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Unions in Japan play key role in promoting due diligence

20 February, 2023IndustriALL Global Union together with, Japanese affiliate, UA ZENSEN, held a series of meetings with Japanese global brands and retailers from 13-17 February. The aim was to highlight the need for continued vigilance of human and worker rights in the global supply chain, and the importance of supply chain industrial relations.

Unions in Japan are playing an important role in promoting due diligence and pushing for more responsible business practices, especially when it comes to ensuring that human rights and workers' rights are respected in supply chains.

Awareness of human rights due diligence is growing fast in Japan. In 2022 The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) issued "Guidelines for Respect for Human Rights in Responsible Supply Chains, and the Japan Textile Federation (JTF) issued "Guidelines for Responsible Corporate Behavior in the Textile Industry", among other initiatives. 

UA ZENSEN president Akihiko Matsuura added that the

“Japanese government, trade unions, and management are working together on human rights due diligence. UA ZENSEN has also formulated initiatives for their branches, aimed to promote respect for human rights by companies in their supply chains”.

Under the Global framework agreement with Mizuno, IndustriALL, UA ZENSEN and the Mizuno workers’ union, held their annual joint industrial relationship committee meeting. They reviewed the work under the Mizuno GFA, including Mizuno’s heightened due diligence program on foreign technical intern trainees within its Japanese supply chain.

“It has been 12 years since we signed the Mizuno GFA. The four parties' cooperation, based on the GFA, has led to improvements at suppliers' workplaces. We will continue to work on human rights due diligence in the supply chain based on the GFA and we will vigorously encourage affiliates of UA ZENSEN to sign the GFA,” 

said president Ishikawa of the Mizuno workers’ union.

IndustriALL also held a series of meetings with the Federation of SEIYU Group Workers' Unions, Ryohin Keikaku Labour union (representing workers at Muji), the Federation of AEON Group Workers’ Union, and Asics union. They discussed the importance of human right due diligence in the global garment supply chain especially with the situation worsening for workers in Myanmar, and IndustriALL’s call on global brands and retailers to responsibly divest from the country.

“Meaningful engagement with trade unions is key to the due diligence process and fundamental to protecting worker and human rights in the supply chain. 

UA ZENSEN and its affiliated trade unions in the Japanese global brands and retailers, are active in the assessment process, the design of prevention measures and key to finding remedy for workers whose rights have been violated in the supplier companies of Japanese brands. 

Global Solidarity between home country unions and their counterparts in production countries is one of the most important pillars of the global trade union’s fight for decent work.” 

said Christina Clausen, IndustriALL’s textile and garment director.