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Statement of solidarity from Japan's General Freeters' Union

To the Comrades of IWW

We would like to introduce ourselves to you; we are the Freeters'* Union. We are a Tokyo-based general union, established recently in the face of the out-of-control global situation that the neo-liberal capitalism is running rampant. As precarious workers suffering from working conditions that are becoming more and more fluid and amorphous, we are intensifying our struggles for freedom and survival.

At this moment one of our new campaigns is to organize the "Gas Station Union" to confront Kanto Toyu Co., LTD. – a Japanese member of the Shell Oil Group – that has begun to lay off an increasing number of part-time workers on the pretext of the rise of oil prices and financial instability. It is a necessity to fight gas station chain and the oil driven conglomerate which forcibly lays off its employees in order to make even bigger profits. We will continue to inform you about this campaign, so please keep an eye on our efforts.

In the past few years, we have been organizing the "May Day of Freedom and Survival," a May Day by and for the "informal" workers, who are increasing not only in Japan but also the world over. This year's theme will be "The Precariats Expand and Connect," expressing the idea of making a network of various groups and the people working with various types of informal workers, outside our union. That is to say, many movements of the precariats are appearing across the country outside Tokyo. We will report on these lively movements as well.

We know the glorious history of IWW in North America. We feel the past and present struggles of yours very close to ours. We are seeking to share both your efforts and hardships, going beyond the barriers of ethnicity, gender, and historicity. We of the Freeters' Union send the warmest greetings of solidarity to all the comrades of IWW, who have been consistently fighting for workers' essential rights and social revolution beyond national borders.

Together let us fight against the aggression of neo-liberal capitalism by constructing a solidarity relation. Let us fight together for the liberation of the workers of the world beyond national borders!

The General Freeters' Union
March 30th 2008

*Wikipedia defines "freeters" as follows:
a Japanese expression for people between the age of 15 and 34 who lack full time employment or are unemployed, excluding homemakers and students. They may also be described as underemployed or freelance workers. These people do not start a career after high school or university but instead usually live as parasite singles with their parents and earn some money with low skilled and low paid jobs. The low income makes it difficult for freeters to start a family, and the lack of qualifications make it difficult to start a career at a later point in life.