Job cuts won't restore electronic industry: Shii

November 14, 2012

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at a Lower House Budget Committee meeting on November 13 demanded that the government put a stop to the plan to downsize 130,000 jobs in the electronic and information industry by arguing, "The employment-cutting way of corporate restructuring can never contribute to industrial recovery."

About 80 workers of NEC and IBM Japan observed the day's session in the seating gallery.

Suggesting that ill-considered personnel cuts will undermine the very basis of technical developments and the passing on of the skills of experienced workers, Shii stated that the pursuit of quick profits by eliminating experienced workers will have a negative impact on the future of the industry.

In response to an example of the nefarious practice at NEC given by Shii in which a dozen interviews forcing a targeted worker to accept early retirement pushed this person to the verge of suicide, Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko said, "Generally speaking, (that kind of practice) should not be conducted."

Shii then cited the case of the so-called "lockout" dismissals at IBM Japan. Citing remarks made by former IBM Japan president Otoshi Takuma declaring that the company will "serve as Japan's poison taster" in terms of mass layoffs, "If allowed such a poison taste test, the outrageous methods of corporate downsizing will become widespread throughout Japan," Shii warned.

Prime Minister Noda in response said, "If that is the case, that is something that should never happen."

Shii gave PM Noda a French example regarding the plan of cutting 8,000 jobs by PSA Peugeot Citroen, the French government has disrupted the implementation of the plan in order to prevent the workers from being dismissed without security.

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Shii later gave press reporters his impression of the day's committee session.

He said, "Noda in considering IBM Japan's lockout dismissals as 'something that should never happen' displayed normal human emotions. Saying that to have a say in the matter of a specific industry is not the government's business, Noda avoided clarifying his opinion about my point that the personnel cuts will only impair the industry's technological capabilities and competitiveness."

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