May 1, 2015 – Although May Day is not a public holiday in Japan, thousands are holding rallies nationwide. In Tokyo alone, there are a number of rallies, with attendance ranging from hundreds to the thousands.
One rally is believed to have gathered 28,000 people.
These protests take place as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government works towards revising Japan’s basic labour policy. Mr Abe wants wages to be decided based on performance. He also wants to ban overtime pay, as that’s seen as one of the reasons the Japanese are known for working one of the longest hours among industrialized countries.
“There are many dying from overwork,” said Mr Tomoki Oyama, a Shinjuku assembly member. “Death from overwork will increase through the revision of such Bill.”
Protestors are expressing their unhappiness beyond labour issues. They’re also voicing their concerns about Japan going into war. Mr Abe had in Washington DC, stated his willingness to expand the role of Japan’s self-defence forces beyond the country. That’s even before gaining public support and approval in the Japanese diet.
Protestors also tried to attract the public to their stance for a non-nuclear world, opposition towards the protection of state secrets, and other actions that could violate the freedom of knowledge and speech.