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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 June 1 - 7  > 112 DPJ members in Lower House backed by TEPCO union
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2011 June 1 - 7 TOP3 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

112 DPJ members in Lower House backed by TEPCO union

June 5, 2011
Akahata Sunday edition

Out of 303 Democratic Party representatives in the Lower House, 112 got into the Diet with the support of a Tokyo Electric Power Co. labor union in the 2009 general election.

Akahata Sunday edition on June 5 reported that these lawmakers include Prime Minister Kan Naoto, Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio, and Economy Trade and Industry Minister Kaieda Ban’ri.

The TEPCO union has exerted its influence over the DPJ’s atomic-energy policy. For example, the party in 2005 regarded nuclear power generation as a temporary energy source but in 2007 changed its position to endorsing it as an energy source that the party must steadily promote.

The TEPCO union boasted that this policy change was a result of the union-backed DPJ politicians influencing fellow party representatives.

Money is another tool used by the union to manipulate the DPJ representatives. For the purpose of raising political funds, the union established a political league in 1976. Since then, it has generously distributed cash to union-endorsed politicians, previously of the Democratic Socialist Party and currently of the DPJ.

DPJ Fujiwara Masashi of the Upper House, who once headed the Kansai chapter of the Rengo-affiliated Federation of Electric Power Related Industry Worker’s Unions of Japan, received 36 million yen in political donations from the TEPCO union’s political league between 2007 and 2010. Former TEPCO executive Kobayashi Masao, also a DPJ representative in the Upper House, received league donations amounting to 46.5 million yen.

Fujiwara at an Upper House committee meeting on April 26 criticized his party-led government for “deceiving the media and the public by pointing the finger of blame at ‘TEPCO, the evil’” when the government admitted that TEPCO should bear primary responsibility for compensating victims for the damage caused by its Fukushima plant nuclear accident. He is now scheming to have the government not hold TEPCO responsible for due compensation by attributing “the present disaster to the earthquake and the tsunami.”

In the meantime, TEPCO executives have made an enormous amount of donations and given robust support to Liberal Democratic Party politicians. In the 1998 House of Councilors election, the TEPCO board succeeded in sending its Vice President Kano Tokio to the Diet.

Thus, TEPCO has tactfully used its board money and its union money to influence politics.

The TEPCO union held a general assembly after the March 11 accident to confirm that it “will enhance its partnerships” with DPJ lawmakers “in order to instill further understanding and acceptance” of nuclear power generation. The union also resolved that it “will support political parties, legislators, and candidates who have policies close to the union” in elections.
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