Japan fishermen go on national strike
The entire world is suffering from fuel prices hike and people have been protesting in their own way. Now fishermen in Japan have gone on a massive one day strike to protest skyrocketing fuel prices.
Fishermen across Japan went on a massive one-day strike Tuesday to protest skyrocketing fuel prices, the latest blow to the country's foundering fishing industry.The strike was the largest ever for the industry, involving 200,000 boats and 400,000 workers, organizers said. More than 3,000 fishermen from across the country gathered in central Tokyo and marched around the fisheries ministry in protest.
"We ask that the government immediately implement emergency measures to ensure the survival of the fishing industry," said Ikuhiro Hattori, chairman of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations. The federation is asking for tax breaks on fuel and other financial support.
"Fisherman have passed the limits of what they can do on their own," Hattori said.
As is often the case with strikes in Japan, the one-day work stoppage was largely symbolic. Fish prices at Tokyo's large Tsukiji fish market were normal Tuesday, and wholesalers said they did not expect any dire effects.
The rich variety of marine life pulled from Japan's coastal waters has long served as the country's staple food source and the origin of its raw fish delicacies famous around the world. Japan's fisherman are a source of national pride, and the country has flouted international pressure to stop whaling and adopt tougher environmental standards.
But Japanese are gradually losing their taste for fish, as they eat more meat products and opt for meals that are easier to prepare. Faced with the shift in eating patterns at home, cheaper competition from abroad and stocks depleted by years of overfishing, Japan's fishermen say they are fighting to survive and cannot bear the rising fuel costs without help from the government.
"The difference between the price of fuel and the selling price of the fish I catch is too tight," said Masahito Shimura, a sardine fisherman who joined the protests from Shizuoka, 94 miles west of Tokyo. He said he now often operates at a daily loss.
Tetsuhiro Kotani traveled about 560 miles from Miyazaki Prefecture on Japan's southern coast to attend the protest. The fisherman said his fuel costs have doubled over the last year.
"There must be something the government can do, because right now, it is really tough," he said.
Last month, a squid-fishing association said around 3,000 squid boats halted operations across Japan due to skyrocketing fuel costs, the first strike by the domestic fishing industry to protest soaring oil prices.
Tuesday's strike by Japanese fisherman is the latest in an international wave of protests by workers in fuel-intensive industries. Truckers, taxi cab drivers and fisherman in Asia, Europe and the U.S. have gone on strike to demand their governments provide relief from soaring fuel costs.