On Prime Minister Hatoyamafs resignation
By ODAGAWA Yoshikazu
Secretary General of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
June 2, 2010
Prime Minister HATOYAMA Yukio said today (June 2) that he will resign to take blame for "forcing the Social Democratic Party into leaving the coalition government" and to "have the Democratic Party break with money politics scandals."
We believe that Mr. Hatoyama was forced to resign because his administration has reached an impasse after betraying the public's expectations by having the Cabinet adopt a plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station (currently in Ginowan City, Okinawa) to the Henoko district of Nago City in Okinawa prompting the Social Democratic Party to quit the Cabinet. Increasing antagonisms between the public interest and government policy have led him to give up on power. This is no different from what the former government led by the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito party repeated for several preceding years.
The Hatoyama government did not address issues in earnest to respond to the public needs. It instead easily reneged on its public promise through making cosmetic changes in its policies to avert public criticism. The repetition of this sort of politics, which has undermined the public trust in government, could endanger the country's democracy. It must be pointed out that Mr. Hatoyama must be to blame for his resignation as prime minister as well as for his act of breaking election promises.
He cited the "politics and money" scandal as a reason for his resignation. However, the money politics scandal cannot be resolved through the prime minister's resignation. If the need is to break with "politics and money" corruptions, not only outgoing Prime Minister Hatoyama but also OZAWA Ichiro, who has expressed his intention to resign as DPJ secretary general, as well as all other politicians, whose involvement in corruptions have been exposed, must accept moral responsibility and make it clear that they will come clean on the allegations. Without this, the prime minister's resignation is just another farce produced with the aim of declaring the case closed.
Public expectations were running high after the House of Representatives general election in August for the new government to move away from the "structural reform" policies that had allowed a part of large exporters to maximize their profits while forcing the general public to endure hardships. Many people also expected that the government would move forward toward building equal Japan-U.S. relationship, as Prime Minister Hatoyama had promised, starting with the unconditional removal of the U.S. Futenma base, in the interest of the Japanese people, and in particular residents of Okinawa. The government was also tasked to shift change the political direction to one of improving social services in order to ease economic inequalities and eliminate poverty.
Contrary to these public needs, the government has moved to consider a "new growth strategy" that puts emphasis on helping large corporations make inroads abroad rather than expanding domestic demand. The bill the government has submitted in the Diet to revise the Worker Dispatch Law had loopholes. While considering raising the consumption tax rate and lowering corporate tax rates, it has deferred the abolition of the health insurance system for the elderly aged 75 and older. The public has been disappointed by the government reneging on its public promises. The government reached agreement with the United States to relocate the U.S. Futenma base functions to the Henoko district of Nago City and approved a relocation plan in line with the Japan-U.S. agreement, in complete disregard of strong opposition by Okinawans and residents of Tokunoshima Island (Kagoshima Prefecture), who are infuriated.
These discrepancies between the public demands and government decisions are precisely what compelled Prime Minister Hatoyama to resign. The ruling Democratic Party is called upon to honestly admit this fact and make a critical review of its policy. Prime Minister Hatoyama's resignation has made clear the main issue in the upcoming House of Councilors election. At issue is to establish a government that carries out policies that does not contradict public demands and in the direction of clearly moving away from the "structural reform" policy that has primarily benefited large corporations, and a government that can negotiate the unconditional removal of the U.S. Futenma base with the United States.
Zenroren will use its struggle in the upcoming House of Councilors election slated for July 11 to step up the drive toward progressive change in politics, while strengthening the struggle to press the Diet to enact the fundamental revision of the Worker Dispatch Law during the remaining days of the current session of the Diet.