Tag Archives: Japan

The time for a four-day week has arrived

A new experiment from Iceland confirms what many of us have long suspected: reducing working hours improves wellbeing and productivity

By Jack Kellam.  Published 7-8-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: Rawpixel Ltd/flickr/CC

Over the past six years, Iceland has been quietly conducting a major economic experiment. More than 2,500 public sector employees – representing over 1% of the country’s entire working population – reduced their working hours from 40 hours per week to 35 or 36 hours, with no loss of pay.

Trials of shorter working weeks are not new: in recent years a number of ‘four-day week’ experiments have taken place around the world – from Microsoft’s trial in Japan to Unilever’s experiment in New Zealand. But Iceland’s two trials, which took place between 2015 and 2021 among employees of the country’s national government and Reykjavík City Council, are unparalleled in terms of scale and scope. Progress was meticulously monitored by Icelandic researchers, which generated an unrivalled amount of evidence on the impact of shorter working hours. This week the key findings were published in a joint report published by Alda (Association for Sustainable Democracy) and Autonomy. Continue reading

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G7 Countries Reach Deal on 15% Global Minimum Tax Rate for Multinational Corporations

One critic of the agreement said that “by settling for anything less than a 25% tax rate, the G7 is telling their citizens and the world that they’re willing to keep the race to the bottom alive and kicking.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-5-2021

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at the World Bank 2021 Spring Meetings. Phpto: World Bank/flickr/CC

Representatives from seven of the world’s wealthiest nations reached an agreement on Saturday to support a global minimum tax rate of at least 15% for multinational companies, a move aimed at curbing the use of tax havens and ending the decades-long race to the bottom on corporate taxation.

The deal struck by the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, and Canada still faces a long road to implementation, but Saturday’s development marks substantial progress toward a global accord that could allow governments to raise revenue from corporate giants notorious for shifting operations and profits overseas to avoid taxes. Continue reading

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Greenpeace Says Japan’s Plan to Contaminate Pacific Ocean With Fukushima Water Would Violate International Law

“The government has taken the wholly unjustified decision to deliberately contaminate the Pacific Ocean with radioactive wastes.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-13-2021

Contaminated water storage tanks at Fukushima. Photo: Svein T veitdal/Twitter

In a decision that sparked condemnation from environmental advocates, fisherfolk, and neighboring countries, Japan announced Tuesday a plan to dump over 1.2 million tons of stored contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

The decision made by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet gives Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) the green light to release Fukushima’s wastewater into the sea just over a decade after one of the worst nuclear disasters in history; discharges won’t begin for two years, as TEPCO prepares for a process that is expected to take decades. Continue reading

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The labor-busting law firms and consultants that keep Google, Amazon and other workplaces union-free

Rite Aid hired anti-union consultants to try to prevent workers from successfully organizing. Amy Niehouse/Flickr, CC BY-SA

John Logan, San Francisco State University

American companies have been very successful at preventing their workers from organizing into unions in recent decades, one of the reasons unionization in the private sector is at a record low.

What you may not realize is that a handful of little-known law and consulting firms do much of the dirty work that keeps companies and other organizations union-free. Continue reading

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Biolab for “Most Dangerous Pathogens on Earth” Opened in Wuhan Before Outbreak

23 million people in China “are effectively under quarantine” due to the sudden outbreak of a deadly new virus in Wuhan.

By John Vibes Published 1-23-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

As of Thursday afternoon, 23 million people in seven Chinese cities have been placed on quarantine due to the sudden outbreak of a deadly SARS-like virus called 2019-nCoV.

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Amid Years of Funding Cuts to Public Health, First US Case of China’s Coronavirus Detected

Public health advocates say state, local, and federal agencies are underprepared to cope with the spread of a new infectious disease.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-21-2020

Coronavirus. Photo: CDC

Officials in Washington State reported Tuesday that a resident was diagnosed with the coronavirus which was first detected in Wuhan, China last month, leading federal public health agencies which have suffered billions of dollars in cuts in recent years to issue warnings and post information about the illness.

“This is an evolving situation and again, we do expect additional cases in the United States and globally,” Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Washington Post. Continue reading

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Plan to Release Radioactive Fukushima Wastewater Into Pacific Ocean Panned by Critics

“Another reason to not build nuclear power plants.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-10-2019

Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior sailing past the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, five years after the plant’s accident. (Photo: Christian Åslund/Greenpeace)

The far-reaching dangers of nuclear power were on full display Tuesday as Japan’s environmental minister recommended releasing more than one million tons of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi plant into the Pacific Ocean nearly a decade after a tsunami caused a meltdown at the coastal facility.

“There are no other options” other than dumping the water into the ocean and diluting it, Yoshiaki Harada said at a news conference in Tokyo. Continue reading

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A Month Ahead of Global Climate Strike, Thousands Pledge to Attend Rallies Across Planet to ‘Turn Up the Political Heat’ and Demand Action

“Time is running out. This decade is our last chance to stop the destruction of our people and our planet… This is why we strike.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-20-2019

Photo taken at the Global Climate Strike in London on Friday 15th March 2019. Next month, thousands of people from all over the world plan to rally to mark the one-year anniversary of the climate strike movement, which teenaged advocate Greta Thunberg began last year. Photo: Garry Knight/flickr

Organizers behind the global climate strike movement—from teenage students to adults who have fought for climate action for decades—on Tuesday called on all people who want to halt the climate crisis to join the worldwide action on September 20.

350.org, one of dozens of international, national, and local groups organizing the strike, announced Tuesday that with a month to go before the demonstration, thousands of people have already signed up to take part in the strike and the Week of Action that’s planned for the days that follow. Continue reading

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Citing Racist Massacres and ‘Inexcusable’ Prevalence of Guns, Foreign Countries Issue Travel Safety Warnings for United States

“The world is watching.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-6-2019

Screenshot: Fox News

While President Donald Trump and the Republican Party have spent the past several years claiming foreign migrants and refugees pose a threat to Americans, a pair of massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend has compelled two Latin American countries to warn their own  citizens of the travel dangers lurking in the United States.

The foreign ministries of Venezuela and Uruguay issued urgent warnings to people in their countries who may travel to the U.S. following the deaths of 31 people in the two mass shootings. Both countries informed their citizens of the “indiscriminate possession” of guns by the U.S. population and the refusal of the federal government to address the problem. Continue reading

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‘Spitting in the Eye of Transparency,’ Govt Reveals Just 22 Mar-a-Lago Visitors

Watchdog groups promise to keep fighting Trump administration in court after it refuses to release full list of presidential visitors to so-called Winter White House

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-15-2017

On Friday, the Trump administration released a list of visitors from President Donald Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe at the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. (Photo: Shealah Craighead/TheWhite House)

“See you in court, Mr. President,” a watchdog group warned on Friday, after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under pressure from a federal lawsuit, released just two pages of Mar-a-Lago visitor records, despite earlier promises to reveal the full list of visitors to President Donald Trump’s so-called Winter White House.

After waiting months for a response to our request for comprehensive visitor logs from the president’s multiple visits to Mar-a-Lago and having the government ask for a last minute extension, today we received 22 names from the Japanese prime minister’s visit to Mar-a-Lago, and nothing else,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Continue reading

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