must cancel the Tokyo Games and put all its energy into anti-coronavirus measures \
On the close of the 204th Ordinary Session of the Diet
the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
June 16, 2021
The204th Ordinary Session of the Diet closed on June 16 after the government of Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide rejected the call of opposition parties and many people for the session to be extended to discuss more on increasing the anti-coronavirus measures. The call for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to be canceled or postponed is growing day after day among the public as well as in media reports both at home and internationally. Experts are warning that the fifth wave of the of coronavirus infections is inevitable. But the government is rushing to hold the Tokyo Games. The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) strongly protests against the Suga government’s policy of putting the Tokyo Games first rather than ensuring the safety and security of the people.
The Suga government has attempted to take advantage of the pandemic to move forward to revise the Constitution in disregard of the suffering many people are experiencing amid the coronavirus pandemic. It forced the enactment of a bill to revise the national referendum act, which is linked to constitutional revision. The Diet enacted a bill to reduce hospital beds using consumption tax revenue to help those hospitals that have cut their beds. It enacted a bill to increase the patient share of medical costs from 10 percent to 20 percent for people aged 75 and older. It enacted “digital transformation”-related bills by buying over some opposition parties, which allow surveillance of the public and involve personal data leak danger. It also forced the enactment of a bill to restrict land use toward the end of the ordinary session, which could restrict the right to privacy and put residents under surveillance. Meanwhile, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party decided not to submit an LGBT bill to the current session of the Diet. This goes against a global trend of respect for diversity and the elimination of discrimination.
At a time when the country’s healthcare system is at a breaking point and many people are concerned about their health and living amid the coronavirus pandemic, the government has totally ignored the voices of opposition parties and the public calling for careful deliberations of the bills and got a series of bad bills enacted instead of concentrating on anti-coronavirus measures.
While the ruling parties are rushing to get the bad bills enacted by force of numbers, Zenroren has been fighting to help joint struggle by the citizens movement and opposition parties block those bad legislative measures. During the ordinary session of the Diet, we repeatedly lobbied the government and the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and won a series of coronavirus-relief measures -- even though they are not necessarily sufficient-including helping hospitals make up for financial losses, special payments of monetary benefits, the extension of subsidy for businesses to keep their workers on the payroll, the payment of benefit to help companies continue business, and monetary support to contingent workers who are out of work due to business closures. Opposition parties have jointly submitted 10 anti-coronavirus bills.
On the issues of political corruption involving money, opposition parties’ unified candidates won in three important Diet elections, dealing a heavy blow to the Suga government. The people’s campaign that grew following the death of a Sri Lankan woman while being detained for overstay drove the government to give up an inhumane bill to adversely revise the immigration law.
Zenroren protests against the Suga government’s attempt to increase the moves to enact bad laws and to even adversely revise the Constitution using the coronavirus epidemic is making people suffer as the pretext.
We reiterate our strong demand that the Tokyo Games be canceled. We urge the government to put all its energy into coronavirus prevention, give priority to protecting people’s lives and living, and devote every effort to remove people’s concerns by providing adequate coronavirus relief measures, including sufficient compensation.
Zenroren will strive to help increase an emergency action for people’s safety, continue to make every effort to advance the demands in the summer struggle to achieve a uniform national minimum wage at 1,500 yen per hour and a wage increase for public service workers, by stressing the need for wage increase from the bottom up, because we are in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, we will fight to pass severe judgment on the coalition government of the Liberal Democratic and Komeito parties in the upcoming Tokyo metropolitan assembly election and the House of Representatives election. We express our determination to do all we can to help the joint struggle between the citizens’ movement and opposition parties achieve a political change to put people’s lives and livelihood before anything else and let the Constitution guide politics.