Members of Silver Manpower Centers (SMCs) in Japan amount to over 700 thousand people. The women members account for a little over 300 thousand people, but never beyond 33% of the total membership. The population of elderly women is more than that of elderly men, but women have the burden of housework and less work experience, which are contributing factors for fewer women members. In addition, SMCs are supervised by the Ministry of Health, Labour and welfare and local administrative organizations However, as SMCs have been established for more than 30 years, senior women have now generally been freed from housework and acquire increased work experience and thus tend expanded desire to apply for membership in SMCs. On the other hand, recognition of public administrations such as the Ministry and local agencies falls behind the times. With a view to exploring the measures to increase membership of elderly women in SMCs, the features of the centers were compared between those which have more than 40% of women members and those with less than 25% of women members. Also interviews were conducted involving senior office personnel about types of jobs and activities on the board of the centers.
Since China is a major manufacturing country, it is important to ensure its workers’ safety and health. In order to evaluate the industrial fatigue and health conditions of the workers, a study was carried out in a machinery manufacturer in Wuxi, China. Questionnaires were distributed to 100 workers and 95 replies were collected. The participants covered four different types of jobs. The content of the questionnaires included daily life and working hours, level of cumulative fatigue, Subjective Feelings of Fatigue Symptoms, Local Physical Fatigue Symptoms and so on. The results showed that the level of cumulative fatigue among the subjects was so high. The Subjective Feelings of Fatigue Symptoms scores increased with time, especially in dulness and blurness. The results of the Local Physical Fatigue Symptoms showed that although the tired parts varied by job types and changed over time, the “upper limbs” and “lower limbs” were the most frequently mentioned parts among all the workers. The results about working hours showed that eighty percent of the subjects had to work overtime because of the heavy workload or unexpected events. Thirty-five percent of the workers responded that the duration of overtime work was over 40 hours per month with more than half of them working on weekends or holidays. Sixty-six percent of the surveyed workers reported poor rest quality during lunch breaks due to short duration and lack of resting facilities. Answers collected from the questionnaire also showed that seventy-five percent of the subjects suffered from diseases last year, such as cold, strains, lumbago, digestive illness and so on. The results of the current study showed that long working hours, lack of rest and insufficient breaks worsened the industrial fatigue of workers ; often leading to illness. In order to secure the health of workers, it is necessary for the manufacturer to shorten working hours and improve the working environment and ergonomic conditions.
We have sketched the history of lead-poisoning in Japanese children in the serial form in the Journal of Science of Labour. In 1923, Professor Ikutaro Hirai firstly reported in a pediatric journal, Acta Paediatrica Japonica, that the so-called meningitis in infancy (SCMI) was a chronic lead-poisoning disease caused by white lead in the mothers’ face powder. Many studies on SCMI have been published since 1923. Although the majority of the researchers supported Hirai’s theory, some insisted that SCMI was not a chronic lead-poisoning disease and/or that other factors in the face powder might cause SCMI. The outline of the zincpoisoning theory, advocated by Naomutsu Okubo who did not accept Hirai’s theory, was given in the previous article in the Journal of Science of Labour. In this article, we examined the questions presented by Kenichiro Takasu, Yasuhei Tani, Mitsunori Karasawa and Muneyoshi Nagahama about the lead-poisoning theory. Takasu did not accept the Hirai’s leadpoisoning theory. Tani, Karasawa and Nagahama suggested the difficulty in differential diagnosis of SCMI and chronic lead-poisoning disease, the presence of other candidate factors causing SCMI, inconsistent pathological findings of the brain, etc. Professor Hirai answered in detail to these questions or comments, especially to the questions in the three articles of Takasu, which will be discussed in the next article. After such a fierce controversy, the chronic lead-poisoning was established as the cause of SCMI.