Cracks appear in Rengo-DPJ close relationship

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) is raising a tone of criticism toward the Koizumi Cabinet. But the Democratic Party of Japan, an opposition party which Rengo endorses, is not.

DPJ leaders openly support the "reforms" which the Koizumi Cabinet wants to carry out at the cost of the working people; they say that the DPJ could carry out the "reforms" faster than the LDP government.

Rengo says that the Koizumi Cabinet's "structural reform" plan will force competitiveness and cost-effectiveness to dominate the medical, nursing care, and welfare systems. Such a "reform" will be tantamount to bullying the weak.

The Koizumi Cabinet's policy of accelerating the "write-off of bad loans" is said to push up the unemployment rate to five percent or higher.

"The Koizumi Cabinet is telling the workers to die." Rengo is calling for the overthrow of the Liberal Democratic-Komei-Conservative coalition government.

Under a policy agreement with the DPJ, Rengo has forced its members to support the party and its candidates in the House of Councilors election. But the DPJ is now urging the Koizumi Cabinet to take more drastic measures to dispose of bad loans, although it will mean increasing bankruptcies of small- and medium-sized businesses and increasing unemployment.

On the privatization of postal services, which Prime Minister Koizumi stresses as the centerpiece of his "reform" plan, two Rengo-affiliated industrial union federations, the Japan Postal Workers' Union and the All Japan Postal Labor Union, are expressing opposition, but DPJ President Hatoyama Yukio favors the privatization policy, stating, "On this there is no difference between Prime Minister Koizumi's idea and my position."

All this makes Rengo union members uneasy and the gap between Rengo's expectations and the DPJ's activity is undermining the Rengo-DPJ ties.

An executive of a Rengo-affiliate industrial federation said, "It is time for Rengo to quit supporting a particular party and forcing Rengo-affiliated union members to vote for the DPJ." (end)