Statement on House of Representatives election results
December 17, 2012
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
The 46th House of Representatives general election on December 16 gave the Liberal Democratic Party 294 seats in the 480-seat chamber. The Democratic Party of Japan, which has been in power, won only 57 seats. The Japan Restoration Party won 54 seats, the New Komeito party 31, The Your Party 18, the Tomorrow Party of Japan 9, the Japanese Communist Party 8, the Social Democratic Party 2, and the New Party DAICHI 1. Five seats were given to independents. The LDP has secured a majority on its own in the House of Representatives. A coalition of the LDP and New Komeito would keep a two-third majority in the House of Representatives, enabling them to override House of Councilors rejection. Losing to the LDP, the DPJ narrowly became the main opposition party after suffering a crushing defeat.
In the proportional representation part of the election, which better reflects voters' will, the LDP won an extra seat and New Komeito had the number of its seats unchanged. The DPJ lost 57 seats, most of which went to parties that had come into being just before the election, namely the Japan Restoration Party and the Tomorrow Party. In the election with as many as 12 parties taking part, voters who turned their back on the DPJ because it reneged on its promise on various issues, including a consumption tax increase, voted for the new parties. This tendency clearly helped the LDP win a landslide thanks to the single-seat constituency system.
The LDP clinched “victory” by taking advantage of the single-seat constituency system, which distorts public criticism of the DPJ’s misgovernment and the will of the sovereign. It is certain that people voted for the LDP not because they supported the LDP’s platform that calls for the promotion of structural reform policies, including more far-reaching deregulations, or the promotion of military buildup, such as the right of collective self-defense, and the establishment of a national defense army. In fact, many people are against the consumption tax increase, against Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks; many people are demanding a Japan with zero-nuclear power. Even under the new political circumstances generated after the general election, public opinion and people’s movements continue to be the key factor for setting the policy direction and the driving force of politics. We renew our determination to strive to broaden cooperation based on the workers and other sections of the people and to advance the people’s movement to stop the misgovernment.
Zenroren attached importance on the general election as an important struggle for advancing workers demands. With its basic stance, which is to defend union members’ freedom to choose a political party to support and defend union independence from political parties, it focused on activities to demand politics that can stop the consumption tax increase and adopt zero-nuclear power policy for Japan, while organizing efforts to realize the various demands of workers. We express our gratitude to all our union members for their active participation in the election campaigning linking it to the preparations for year-end struggles as well as the Spring Struggle. Convinced that these efforts have made the workers’demands an issue in the election and pushed back the call for easing regulation of worker protection, we will build on these achievements in the next stage of our struggle.
Voter turnout in the general election was 59.32 percent, the lowest since the end of World War II. Many people were angered by the DPJ’s betrayal but there was only a month or so between the dissolution of the House of Representatives and the day of election. They were unable to find a party that they think can replace the DPJ. Low voter turnout is also attributed to the fact that issues became vague in the voters’ eye. The urgent need now is to create a system that prevents parliamentary democracy from being gutted while eliminating the harmful effect of the present election system. In this respect Zenroren will fight in the forefront of the effort to advance the nationwide movement demanding an electoral system that accurately reflects the will of the people and respects the right to vote.