On the results of the 44th House of Representatives general election

Zenroren Secretary General
September 12, 2005

In the September 11 House of Representatives general election that followed the House of Councilors rejection of the postal privatization bills, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party won 296 seats (out of 480), and the ruling coalition made up of the LDP and the New Komeito Party now occupies more than a two-thirds majority. The Democratic Party of Japan, which sought to take power within the framework of a two-party system lost more than 60 seats. Meanwhile, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party maintained the status quo.

The LDP succeeded in establishing an absolute majority in the House of Representatives by putting forward the postal privatization scheme as the major issue and claiming that this election was a referendum for it. Its slogans such as "From the public sector to the private sector" and a "small government" were used to deflect public criticism and anger at the six years of the Liberal Democratic-Komei coalition government. The strategy to attack the opponents of the postal privatization scheme as anti-reform "forces clinging to the old regime" turned out to be successful.

Meanwhile, media reports focused on "a choice between two major parties" or between "Prime Minister Koizumi and the major opposition leader Okada" and diverted public attention to Koizumi's "assassination" of his opponents and what they called a "Koizumi theater." These reports greatly benefited the LDP. In addition, the undemocratic "winner-take-all" single-seat constituency system that ignores opinion of relative majority was to blame for the outcome.

With the Liberal Democratic and New Komeito parties winning a stable majority in both chambers of the Diet, we have to be prepared for another tense political situation as the ruling parties are pushing hard to railroad through bills to increase taxes on salaried workers, raise the consumption tax rate, further cut back on social services, including medical services, pensions and nursing care, and adversely revise the Constitution. In the Special Session of the Diet to be convened shortly, the postal privatization bills will be the biggest agenda item. We must remember that the general election did not give the LDP-New Komeito government of Prime Minister Koizumi a blank check for the next four years on all the other policies.

Zenroren called on workers to take part in activities, including publicity, dialogue and study, in their workplaces and communities to call for opposition to the adverse revision of the Constitution and a massive tax increase in order to achieving change in LDP politics which is at an impasse and make strides toward a Japan guided by the Constitution. Despite the short period of time for campaigning, many industrial and local unions carried out vigorous activities.

The "structural reform" agenda pursued by Prime Minister Koizumi and the LDP-New Komeito government will not only serve the interests of the United States and large corporations and force workers and the general public to endure more hardships, but also make it imperative to adversely revise the Constitution and increase taxes, thus inevitably making antagonisms with the general public sharper than ever.

Basing itself on the demand and struggle of workers and the general public, Zenroren will develop firm grassroots activities in places of work and communities by combining their own struggle with the broader movement in opposition to the Koizumi "structural reform" policy. We will particularly put emphasis on the struggle to stop the adverse constitutional revision, massive tax increases and further adverse revision of social services.