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FIA and JAU host an International Symposium on the Status of the Artist, Tokyo September 27th 2018

On the 27th of September, on the occasion of the FIA Executive in Tokyo, the Japan Actor’s Union (JAU) convened a special Symposium with a view to facilitating an international dialogue on jobs and the status of actors. The Symposium had been very carefully prepared to showcase a range of international experience of direct relevance to Japanese performers and their representatives. Ferne Downey, FIA President, acted as Master of Ceremonies for the occasion and opened with a heartfelt tribute to Japanese cultural expressions, in their great diversity, from ancient to modern. She extended greetings and solidarity from the whole of the FIA global network to their fellow performers in Japan. She thanked the Japanese for the great welcome that had been extended to the FIA Executive. Akiko Santo, Special Advisor to JAU and Michihiro Ikemizu, the union’s Executive Director, both made informative presentations on the situation of performers in Japan. They emphasized in particular that the current copyright regime in Japan is not delivering for performers who derive little or no income from the secondary uses of their performances. The current rules are not fit for purpose in the digital age and reform is badly needed. They also raised the issue of management companies and the need for better regulation in this area.

Ferne Downey then invited the guest speakers, drawn from across the FIA membership, to share one by one their thoughts, experiences, know-how and ideas on a selection of issues. An inspiring tour de force followed, taking in topics from the UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of the Artist; the regulation of agents; collective bargaining; ending buyouts and achieving better remuneration for digital use; membership services; and addressing sexual harassment. All speakers emphasised that, while their national experience could not serve as a blueprint for other countries, it might be an inspiration in seeking to drive change. They underlined the importance of union membership, engagement and activism as the baseline and foundation for future work. They urged Japanese performers to join their union and help it to expand its influence on behalf of all performers. They passed on the clear message that the FIA membership around the world will support them in their efforts.

The speakers included Sophie Prégent, President of UDA, Canada; Tom Carpenter, General Counsel of AEA, USA; Stephen Waddell, Executive Director of ACTRA Canada; Jimmy Schuman, SFA, France; Arden Ryshpan, National Executive Director of CAEA, Canada; David White, National Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA, USA; Anne-Katrine Olsen, General Secretary of DSF, Denmark; Karan O’Loughlin, Sector Organiser, SIPTU-IE, Ireland; Dominick Luquer, FIA General Secretary; Ian Barrit, Vice-President of Equity, UK; and Gabrielle Carteris, President of SAG-AFTRA, USA.

The symposium was a memorable occasion, showcasing the diversity of experience of FIA affiliates around the globe, as well as the strength and depth of the network that the Federation brings together. The speakers were kind enough to provide a written account of the experiences that they shared and these will be published in Japanese by JAU as compilation of the Symposium experience. The English language versions and accompanying speaker bios are available on request from the FIA Secretariat. 

More pictures available on the FIA Flikr account.