The International Labor Organization is pressing Japan to join the ranks of other advanced nations and allow firefighters the right to organize. But Tokyo refuses to grant that right on grounds it would disturb the chain of command, particularly in times of emergency, when firefighters are often mobilized for rescue and relief operations along with police and the Self-Defense Forces. Among major industrialized nations, Japan is the only country that does not allow firefighters to form trade unions even though it ratified the ILO’s Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention.