The biggest transport strike in Japan's history ended on Saturday (28 April), but city officials said it would take at least 24 hours to get the country's transport system back to normal.
The biggest transport strike in Japan's history ended on Saturday (28 April), but city officials said it would take at least 24 hours to get the country's transport system back to normal. The strike started on Wednesday (25 April) when railwaymen stopped work over a wage protest. By Friday (27 April), it had spread to all bus lines and even taxis. It left millions of Japanese people either stranded without transport, or caught up in huge traffic jams throughout the country.
The Transport Ministry said that 31-million people were affected by the strike. But it didn't end at transport. Teachers, hospital and some local government workers struck for a few hours. Dockers and postal and telecommunications men continued their strikes, and millions of articles of mail piled up around the country.
The strike was called off on Saturday when the railwaymen won their demands for more pay.
SYNOPSIS: After the worst general transport strike in Japan's history, the nation began moving again on Saturday after the striking men accepted a big pay offer. But while the strike was on, Tokyo, like all other Japanese cities, ground almost to a halt.
The first trains stopped running on Wednesday, and by Friday, the usually-seething stations were deserted. Not a single train was running. A day after the strike began, it had spread to buses and taxis. One Japanese transport official said that the strike had affected 31 million people.
While the strike was at its worst, some groups of transport workers gathered at stations and chanted their wage demands. They succeeded in closing down 72 private railway companies and ten publicly-run subways.
Some office workers avoided the huge traffic jams by walking to work along the deserted rail tracks. Others hired camping outfits and slept in their city offices. Bedding rental companies made a fortune.
With taxi drivers also on strike, some of the nation's work force used private trucks to commute. The resulting traffic jams lasted up to five hours in some parts of Tokyo. Even though the striking men accepted their pay offer on Saturday, it'll take at least a day to get the transport system back to normal.