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October 21 Day of Action

The 179th Extraordinary Session of the Diet opened on October 20. It is to deliberate a supplementary budget and other important bills, including a bill to secure revenue and a bill to cut government workers' salaries. The Organizing Committee for the People's Great Movement, the Central Council for the Promotion of Social Security and the Central Action Committee against the Japan-US Security Treaty joined forces to organize a march in demonstration to the Diet during lunch break on October 21. They also held a rally in the Diet building. About 200 people took part in the demonstration.

At a start-up meeting for the demonstration, IMAI Makoto of the National Federation of Traders' and Producers' Organizations (Zenshoren) spoke on behalf of the organizers. He said, "The Democratic Party has thrown away its public promise to defend the taxpayers' rights in order to join with the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito party in proposing a bill to adversely revise the General Law of National Tax. Such a move is conducive to making tax collection stricter. We will fight against a consumption tax increase and any other mass tax increase."

HIGASHIMORI Hideo, secretary general of the Central Action Committee against the Japan-US Security Treaty, in his speech said, "The Defense Minister and senior government officials have visited Okinawa hoping to visibly make progress in the plan to construct a new military base in the Henoko district. We will fight to stop the moves toward the new base construction at Henoko, which is in response to the US demand. We will develop the movement to step up post-disaster reconstruction and oppose adverse social security reform, Japan's participation in the TPP talks, the proposal for a cut in the number of House of Representatives seats allocated to the proportional representation section. We also demand zero nuclear power plants. This is going to be the start of these struggles.”

On the convening of the 179th Extraordinary Session of the Diet
-Statement by ODAGAWA Yoshikazu, Secretary General of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)

October 20, 2011

The 179 the Extraordinary Session of the Diet was convened today (October 20). It is going to be the first full parliamentary session since the start of the government led by Prime Minister NODA Yoshihiko. It is to discuss the government-proposed third supplementary budget for fiscal 2011 designed to help implement measures to recover and rebuild the areas devastated by the East Japan Great Earthquake and Tsunami, along with revenue plans and a deregulation bill to establish special economic development zones devoted to post-disaster reconstruction.

Other important items on the agenda include a bill to revise the Worker Dispatch Law, a bill to cut government workers’ salaries, and a bill (carry-over) to revise the National Civil Service Law, which is ostensibly aimed at introducing a so-called “autonomous labor-management relations”.

The current session of the Diet is expected to review the electoral system, which the Supreme Court said unconstitutional. It will also consider establishing a panel on the Constitution to examine the draft bill of a revised Constitution, and the deployment of Self-Defense Forces to Sudan. These are matters of great importance for our struggle for peace and democracy.

These bills have direct bearings on workers’ employment, living conditions and basic rights. The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) is determined to use the upcoming major “November 10 National Day of Action” as a milestone to help increase the struggle to win the pressing demands of workers and block the series of adverse bills.

The Noda government is intent on raising the income and residential taxes under the pretext of increasing revenue to fund post-disaster reconstruction. It is also aiming to increase the consumption tax rate ostensibly to fund for keeping the social security programs running. It also intends to make a major adverse overhaul of every social program, such as the pension system, medical services, nursing care, welfare, and livelihood protection.

These moves can be seen against a background of large corporations’ demand that their tax burdens be reduced. The Democratic Party government is breaking its electoral pledge by turning to “structural reform” policy again and rush toward a grand coalition with conservative parties. The ongoing nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has not been placed under control, and the cause of the accident has not been established sufficiently. Nevertheless, the Noda government is showing the willingness to give a green light to resuming reactors that are currently under regular checkups, thus capitulating before pressure from financial circles and large corporations, which are demanding the policy of keeping nuclear power generation as well as much power as they need. The government is also acting at the US beck and call in trying to participate in the TPP talks and promoting the construction of a new US Marine Corps air base in the coastline of the Henoko district of Nago City, Okinawa.

The government’s policy centering on the interests of major corporations and its subservience to the United States neglects the call of the workers and the general public for the earliest possible recovery from the major disaster and will inevitably provoke contradictions and face public criticism. Zenroren is demanding the creation of quality jobs and improvement of social security programs and is working to develop dialogue and cooperation with all those people of all strata, who are angered by the Noda government’s return to the “structural reform” policy to win these demands.

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