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Cablegate: Ambassador Meets Top Labor Leader

VZCZCXRO0885
RR RUEHFK RUEHGH RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2565 3100909
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060909Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7301
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1726
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 6584
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8384
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 7280
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6880
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 4504
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 9634
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 1099
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 7790
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0642
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 7520
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEATRS/TREASURY DEPT WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS TOKYO 002565

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR E, EEB AND EAP/J
NSC FOR LOI, RUSSELL
USTR FOR AUSTR CUTLER, BEEMAN, LEE, AND HOLLOWAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN ELAB JP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MEETS TOP LABOR LEADER

REF: TOKYO 1544

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Japan Trade Union Confederation
(Rengo) wants the new Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
government to focus on increasing employment and improving
the social safety net, Rengos's newly elected President
Nobuaki Koga told the Ambassador on November 6. Ambassador
Roos and the high-level delegation, who accompanied Koga,
also discussed women's participation in the workforce and the
importance of work-life balance. Koga emphasized Rengo's
involvement in nuclear disarmament and repeated Rengo's hope
that President Obama would visit Hiroshima or Nagasaki. END
SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Rengo, Japan's largest trade organization, elected
Nobuaki Koga its president on October 9. Koga originally
hails from the Matsushita (Panasonic) Electric Industrial
Workers' Union. He is close to Chief Cabinet Secretary
Hirofumi Hirano, who also belonged to a Matsushita labor
union. Koga explained the recent election marks a major
turning point in Japan's post-war history. He believes the
Hatoyama Administration is doing a good job, considering this
is its first time governing, but Koga said the government
must begin showing concrete results by no later than early
next year, if it is to continue to enjoy popular support.

3. (SBU) Asked by the Ambassador what Rengo believes should
be priorities for the new DPJ government, Koga asserted
Rengo's primary goals -- employment and improvement of the
social safety net -- should also be at the top of the DPJ's
list. Rengo advocates on behalf of working people, Koga
said. Along with promoting new jobs and sustaining good
working conditions, it is essential the government improve
the social safety net as Japanese society ages and the gap
between the haves and have nots grows.

4. (SBU) Koga was accompanied by Deputy President Naomi
Okamoto, the first woman to hold this position. Asked about
the situation of Japanese women in the workplace, Okamoto
pointed out that women are paid on average 33 percent less
than men in Japan. She noted that Rengo was also working to
address the long work hours common in Japan by emphasizing
the necessity of work-life balance.

5. (SBU) During the meeting, Koga also raised the importance
of nuclear disarmament to Rengo (reftel). He congratulated
the Ambassador on President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize and
once again expressed Rengo's hope that the President will
visit Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Ambassador Roos explained he
had been deeply moved by his visit to Hiroshima and told Koga
he would certainly share his impressions of that visit with
President Obama.
ROOS

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