August 30, 2011
In the capital cities of the two disaster-stricken prefectures, Iwate and Miyagi, all Japanese Communist Party candidates won seats in local assembly elections on August 28, which had been postponed due to the massive earthquake.
In Sendai City, Miyagi, the JCP achieved 7 victories, one up from the previous election, including a 26-year-old candidate.
During the election campaign the JCP representatives demanded that the restoration of residents’ welfare and living conditions be achieved above all else in post-disaster reconstruction work and called for an end to nuclear power generation.
Since the March 11 disaster, they made representations to the city office 15 times, calling for the introduction or improvement of 161 items they listed based on disaster victims’ needs.
Pushed by the JCP, the municipal office measured radiation levels at 750 locations in the city as well as improved its subsidy programs for houses in need of repair due to the quake.
Looking at the post-disaster efforts made by the JCP members, even some conservatives, including a former city assembly member, expressed their support of the party’s candidates.
A twenty-three year old man, whose house was completely destroyed by the tsunami, said, “JCP members have volunteered to scoop out mud and remove debris. I had never had a chance to know about their activities, but finally realized that they are the ones who stand by the weak.”
Following the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties, the JCP became the third-largest party in the Sendai City Assembly. It is tied with the Democratic Party of Japan, which saw its seats reduced by two.
In Iwate’s Morioka City, all five incumbents of the JCP secured their seats. The party’s share of the local assembly seats became the highest ever, 13.15%, up 1.25 points from the previous election four years ago.
The five candidates stressed the need to take every possible municipal measure to protect residents from radiation contamination as well as to put an end to nuclear power generation. The JCP was the only party that called for these items in the election.
The JCP representatives also proposed that the city office use the 7.2 billion yen it had saved to meet residents’ demands, such as completing quake-resistance renovation of elementary and junior high school buildings, reducing national health insurance premiums by 20,000 yen per household, and providing free medical treatment for children aged 12 and younger.