JTU Japan: Education as the fundamental right of every child

published 1 December 2021 updated 16 December 2021

The Japan Teachers' Union is active in development cooperation since the 1970s, when they supported South Korea in the fight against dictatorship. The union has a fund for international cooperation to which members voluntarily contribute.

1. When and how did your organisation decide to get involved in international cooperation?

Is there a mechanism in your union to allocate some of the union's funds to international cooperation?

When the Japan Teachers’ Union (JTU) was a member of the World Confederation of Organisations of the Teaching Profession (WCOTP) in the seventies, we started being involved in international cooperation. We mainly supported South Korean colleagues who fought against dictatorship. Also, JTU started an exchange programme with the education trade union within the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) before the Cultural Revolution.

JTU has a fund for international cooperation to which members voluntarily contribute. The fund is completely independent and distinct from membership dues.

2. What are your union's priorities in international cooperation work?

JTU’s slogan is ‘Peace, Human Rights, Environment and Mutual Respect’. The latter represents the pillar idea for our international cooperation work.

3. What do international cooperation projects bring to your union?

How do you reinvest international cooperation work in your union?

Is your union's international cooperation work something that your union members care about?

The JTU’s Report on international cooperation projects highlights for our members of the significance of international trade unionism. Members generally want all the children on the planet to live happily and have equal access to education considered as a children’s right. JTU focuses on education as a way to achieve ideas enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

4. What is the most difficult thing about international cooperation work?

The most difficult part of a project for us is to decide when to finish work and withdraw, since we want to ensure that the project and its positive impacts will go on without us.

5. What advice would you give to a trade union wanting to get involved in international cooperation?

Especially in the Asia-Pacific region, many colleagues need international cooperation to support them, in countries such as Myanmar, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Fiji, Iran or Iraq. So member organisations in large numbers are welcome to show solidarity and contribute to it.