Declaration Aiming at the Creation of a Safety Net to Guarantee Work and Life with Dignity -60th JFBA General Meeting-
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) has been tackling poverty issues since it first addressed such issues as the topic “Poverty in Current Japan and Guaranteeing the Right to Live” at the 49th JFBA Convention on Protection of Human Rights (Convention) in 2006. At the 51st Convention in 2008, the JFBA also focused on poverty issues under the topic of “Work and Poverty: the Expanding Working Poor.” However, poverty in Japanese society is becoming more critical due to the economic recession.
Under the restructuring policies of the Government of Japan, social security expenses were restrained and the social security system became vulnerable. In addition, regulations in the labor field have been repeatedly relaxed and regular employees have been replaced with irregular employees resulting in increased unstable employment and low-wage jobs. Also, with the arrival of the economic recession beginning in the autumn of 2008, companies fired irregular workers all at once to adjust the number of their employees. Many of those who were fired lost their incomes and homes and have been struggling to survive day to day without the support of a safety net, such as unemployment insurance.
It is apparent that the employment and social security systems have deteriorated and the respect for individuals guaranteed by Article 13 of the Constitution of Japan (Constitution) and the right to live (Article 25 of the Constitution) are being threatened. The Government should steer the country toward the creation of a safety net which guarantees the right of all people to live and work with dignity based on Articles 13 and 25 of the Constitution.
The mission of attorneys is to protect fundamental human rights and to realize social justice. Facing “the greatest economic recession in a century” and “a turning point toward a new era,” we, attorneys, are expected to carry out our mission now more than ever.
Therefore, on this occasion of the 60th General Meeting, the JFBA declares its commitment to make every effort to ensure that the central and local governments fulfill their responsibilities to create a safety net which guarantees people’s right to work and live with dignity. We will carry out our duties and mission to solve poverty problems as follows:
- As legal professionals who are out of power with a mission to protect fundamental human rights, we will make recommendations on active and responsible policies and make legislative proposals, recognizing the necessity to present new social policies on labor, social security (including medical care, pension, nursing care, public assistance, child care, and housing), education, and taxation. The JFBA will also strengthen collaboration with local bar associations and strive to realize its recommendations and proposals on policies and legislation.
- The JFBA encourages local bar associations to provide comprehensive counseling services for issues related to working and living. We will also seek collaboration with local governments to ensure easy access for citizens to such counseling services.
- In order to ensure that all people in need are able to receive legal services, the JFBA will promote fundamental reform of the civil legal aid system aiming to further improve the system by reviewing the scope of persons and legal matters to be covered by legal aid and reviewing the expense burden on users.