) Indonesia's Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Erman
Suparno and Thailand's Minister of Labor Uraiwan Thienthong
participated as outreach partners in the third plenary session.
They currently preside over the ASEM and ASEAN labor ministers'
groups. According to media reporting, Minister Suparno also used
his time with the host, Japan's Minister of Health, Labor, and
Welfare Yoichi Masuzoe, to press for benefits for Indonesian nurses
expected to come to Japan under the Japan-Indonesia Economic
Partnership Agreement.

8. (U) Minister Masuzoe distributed a "Chairman's Conclusions" text
at the end of the ministerial. A copy has been emailed to EAP/J.

Bilateral Meetings
------------------
9. (SBU) Aside from the formal program, Deputy Secretary Radzely
held bilateral meetings with the U.S. Council on International
Business's Executive Vice President Ronnie Goldberg, AFL-CIO
President John Sweeney, ILO Director General Juan Somavia, UK
Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform Stephen Timms,
Canadian Deputy Minister of Human Resources and Social Development
Janice Charette, and Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida. He also had
a chance to exchange views with Japan's Minister of State for Gender
Equality and Social Affairs Yoko Kamikawa.

10. (SBU) A number of G-8 delegation members remarked about how
strongly Japan's domestic politics drove the agenda, particularly
concerns about work-life balance and regional economic disparities.
Despite the efforts to discuss those themes, however, media and
social partner attention focused on labor and the environment, where
delegates' suggested policy responses turned out to be very
traditional. Labor ministries, they concluded, could facilitate
worker transitions for any opportunities or challenges created by
environmental change -- the same approach used for changes induced
by technology, trade, and other structural shifts.

11. (U) This message was cleared by the DOL delegation after its
departure from Japan.

SCHIEFFER

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