INTRODUCTION: Polish free trade union leader Lech Walesa arrived in Tokyo on Sunday (10 May), for a week-long visit at the invitation of Japan's biggest labour organisation.
GV Solidarity leader Lech Walesa walking through arrivals lounge at Narita airport and posing for photographers. (2 SHOTS)
SV Walesa walking through crowds of reporters and photographers and taking seat in airport press room. (2 SHOTS)
SV Walesa speaking in Polish.
SV Reporters listening.
SV Walesa speaking.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Polish free trade union leader Lech Walesa arrived in Tokyo on Sunday (10 May), for a week-long visit at the invitation of Japan's biggest labour organisation. The trip is Mr. Walesa's second abroad since leading Polish workers in their struggle for free trade union rights. In January he visited the Vatican for an audience with Pope John Paul the second.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Walesa was invited to Japan when a delegation from the 4.5 million-strong Sohyo visited Poland last November and signed a friendship agreement between the two unions. Sohyo was one of the first overseas labour organisations to establish contact with the Polish free trade union movement, and has supplied Solidarity with printing and office equipment.
Accompanied by a 10-member delegation, Mr. Walesa will hold talks with leaders of Sohyo, three other major labour bodies and opposition parties. He is also scheduled to tour an electronics factory and the traffic control centre for the Japanese National Railways 'bullet' train, and will visit Nagasaki, the city hit by an atom bomb.
At an airport news conference Mr. Walesa said Solidarity wanted to learn how the Japanese organised their unions and businesses. He said he was interested in meeting not only trade union leaders but also members of management, and stressed that his mission was to look and learn. Before leaving Warsaw on Saturday (9 May) Mr. Walesa told reporters that Solidarity would welcome any help from their Japanese hosts but said his delegation was not going to Tokyo as beggars.
But a member of the Polish delegation, Jan Rulewski from Bydgozscz had said Solidarity might seek the help of the Japanese unions to reschedule a one million dollar loan from Japan to Poland.
On several occasions Mr. Walesa has said he wants to turn Poland into another Japan. At Narita the Polish Union leader once again touched on that point. He said the Japanese had built a powerful economy with high living standards through co-operation between unions and management and that Solidarity wanted to learn how this was accomplished.