National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) — a group with close ties to the Japanese Communist Party — attacked the reform plans of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at a May Day rally held Tuesday in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park.

Some 10,000 people attend a May Day rally at Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park.

In a speech at the rally, attended by 80,000 union members, Zenroren President Yoji Kobayashi slammed the administration of Koizumi, who was elected to the post Thursday.

Kobayashi said the reform plan proposed by the new administration will result in increased unemployment and bankruptcies.

“It will force the Japanese people to make a sacrifice in the name of reform, bringing only unhappiness to the masses while benefiting a handful of the privileged,” he said, calling on union members to unite against the Koizumi administration.

The May Day rallies were held by Zenroren and affiliates of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) at 890 locations nationwide Tuesday, with an estimated 1.36 million people taking part.

The headquarters of the 7.6-million-strong Rengo and 17 prefectural chapters of its affiliates brought their rallies forward this year to Saturday instead of the traditional May 1, which falls in the middle of the Golden Week holidays. Koizumi attended the Saturday rally — the first time a prime minister has taken part since 1996.

Twenty-seven affiliates decided to hold rallies Tuesday, while others will do so Sunday, Rengo said.

Labor groups not affiliated with Rengo or Zenroren assembled at Tokyo’s Hibiya Park for a 20,000-strong rally led by the General Workers Union of Japan (Zenrokyo), calling for the early resolution of a long-standing employment dispute between the National Railway Workers Union (Kokuro) and Japan Railway group firms.

JR dismissed Kokuro members in the 1987 privatization and breakup of the Japanese National Railways, JR’s predecessor.

In 1987, the money-losing JNR was split up into several JR firms and partially privatized.

The Tokyo Union, another labor group, called its rally “May Day for temporary and part-time workers” and marched along streets following the tracks of JR’s Yamanote Line.

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