Skip to main content

Historical documents

332 Department of External Affairs to Noel-Baker, Fraser and Bajpai

Cablegrams 207, 155, 15 CANBERRA, 11 August 1948, 4.15 p.m.



You will doubtless be aware of recent developments in Japan
arising from letter
from SCAP to Ashida [1] suggesting that Government workers in
Japan be prohibited from striking. It appears that present
Japanese Government has chosen to interpret this letter as a firm
directive and is seizing opportunity to amend National Public
Service Law in such a way as to abolish the right to strike not
only in clerical and administrative divisions of the Japanese
Public Service but also in Government enterprises such as the
railways. This action appears to contravene the intention of FEC
Policy Decision on Trades Unions [2] and to amount to serious
curtailment of what are normally regarded as legitimate labour
rights. There are signs moreover, that it is already serving to
widen the split between extreme right and left. SCAP apparently
has no intention of intervening, and Killen, Chief of SCAP Labour
Division has resigned.

2. We are disturbed at the effect which these developments may
have on the growth of democratic institution in Japan, and we are
instructing the Head of the Australia Mission in Tokyo (who we
understand has kept in touch with the United Kingdom Liaison
Mission) to raise matter at the next meeting of the Allied Council
for Japan (18th August).

3. He is to suggest that the proposed Public Service Bill be
amended to enable workers in Government enterprises to enjoy
normal trades union rights and particularly to provide for a
system of collective bargaining along the lines of the
Australia[n] Public Service arbitration system. We also intend to
raise matter in FEC.

4. We would be glad of any views you may have on the matter.

1 Dated 22 July 1948 to Hiroshi Ashida, Prime Minister of Japan.

2 FEC 045/5, approved 6 December 1946.

[AA:A1838/278, 478/2/5, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top