Let us pass historic ‘No’ verdict on Abe’s runaway politics!
Statement by Secretary General INOUE Hisashi
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
November 18, 2014
At a news conference today (Nov. 18), Prime Minister ABE Shinzo said that raising the consumption tax rate to 10 percent scheduled for October next year would be delayed until April 2014 and that he will dissolve the House of Representatives for a snap election. He said an official announcement will be made on December 2 for the general election to be held on December 14.
Abe’s announcement comes immediately after the ruling coalition suffered an historic defeat in a gubernatorial election in Okinawa, in which the main issue was the plan to construct a new U.S. military base off the Henoko district of Nago City, Okinawa.
The election will take place at a time when the failure of the government economic policy dubbed “Abenomics” was clearly confirmed by the latest figures showing a 1.6 percent decline in the country’s GDP for the July-September period. The Abe administration has been compelled to resort to dissolution for a general election in the face of people’s growing opinion and joint struggle calling for overthrowing the Abe Cabinet.
For the labor movement, the general election has been called immediately after it thwarted a bill to adversely revise the law on the use of temporary agency workers, which the Abe administration had pushed for as a centerpiece of its growth strategy.
The upcoming general election will be a good opportunity for us to pass judgment in anger on Abe’s “runaway” politics. Convinced of the growth of public opinion and the people’s movement, Zenroren will concentrate its organization strength on the struggle to pass “No” verdict on the runaway politics of the Abe administration.
Prime Minister Abe insists that he is calling a “general election to seek people’s mandate on Abenomics. But the fact that the government was forced to postpone the scheduled consumption tax increase is proof of failure in its main policy agenda. The present situation should have forced Abe to resign, but he has announced the dissolution without cause. It was engineered simply for the survival of Abe himself as the prime minister.
The decision to increase the consumption tax rate to 10 percent should be scrapped definitely instead of being postponed so that the nation’s economy will be revitalized.
The present Japanese situation not only shows that Abenomics is failing but that the present economic policy that gives large corporations a preferential treatment does not help improve the Japanese economy. The urgent task now is to increase wages from the bottom, stabilize the job market, improve social security programs, and increase measures in support of small- and medium-sized businesses. These are steps that are necessary to shift the government economic policy to one of helping increase working families’ income and encourage people to spend more.
The Abe administration is accelerating its move toward turning Japan into a country that will wage war, through a Cabinet decision to allow the country to exercise the right of collective self defense, the construction of a new U.S. military base, and “education reform”. It is rushing to major adverse labor law reforms, including the introduction of a “zero overtime payment” system, a major adverse revision to the law on temporary agency workers, and the disintegration of social security programs. It is also rushing to turn Japan into a country that is easiest for international corporations to do business. It has been revealed that Abenomics involves the dangerous attempt to do anything that serve the large corporations’ desire to maximize their profits by increasing overseas sales of nuclear reactors and promoting casino business as part of the administration’s growth strategy.
The true colors of the Abe administration can be seen in its attempt to transform the nation into one of seeking to abandon the constitutional principles of lasting peace, renunciation of war as means of settling international disputes, people’s sovereignty, and respect for the fundamental human rights. The thing is that the workers’ and people’s livelihoods as well as local communities are targets of the administration’s total attack. In this sense, the upcoming election is a historic political battle that has bearings on the future of Japanese society and people’s lives.
Zenroren calls on all the electorate to exercise the right to vote to pass “No verdict” on the runaway administration led by Prime Minister Abe. It is the way to create a new political trend toward building new politics serving the best interest of the people. Standing firmly for the defense and the use of the Constitution, we are determined to take part in activities adequate to bring the historic general election to success.