National Union of General
Workers Tokyo Nambu
Before becoming deputy general secretary of the NUGW Tokyo Nambu, Louis Carlet, a US native who landed in Japan 10 years ago, was a translator at the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. Now his mission is to provide foreign workers in Japan with job security through the second annual March in March.
What is the March about?
It’s to raise awareness of problems faced by foreign workers in Japan due to fixed-term contracts. Such contracts make employees vulnerable to arbitrary firings through non-renewal. Nambu and several other unions and human rights organizations with participants from dozens of countries will come together with placards, flags and posters. We will also have speeches, dancers, musicians and other performers. Simultaneous demonstrations will take place in Osaka and Fukuoka.
How many people are you expecting?
Last year’s march drew about 300 participants and was covered by TBS television, the Asahi Shimbun and the Yomiuri Shimbun. This year we have set a target of doubling that figure.
What services does your union offer foreign workers?
The union is a mutual aid society. Using our collective strength, resources and knowledge, we improve the bargaining power of all members. We also inform foreign and Japanese members of their rights under labor law and show them how to improve working conditions.
What do you think of the government’s immigration policies?
Actually there is no real immigration bureau (“Iminkyoku”) in Japan. The “Immigration Bureau” under the Ministry of Justice is in fact a mistranslation of “Nyukoku Kanrikyoku,” which means “Border Control Bureau.” It’s time for Japanese society to become accustomed to living alongside foreigners from around the world.
The March in March starts at 1:30pm on March 5 from Kashiwagi Park in Shinjuku. See community listings for details. GJ
Revenge isn’t sweet
Eric Bana learns a lot in Steven Spielberg’s story of the Munich Olympic massacre and its bloody aftermath
By Chris Betros
If nothing else, Eric Bana is learning a lot about news and historic events from his movie career. The 37-year-old Australian actor, who stars in Steven Spielberg’s latest film, Munich, says making movies like this one and Black Hawk Down has heightened his awareness of world affairs. Munich deals with the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by the Black September group at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The Israeli government orders a secret squad to track down and execute the 11 Palestinians suspected of planning the attack. Bana plays Avner, the Mossad agent chosen to lead the group.
“I was only four when it happened, so I have no direct recollection,” says Bana. “But I have memories of the news footage of masked terrorists on the balcony and whenever an Olympics came around, people always talked about what happened at Munich. When Steven asked me three years ago to do the film, I started to learn more about it. Being in
a movie like this most definitely affects you. I am not an expert on the politics and history of the Middle East, but I feel far better educated and find it a lot harder to feel detached. It was the same when I made Black Hawk Down. The news has never been the same since then, especially when I hear
a report of a helicopter being shot down.”
One of the central themes of Munich is family and the dehumanizing effect that Avner’s mission of revenge has on his wife and baby son. “Being a husband and father of two, it’s easy for me to relate to that theme. I come from a close European family,” says Bana, whose father is Croatian and mother German. “I think of Munich as a thriller first and foremost, but with haunting themes of revenge, home and loss of innocence.”
To prepare for his role, Bana met the Israeli agent that his character is loosely based on. “I learned from him little anecdotal things like what he would do after an assassination, such as wanting to cook or staring at model kitchens in department store windows,” said Bana.
The Australian described working with Spielberg as
a “thrilling and incredible” experience. “We were in constant dialogue as the script developed and he encouraged me to listen to my instincts. A lot of directors want to control every scene. Steven is very interested in watching something happen for the first time on film.”
Although it seems like Bana has just come on the scene recently, he was working hard Down Under for
the past 15 years, slowly making a name for himself.
“I started acting when I was 22. I did stand-up comedy for 12 years, then some TV work,” Bana says. He won his big movie break with the film Chopper, about one of Australia’s most notorious killers. Then came Black Hawk Down (2002) and The Hulk (2003), followed
by Troy (2004).
Bana is one of many Australian actors currently making their mark on the world stage, along with Munich co-star Geoffrey Rush. “Actually, I know Geoffrey mainly from sharing the same flights from Australia to LA. We go back and forth a lot,” he said. “We all feel very blessed that Australian actors are in demand because our film industry at home is small and it’s important for us to work overseas.”
Read Don Morton’s review of Munich.
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