December 1, 2009

"Violence Punishment Law" crushed. A Stunning Victory Against the May 27 Repression on the National Railway Workers

“Violence Punishment Law” crushed

A Stunning Victory Against the May 27 Repression on the National Railway Workers!

At the trial of the May 27 repression case, the accused railway union activists won a historical victory. The charge of the violation of “the Violence Punishment Law” (Law Concerning Punishment of Physical Violence and Others of 1926) against the dissident national railway unionists was turned down. The Tokyo District Court (10th Department of Criminal Trial, chaired by UEMURA Minoru) ruled that accused brother MUKOYAMA Kazumitsu is not guilty, and fined the other 6 accused, unionists of National Railway Workers Union (NRU). The prosecutor’s demand for imprisonment (ranging from one year to one and a half year for each accused) was rejected. The intention of the Japan Railway Companies to dismiss the accused railway workers when they are convicted was totally crushed. The Tokyo District Court was unable to apply “the Violence Punishment Law”, which was legislated to annihilate labor unions and labor movement, to the May 27 case and could not prove “conspiracy”. It’s a great victory!

This is an achievement of the unflinching struggle of the accused and the defense counsel. To consolidate the labor unity, the accused workers had made a resolute decision to resolve the previous defense counsel who did not agree with the accused unionists on the way of carrying out struggle in the court. The accused national railway workers were confident to fight class trial based on unity of working class. The recent success of the November 1st National Workers’ Rally also contributed to this victory in the court. The last resort of the judge was to apply the criminal law on act of violence to this case and fined brother TOMITA Masuyuki ¥600,000, brothers HABIRO Hiroshi and AZUMA Gen ¥400,000 and brothers TACHIBANA Hideo, HARADA Ryuji and KOIZUMI Shin ¥200,000.
The accused have immediately decided to appeal to the High Court.

In the evening after the judgment, a meeting was held to report on the trial in Bunkyo-Ward Public Hall in Tokyo. All the participants were glad to know that the state power attempt of convicting the militant national railway workers by the “the Violence Punishment Law” was crushed and they confirmed their firm determination to continue fighting against the repression on militant unionists and to overthrow corrupt union headquarters of Japan National Railway Workers’ Union (NRU, Kokuro).

Brother Tomita, head of the team of the accused, declared, “We are now ready to take a full responsibility for the struggle of 1047 dismissed national railway workers. Let’s become mainstream of national railway labor movement. Today we make a fresh start for that!”

The national railway struggle faces now a decisive moment with the following crucial theme: “Withdraw the dismissal of 1047 national railway workers!” “Stop outsourcing of inspection and reparation” “Down with Japan Railway System”

Let’s fight all-out struggle together with the team of the accused who is resolved to win a final victory in their struggle!

Let’s win a victory in the trial of militant Hosei University students! Release 8 students from the jail!

Let’s fight together in unity!

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Notes:

[1] May 27 repression on dissident national railway unionists

Six national railway unionists and a supporter were indicted in charge of violating the Law Concerning Punishment of Physical Violence and Others of 1926 for their activities on the occasion of the Extraordinary National Convention of National Railway Workers Union (NRU, Kokuro) held on May 27, 2002.

Their activities, the alleged violation of the law, were in fact distribution of flyers telling their opinions against the policy of their union NRU headquarters that urged the union members to cave in to the government and the JR (Japan Railway) companies in the struggle against the dismissal of 1047 national railway workers in the course of the Division and Privatization of National Railway that was practiced in 1987.

It was disclosed in the course of the trial that continued for 7 years that the union officers worked in a close cooperation on the spot with the Metropolitan Police Department in producing a frame-up of a case against the dissident unionists, who only tried to have their voices heard by fellow delegations to the convention of NRU, their own union, in front of the hotel through their flyers. Ironically, in the video records taken by the officers of the NRU headquarters in front of the hotel and offered to the police and the public prosecutors office for the indictment of their own unionist, no proof was found to verify “violent activities” of the accused unionists.

 [2] Law Concerning Punishment of Physical Violence and Others of 1926

This law was legislated in Japanese pre-war time to eradicate labor movement. It refers to “violate the law --- in joint action of several persons, by demonstrating a force of an organization or of a numbers of persons, by demonstrating a disguised force of an organization or of a numbers of persons” (Article 1)

Hosei students are indicted also in charge of this law.