The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have subsided considerably, enabling economic activity to almost return to pre-pandemic levels. However, there is still no end in sight to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which began in February last year. How the tension between the USA and China will develop also remains uncertain. These world events have significantly influenced the global economy, causing soaring prices across the world. This has forced many industries to conduct strict cost control, and the shipping industry is no exception.

Under these circumstances, we will continue to make every effort, however large or small, to resolve the problems faced by our member companies and their seafarers. The understanding and cooperation of the relevant industry bodies, trade unions, and in some cases, government agencies of the countries concerned are essential to these efforts. We will continue to maintain good communication and exchange information with them, and share useful information with our member companies in a timely manner to help their operations.

The activities of the International Mariners Management Association of Japan (IMMAJ) can be categorized into two main areas. The first is to negotiate with the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and its affiliated trade unions in the framework of the International Bargaining Forum (IBF), to establish working conditions for foreign seafarers on board FOC ships in the Japanese merchant fleet. The second is to provide training and welfare to foreign seafarers, using the funds that form part of the wage scale agreed in the IBF negotiations.

Our efforts to negotiate amendments to the IBF-related agreements, to provide training and education, and to develop welfare through funds we jointly manage with the unions, are rooted in our desire to ultimately attract talented foreign seafarers to the Japanese merchant fleet. This will ensure continuous safe operation of Japanese merchant vessels. At the IBF negotiations, we will take the ship owners’ point of view, as well as pay attention to that of foreign seafarers to achieve what will be acceptable for both sides regarding not only wages but also other working conditions. For training and education, we will ensure to deliver them in a fair and effective manner, with the needs of our member companies being reflected. Seafarers’ welfare will also be developed, with the cooperation and understanding of the All Japan Seamen's Union. Through these activities, we would like to continue contributing to the securing of excellent foreign seafarers and the maintenance and strengthening of safe operations of vessels.

IMMAJ would like to keep responding to the needs of our members in a flexible and speedy manner, based on the principles of transparency and fairness. I would be grateful for your continued understanding, support, and cooperation.

IMMAJ Chairman: Toshihito Inoue