On the results of the 48th House of Representatives general election
Statement by HASHIGUCHI Norishio
Acting Secretary-General of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
October 23, 2017
The October 22 general election to choose representatives of the House of Representatives gave the ruling Liberal Democratic Party more than half of the seats contested. The ruling LDP-Komeito coalition secured a total of 310 out of 465 seats. That’s more than two-thirds of the House of Representatives. Prime Minister ABE Shinzo’s government will continue. If members of the Hope and Nippon Ishin parties, which are in favor of constitutional revision, including amending the war-renouncing Article 9, are added, the forces supporting the constitutional revision account for three fourths of the House of Representatives. The present danger is that their moves toward the constitutional revision may gain momentum in the Diet.
On the opposition side, the total number of seats won by three parties ? the Constitutional Democratic, Communist, and Social Democratic parties ? increased from the pre-election strength. These parties campaigned for the unconstitutional security laws (war laws) to be repealed and against adversely changing Article 9 of the Constitution. They pledged to work together to realize the Seven Requests from the Civil Alliance for Peace and Constitutionalism. Opposition parties and the citizens’ movement engaged in joint struggle in one way or another in 249 electoral districts across the country. This did produce results. Even in districts where LDP candidates were elected, such joint struggle proved to be the effective for paving the way for future successes. In this respect, those forces that turned their back on joint struggle to embrace only people who are in favor of constitutional revision committed a serious crime of dividing up joint struggle.
Taking this fact into account, we point out that the 217 seats obtained by the LDP in single-seat constituencies (75 percent of the single-seat constituency seats) are a fictitious majority that was only made possible under the single-seat constituency system. In no sense does this outcome mean that the general will of the people is one of supporting the Abe administration to continue. As vote counting went on, Prime Minister ABE Shinzo in an interview said he hopes that discussions on constitutional revision will focus on adding to the Constitution’s Article 9 a provision on the Self-Defense Forces. But it is hardly possible to argue that his plan got support in the latest general election.
Zenroren, determined to drive out the Abe administration in the House of Representatives general election, called for an electoral struggle to establish politics to stop the attempt to adversely revise the Constitution’s Article 9 and repeal the unconstitutional legislation, including the war laws, win a policy change to stop the so-called work-style reform and implement policies to protect jobs and workers’ livelihoods. We maintained the stance of developing an electoral struggle by linking it with the urgent demands for reducing the economic inequality and poverty. We also call for an effort to be a part of the effort to develop joint struggle between the citizens’ movement and opposition parties. From this perspective, the election results were far from being satisfactory.
Nonetheless, it has become clearer than ever through the general elections that our country is in the situation that calls for us to choose between democratic policies that defend the Constitution and constitutionalism and policies to turn Japan into a country that wages war and offers corporations the world’s best place to do business. The suspected abuse of power by Prime Minister Abe and his family member for their private purposes is still to be unsolved.
This is why the need now is for us to continue and even increase the movement to stop the runaway politics by Prime Minister Abe’s government. We will continue to develop the joint struggle setup between the citizens’ movement and opposition parties, which advanced in the course of the general election. We will quickly step up the nationwide civil action that has been launched against the Abe administration’s attempt to adversely amend Article 9 of the Constitution. We will do it to stop the undemocratic policies, even though the LDP and Komeito hold the fictitious majority of the Diet so that we can create as early as possible a situation in which we do not allow Article 9 to be gutted.
Let us bring to success the November 3 Action to Encircle the Diet and local actions organized across the nation at the initiative of Citizens’ Action against Abe’s Attempt to Adversely Amen Article 9 of the Constitution. We will make the day of action a first major counter-offensive together with the broad sections of people.