A 24-hour strike commenced Friday as port workers throughout the country protested moves to alter their port practices under pressure from the United States, freezing cargo-handling at several dozen ports.

The 50,000-strong National Council of Dockworkers Unions of Japan and the Japan Confederation of Port and Transport Workers Unions, which has 5,000 members, make up nearly half of the 100,000 longshoremen in the country. Officials of the unions said ports including Yokohama, Kobe, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka’s Hakata have been hit by the strike.

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