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Statement on the House of Representatives Election results

Secretary General
the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
November 2, 2021

The 49th House of Representatives election on October 31 turned out to be the first ever battle in which opposition parties jointly fought in cooperation with the citizens’ movement aiming to end the authoritarianism and neoliberal policies imposed in disregard of the Constitution by the nine years of the administration led by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and his successor Suga Yoshihide.

The LDP secured a solid majority of the House of Representative by winning 261 out of the 465 seats even though it lost seats of the party’s secretary general and other key officials, including Cabinet ministers.

Meanwhile, the candidates jointly put up by four opposition parties (The Constitutional Democratic Party, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and Reiwa Shinsengumi) on the whole were not very successful in terms of the number of seats won. But they won close races in a number of single-seat constituencies, obviously thanks to joint struggle. However, voter turnout in this election was the third lowest since the end of World War II. Voters critical of the LDP-Komeito coalition government turned to Nippon Ishin (Japan Inovation party), a supplementary force of the ruling bloc.

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) for the first time in an election called for throwing full-scale labor union support behind the opposition bloc in an election to choose government, based on what the joint struggle of the citizens’ movement and opposition parties have achieved over the last six years. Zenroren worked together with industrial/regional federations in requesting these opposition parties and their unified candidates to put up election policies that reflect the workers’ needs. It made every effort to demand improvement and expansion of the medical care and public health systems amid the coronavirus pandemic as part of the “Urgent action to save the lives,” by collecting more than 10,000 letters to Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide. It also organized a “Let’s go to the polls” campaign urging union members to cast their votes, issuing appeals in waves using the Twitter and other Social Network tools.

The common policy agenda, which was agreed upon against this background between the Civil Alliance for Peace and Democracy and the four opposition parties, was boiled down to six main agenda items with details in 20 items, including an increase in the minimum wage and an end to the government policy of reducing healthcare expenditure, which were in line with what Zenroren has demanded. At the same time, the common policy agenda included agreement on government that implements these policies. The campaign period was too short to let many people know the significance of this policy agenda. Zenroren will continue to push for these electoral promises to be implemented It will even make every effort to enrich the “common policy agenda” as well as the “joint struggle by the citizens’ movement and opposition parties.”

With the LDP-Komeito bloc and Nippon Ishin occupying more than two-thirds of the House of Representatives seats, they will likely intensify the move towards the adverse revision of the Constitution. The LDP is publicly pledging to get the Constitution revised. It is intent on further military buildup and a sharp increase in the military budget while pushing ahead with building a posture to strike enemy bases. We must take high caution against these dangerous LDP-Komeito moves and help develop our movement from workplaces and local communities in order to force the pro-constitutional revision forces to lose their majority in the July 2022 House of Councilors election. Otherwise, we cannot avoid later trouble.

We are strongly called upon to continue and strengthen our day-to-day grassroots activities from workplaces and local communities involving union members and local residents. We will do all we can to realize the demands that are embraced by many parties as part of their policy pledge: opposition to adverse revision of the Constitution, wage increase, the 1,500-yen minimum wage, a drastic strengthening of the medical and public health systems through more staffing. We also strive to organize the movement from workplaces and local communities while strengthening the organization of Zenroren toward political change that realizes the demands of the workers and the people in general.



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