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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 July 11 - 17  > Party heads fail to speak of poverty or constitutional revision
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2007 July 11 - 17 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Party heads fail to speak of poverty or constitutional revision

July 13, 2007
Prime Minister Abe fails to take into account public demands and offer policies to deal with them. Instead, he is adopting a high-handed attitude of simply demanding public “understanding” of his policies.

When the House of Councilors election campaign officially started on July 12, heads of not only the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties but the opposition Democratic Party in their kick-off speeches avoided speaking of issues of public concern.


Prime Minister and LDP President Abe Shinzo spoke of his accomplishments of forcibly enacting bills to revise the Fundamental Law of Education, upgrade the Defense Agency to the ministry level, and set procedures for constitutional revision.

Concerning the pension mismanagement issue, he just said, “My cabinet will sort out the entire problem.” Abe even described the Social Insurance Agency’s dissolution as part of his policy of “breaking away from the postwar regime” despite the fact that it amounts to evading government responsibility for the pension management fiasco.

At a time when increasing poverty and social gaps have become a major social problem, Abe avoided touching on the problem of increasing social gaps. He proudly mentioned economic recovery as indicated by large corporations’ unprecedented profits made through expanding non-regular employment.

Pressing the public to choose between “reform and regress,” Abe said, “I will further accelerate economic growth and distribute the fruits of reform to you.” He believes that it is enough for the public to receive only a small portion of large corporations’ profits.

Abe fails to take an attitude suitable for a governing party to take into account public demands, consider ways to satisfy them, and offer policies to deal with them. Instead, he is adopting a high-handed attitude of simply demanding public “understanding” of his policies.

Komei Party

Komei Party Chief Representative Ota Akihiro desperately tried to dispel the public anxiety over the pension mismanagement, insisting, “Now we are confident that the unidentified pension records problem will be solved.”

Possibly because of the public criticism against the Komei Party that took the initiative in increasing taxes, Ota avoided taking up the question of worsening living conditions. He spoke of neither social gaps nor employment issues.


DPJ President Ozawa Ichiro did not touch on the dissolution of the Social Insurance Agency although his party calls for it in its election manifesto.

Ozawa said, “Is it OK to leave the present government policies of abandoning the disadvantaged people and regions as it is?” However, he spoke nothing of the causes of poverty and social gaps. This is because the DPJ has supported adverse government policies such as enacting laws to deregulate temporary labor and adversely revise nursing-care services, the major cause of increasing poverty and social disparities.

Despite his call for a new constitution as his primary election promise, Abe avoided touching on this issue as did Ota and Ozawa because they all are pushing ahead with plans for constitutional revision.

What has become clear from these speeches is that “whether the JCP can make advance” is the focal point of this House of Councilors election, not “the choice between LDP and DPJ,” as JCP Chair Shii Kazuo said.
- Akahata, July 13, 2007
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