Statement On Starting of PM Sugafs Cabinet
By Kurosawa Koichi, Secretary General
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
September 17, 2020
Newly elected Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide formed a Cabinet on September 16, after Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s Cabinet resigned en masse. PM Abe ended his tenure of 7 years and 8 months. On the same day, the new Cabinet approved its basic policy pledging to “continue the Abe administration’s policies.” Suga has been working in support of the Abe administration, which has strongly militated against people’s interest by pushing ahead with the policy of turning Japan into a country that wages war, a consumption tax increase, a series of adverse reforms of social services, and the so-called work style reform that destroys jobs, and involvement in a number of political corruption cases. The new administration shows no remorse about the Abe administration’s misgovernment and was forced to give up power as a result of declining public support because it endangered people’s lives and livelihoods amid the coronavirus pandemic. Continuing the Abe administration policies means continuing the undemocratic administration.
The basic policy states that the government is aiming to create a society that is based on “self-help, mutual help, and public help, plus social bonds.” Putting “self-help and mutual help” before “public help” is tantamount to forcing the workers and the general public to accept the principle of self-responsibility and to declaring that it abdicates its responsibility. The large corporations are amassing huge amounts of internal reserves even in the midst of the pandemic. Meanwhile, employers are firing or unilaterally terminating contracts with more contingent workers. The Suga Cabinet stresses the need to ease regulation. It also says it will work “at the service of the people.” But what we want is a substantial wage increase that ensures that people can live a decent life if they work eight hours a day; stricter working time regulations; the limited use of contingent workers; and improvements in the pension system and other social services. As clear from what we are experiencing in the COVID-19 pandemic and in various large-scale natural disasters, the rebuilding of the public support systems is an urgent task. It is necessary to take steps as soon as possible to increase so-called essential workers and improve their treatment, in the public sector as well as various services, such as healthcare, nursing care, childcare and education.
It is very serious that Prime Minister Suga makes clear that his administration will continue the attempt to adversely revise the Constitution, the argument for the need to maintain Japan’s capability to attack the enemy bases, and the determination to go ahead with the construction of a new US Marine Corps base in the Henoko district of Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture.
A public opinion survey conducted on September 8-9 by Kyodo News shows that 58.9 percent of the respondents said Abenomics should be re-examined and that 57.9 percent said there is no need for the new administration to take over the undertaking of constitutional revision. So, a majority of the Japanese people does not want “Abe politics” to be continued. We demand that the Suga Cabinet give up its attempt to revise the Constitution and let the Constitution guide in politics.
Zenroren will make an all-out effort to take up workers’ demands and help further develop the movement to defend employment, workers’ lives and livelihoods, and local communities.
Zenroren joined the protest action in front of the Diet Building on September 16