Uniqlo chairman, ILO to support Asian workers

The operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing chain says it will cooperate with the International Labour Organization to improve working conditions in Asian countries where the firm's factories are located.

The Chairman and President of Fast Retailing, Tadashi Yanai, told NHK that his company has concluded a partnership agreement with the ILO.

Fast Retailing will provide 1.8 million dollars to the ILO over a period of two years to promote better working environments.

The company will advise Indonesia's government to set up an unemployment insurance system. Fast Retailing will also ask the government to provide training in fields such as IT to help unemployed people find jobs.

In seven other Asian countries, including China and Vietnam, Fast Retailing and the ILO will assess their social security systems and urge these governments to improve working environments.

The firm says it aims to stabilize the lives of workers in these countries, and make markets grow.

Yanai says Asia needs to create jobs and develop, and the first industries to develop are labor-intensive ones such as textiles, clothing and retailing.

He says the partnership of Fast Retailing and the ILO will promote better working conditions to give hope to young people, especially women.

The ILO is a United Nations agency with a mandate to improve working conditions and living standards.

The ILO's Jakarta office told NHK the project will help people such as garment factory workers to find employment in other industries if they lose their jobs as a result of economic changes.

The office adds that the project also aims to protect the livelihoods of workers' families and ensure education for their children.