Introduction to the Japanese Freeter Unions

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"Freedom and Survival -- The Freeter Union" is the story of a Japanese Union created in 2004 in Tokyo through and for Freeters. Freeters are mostly young japanese people, who work precariously. In the earlier times it was often a conscious choice, creating an alternative life style apart from the mainstream career in the Japanese Cooperations. But nowaday, especially since the burst of the economic bubble in the 1990ies and through the crisis in 2008, young people often have no other choice and becoming a Freeter starts to be an existential necessity to survive in a society build upon work as the most important value and identity. So the union has the goal of fighting unjust work conditions to regain freedom as well as giving solidarity and emotional support to each other in their everyday lives, partially also through living together, which is quite unusual in Japan. Since 2004, more and more grass root groups have built up in other japanese cities and diverse sub groups have emerged like the Kyabakura Union or the Gas Station Union, which are organised inside the General Freeter Union. Through the Union, the Freeters are able to collectively defend their survival and support and empower themselves through direct actions against unfair working conditions and bad bosses and solidarity with each other."