Zenroren statement on the 46th House of Representatives general election
-- Let us join forces for government policies that help make progress in the employment situation, in working and living conditions, and in protecting workers' rights
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
Official campaigning for the 46th House of Representatives general election started today (December 4). It is a full-fledged political battle that has an important bearing on the future course of our country. The general election is taking place as wages have been declining for more than 10 years and one in three workers are casual employees. The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) in this election demands that the government take more effective measures to lift millions of people out of poverty, and to end the deflationary trend of the Japanese economy by boosting domestic demand. We also call on Zenroren-affiliated union members to make a choice in this election to swiftly eliminate nuclear power, which puts the people at risk so that Japan will become a secure and safe country.
Political parties have published their respective "manifestos" (electoral platforms). There is a party that is flagrant enough to deny the workers' basic demands by calling for the minimum wage system to be abolished and for regulation on dismissals to be eased. Another party is even defying public opinion of a majority opposing a consumption tax increase, as expressed in recent surveys, to call for further cuts in the corporate tax and for the people to secure funds on their responsibility for social services. Some of them are insisting that power plants currently deactivated for regular checkups should be restarted without making a clear statement as to whether nuclear power should be eliminated or maintained. Others are calling for an end to reliance on nuclear power generation without making any statement on whether nuclear plants should be restarted after regular checkups. There are even parties that promise to strengthen the Japan-US Security Treaty setup, adversely revise the Constitution, enable Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense, and a reorganization of the Self-Defense Forces into fully-fledged armed forces.
Given these political circumstances, Zenroren put forward the following issues to be debated in the election campaign: (1) No economic recovery or a promising society is possible as long as government policies give priority to increasing international competitiveness, continue to raise the consumption tax, carry out cutbacks in social services or adversely revise the labor laws in disregard of hardships the workers and the general public might be forced to endure; (2) The government cannot carry out post-disaster reconstruction in a way of serving the best interest of nuclear-disaster-hit people as long as it continues with policies that do not respond to their demand that nuclear power be immediately abandoned; (3) The policy of strengthening the Japan-US Security Treaty setup contradicts the wishes of Okinawans for the removal of US military bases from Japan. The country should definitely end its subservience to the United States, and (4) If political parties that insist on giving Japan a right of collective self-defense win the majority of the Diet seats, it will mean increasing military tensions in East Asia, which in turn will only isolate Japan in the region. We are definitely against moves toward revising the Constitution.
Zenroren takes the present general election as an opportunity to fight to realize the peoplefs serious demands. While guaranteeing union members the right to choose political parties they support, it is determined to do all it can to achieve progressive change in politics.