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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 October 4 - 10  > Joint opposition candidates across Japan enter election campaigns to bring down Abe gov’t
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2017 October 4 - 10 TOP3 [POLITICS]
editorial 

Joint opposition candidates across Japan enter election campaigns to bring down Abe gov’t

October 10, 2017
Akahata editorial

The campaign for the general election officially kicked off today. The election was called after Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in late September dissolved the House of Representatives at the very beginning of the extraordinary session of the Diet. In June, the Japanese Communist Party and other opposition parties jointly requested the Abe government to hold an extraordinary Diet session based on Article 53 of the Constitution. PM Abe shelved the request for three months and then decided on the dissolution of the Diet before holding any deliberations. This decision is obviously aimed at preventing Diet discussions on scandals involving Abe and the school corporations “Moritomo” and “Kake”.

For nearly five years up until the reckless dissolution, PM Abe undermined constitutional principles, disregarded public opinion, and used his power for his own interest. The need now is to oust Abe from office through the election. Together with opposition parties and concerned citizens who oppose the war laws and Abe’s move to revise Article 9 of the Constitution, the JCP will do its utmost to bring about a victory of the opposition parties-citizens alliance.

Confrontation between LDP plus its allies and opposition parties/citizens alliance

Before the start of the election campaign, parties published their election platforms. Party leaders attended pre-election debates over the weekend. The main issues and the political landscape in the election are becoming clear.

The general public are casting a critical eye at PM Abe who allegedly helped the private school corporation “Moritomo Gakuen” purchase land from the national government at an unreasonably low price and also favored his close friend who runs the school corporation “Kake Gakuen” in establishing a new veterinary school. However, Abe avoided mentioning the scandals in pre-election street speeches. He asserted in the debates held in the runup to the election that he had already provided sufficient explanations on the scandals to the public. When Abe dissolved the Lower House, he explained that in the general election, he will seek to gain public understanding of his policies on how to use the tax revenues from the planned consumption tax hike and how to deal with the North Korea’s nuclear and missile crisis. However, contrary to this explanation, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party in its election platform proclaims the need to revise the Constitution, including Article 9.

As Abe accelerates his move to undermine the position of pacifism established in the Constitution, the ruling coalition’s supplementary forces, namely the Nippon Ishin no Kai and Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko’s Hope Party, are also intensifying their attack on Article 9. Governor Koike in a recent press conference stated that the party basically agrees with Abe concerning security policies. This remark has again reaffirmed that these two parties are on the same team.

Standing up against the policies of the Abe government, a broad range of people and opposition parties which include the JCP are working together across the country. Cooperation among the JCP, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, and the Social Democratic Party has also begun increasing. The general election is virtually a one-on-one battle between “the LDP/Komei/complementary forces” and the “citizens/opposition parties coalition”.

Struggling to distinguish themselves from Abe, the HP and the Ishin no Kai began calling for a temporary “freeze” on the planned increase in the consumption tax rate to 10% in October 2019. However, this “freeze” will come along with cuts in the number of Diet seats under the guise of “putting lawmakers themselves on the line”, reducing people’s access to national politics. Therefore, their precondition could lead to the weakening if not the destruction of Japan’s democracy.

On one hand, the HP says it will seek a “nuclear zero” society, on the other hand, it accepts the restart of nuclear power stations approved by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. The HP also allows the resumption of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant (Niigata Pref.) operated by TEPCO, the very utility responsible for the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011. Like this, the party defies Fukushima nuclear meltdown victims and residents of NPP-hosting prefectures hoping for a nuclear-free Japan. In the election, it is necessary to deal a crushing blow to not only the ruling LDP and Komei but also to such a supplementary party.

Concerned citizens and opposition parties unite

Pro-constitution opposition parties and concerned citizens stand firm in defense of constitutionalism. They share opposition to constitutional revision, in particular, any Article 9 amendment. They aim to repeal the state secrecy, security-related, and anti-conspiracy laws. They also agree on efforts to establish a zero-nuclear power Japan and thoroughly investigate the “Moritomo” and “Kake” allegations. The JCP pledges to cancel the consumption tax hike, work to eradicate social inequalities, and implement an economic policy to improve the household economy.

The coming Lower House race is a chance to replace the Abe regime. A victory of the citizens/opposition parties joint struggle and a JCP advance will ensure the way toward a new, more democratic Japan.
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