Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2004
I think it's important that they're there to voice the opinions of the teachers who have difficulty in their jobs, but I wish they had more influence.
I'm all for unions. I think that in order to have unions, you have to have people who want them and recognize their benefits. In Japan you'd have to change something in society as well for unions to work.
I think unions probably don't have much power to change things. I think the culture in Japanese unions is very cozy with the management so any changes are going to be very slow and incremental.
It's difficult to change things. The image of labor unions in Japan is negative. Some Japanese don't have the ability or willingness to change, so the situation will remain the same.
The Japanese teachers certainly need unions. For example they're entitled to sick leave, but they tend to take paid vacation instead when they're sick due to social pressure.
It seems like the government seems to run everything on its own without much influence from anyone, so I would suspect unions don't have a lot of power. Things here run more by back channels.