Backstage working conditions take centre stage in Japan
The Japanese Association of Safety Staging Technology (JASST) hosted a symposium today (21 June) to discuss the working conditions of crew and stage workers in the country.
Representatives from JASST and member associations, including Japanese promoters’ association ACPC (All-Japan Concert and Live Entertainment Promoters Conference), discussed shift work, working hours, the lack of resources and the unique nature of production work.
The panel referred to Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe’s promises to reform working conditions and limit overtime work to 45 hours per month. Representatives suggested such a reform would “not match the reality” of production work.
“We usually begin to set up a stage at 9 a.m. and finish up the show at 11 p.m,” said JASST director Shingo Nagano, indicating that stage workers are likely to be “punished” for working too much.
The law, which currently applies to large enterprises, would see stage crew working hours classed as “illegal”.
“We would like the government to understand, or at least to try to understand, our style of working,” said Nagano.
“We should keep telling the government that our way of working on site is very particular”
Shigeyuki Kozaki of the Event Support Committee noted the professional pressures facing backstage workers.
“Even if you exceed the work time limit, you can’t leave the site,” said Kozaki. “If you do, you will never again be employed as a worker. That’s the problem.”
For JASST manager Kazufumi Yoshjiue, the problem is cost. “When we are encouraged to introduce shifts for workers, the labour cost increases. How do we cope with that?” asked the JASST member, suggesting higher ticket prices or dynamic pricing could make up the revenue.
ACPC advisor Yukiharu Yamamoto concluded, stating that “we should keep telling the government that our way of working on site is very particular.”
Yamamoto stressed the need for music associations to work in conjunction with cross-party politicians to find a solution, citing the success of the recent anti-secondary ticketing law.
The associations aim to organise a collective in order to address the issue further.