Stop the runaway Abe administration! We join forces to demand its early resignation
On the opening of the 187th Extraordinary Session of the Diet
Statement by INOUE Hisashi
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
September 29, 2014/10/22
The 187th Extraordinary Session of the Diet (parliament) began today. The administration of Prime Minister ABE Shinzo, who reshuffled the Cabinet, is trying to draw public attention by proposing some bills ostensibly aimed at local revitalization and a greater use of women. But these measures, which are indeed meaningless, are put forward in order to accelerate the efforts to stealthily achieve two major undemocratic goals: turning Japan into a country that wages war side by side with the United States and turning Japan into the world’s easiest country for companies to do business, a policy of serving the best interest of global companies at the cost of working people and local communities. It is no less than a policy paving the way for ruining Japanese people’s livelihoods and dragging the Japanese economy into a new crisis. We must not tolerate such absurd policies.
Zenroren is determined to join with the broad sections of the people to strike back at the Abe Cabinet demanding its resignation.
On July 1, the Abe Cabinet defied strong public opposition to approve a policy that makes it possible for Japan to legally exercise the right of collective self-defense in violation of the Constitution. It also set out to construct a new military base for U.S. forces off the Henoko district of Okinawa’s Nago City. These are clearly moves to turn Japan into a country that wages war. Nevertheless, the Abe administration is now trying to delay the debate on revising the Japan-U.S. security setup in order to avoid adverse impacts on the nationwide local elections slated for April next year. Resorting to this cheap trick, it is trying to make fait accomplish. A number of Abe Cabinet members are causing repercussions because of their intimate relations with ultra-right groups. All this shows that the Abe administration is posing threats to peace, friendship and democracy in Asia and the rest of the world. This is why we have no choice than to demand the Abe Cabinet’s resignation.
The Abe administration is also launching serious attacks on the labor law, social security programs, education and agriculture, which are all essential to people’s livelihoods. Take the labor law reform, for example, the bill to amend the law on the use of temporary agency workers was killed in the ordinary session of the Diet that ended in June even without being put to discussion. But the Abe Cabinet again approved the same bill and has submitted it in the Diet again. This bill, if enacted, would eliminate the most important principle that temporary agency workers can be used only for temporary jobs. It could put temporary workers in precarious jobs because employers can hire them at low wages and have the freedom to dismiss them anytime. A government panel is now considering legislation to allow companies to force workers to do overtime work without pay and further ease requirements for the use of discretionary work schedule, gutting the key element of 8-hour day. This is how the Abe administration is promoting the collapse of the labor market rules. These moves could turn the whole of Japan into a “black company”, an irresponsible company that dumps workers into work without rules. We will develop a major struggle of workers to thwart all these adverse measures.
It is also scandalous that the Abe administration is seeking to decide after the end of the current Extraordinary Session of the Diet or by the end of the year to raise the consumption tax rate to 10 percent. The rate was raised to 8 percent On April 1 this year. Japan’s economy contracted an annualized 7.1 percent, far worse than expected. Equally, real wages fell by 3 percent from the previous year. All this shows that the Japanese economy is entering a cautionary zone. If the people’s livelihoods are to be improved, and if the Japanese economy needs to be put on a recovery track, it is necessary to stop carrying out adverse labor law reforms and social security reforms and turn to ensuring job security and a pay rise for all workers to make their living conditions stable and boost domestic demand again. These are exactly what the government must do first. We strongly oppose the consumption tax increase that has enormously adverse effects. Equally we oppose corporate tax cuts.
What the runaway Abe administration is doing is nothing but a grave challenge to the basic constitutional principles, viz., renunciation of war, pursuit of lasting peace, sovereign power in the people, and respect for the fundamental human rights. No one can accept such authoritarian unconstitutional measures being taken by one cabinet.
Zenroren, under the slogan, “Defend and make use of the Constitution,” will continue to confront the runaway Abe administration. In order to drive it into an early resignation, we will play an active role in cooperation with broad sectors of the people, particularly in the “Constitution Caravan” campaign.
We call on all people to join us in building the broadest possible cooperation, with the Constitution as guide, for a revitalized Japan for all working people and local communities.