Frequently Asked Questions:
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What is UTU?

The University Teachers Union represents both part-time and full-time university teachers, mainly in the Tokyo area. Its aims are to provide a forum for discussing problems at work, to support teachers in dispute, and to offer solidarity to fellow trade unionists. The UTU is a member union of the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu (which has over 2,500 members) and actively participates in the NUGW Nambu Foreign Workers Caucus.

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Why should I join?

As student enrollment falls, universities are looking for ways to cut costs — often by cutting jobs and salaries, enforcing non-renewable contracts and outsourcing teaching work to agencies. The power of an individual to do anything when their job security is threatened is limited. As a member of UTU you will get help and advice from experienced members and gain the support of our union and NUGW. Through regular mailings and meetings you will also be kept up to date with the activities of UTU and the Foreign Workers Caucus, and have the chance to support other workers in their fight to protect their jobs.

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Is UTU concerned with educational standards?

Yes. Our members are dedicated professional teachers. However, JALT offers a forum for discussing pedagogical ideas; UTU is principally concerned with supporting teachers as they seek to protect and improve their working conditions on campus.

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Can joining the union be used as a reason to fire me?

No. The right to join a union is guaranteed under the Japanese constitution.

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Can UTU provide legal support to its members?

Our parent union, NUGW, is legally registered as a labour union under Japanese law. It has the power to represent teachers in negotiations with schools when teachers feel they have been unfairly treated in some way. If you join UTU, NUGW can act on your behalf.

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Can UTU help me if I am not a union member?

A union's first responsibility is to its members; after all, they are the ones who have contributed time and money to make the union what it is. We will, however, try to offer advice if you have a problem; but the best advice is to join the union now!

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How much are union dues?

UTU members pay ¥30,000 a year.

  1. ¥24,000 goes to our parent union, NUGW, to help pay the salaries of the union's full-time workers and to fund the union's activities.
  2. The ¥6,000 remainder is used to finance the work of UTU.

Though the dues may seem expensive, consider them as a kind of insurance policy and a practical contribution to solidarity.

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How can I join?

Click here to apply online.

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How can I find out more about NUGW?

To find out more about UTU, continue browsing our web site. For more information about the work of NUGW, go to

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Do you want to join?
Apply online
UTU Members:
Next OGM: May 12, 14:00
at Nambu HQ in Shiba
(maps & directions)