StatementFOn the opening of the 201st Ordinary Session of the Diet
--End Abe Cabinet which uses tax money for personal benefit and change politics to put people’s livelihoods first --
The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
January 21, 2020
The 201st Ordinary Session of the Diet convened on January 20. We demand that the 150-day session will focus on the issues that Prime Minister ABE Shinzo wants to evade, namely the “cherry blossom viewing party” scandal; suspected bribery involving casino operators bidding for projects in Japan; the sending of Self-Defense Force troops to the Middle East; a former Cabinet minister’s violation of the Public Offices Election Law, etc. We also demand that the consumption tax rate be lowered to five percent from the present 10 percent. In regard to the government budget bill, we demand a halt to an expansion of military expenditure in order to redirect the money to improve social services. We will never allow the Constitution to be adversely revised. We support an opposition parties’ joint bill to repeal the Casino law. We want the “Zero-nuclear power plant” bill, which has been carried over from the previous session of the Diet. We call for policies that ensure that everyone can live a humane life free of fears.
Although the extraordinary session of the Diet ended last autumn, opposition parties have joined jointly taken up the allegations against the Abe Cabinet. In order to stop any attempts to turn Japan into a lawless nation that disregards democracy, we continue to support the joint struggle by the opposition parties as we join forces to establish the truth about the allegations. The current session of the Diet provides us a golden opportunity to get rid of the Abe administration.
Since the consumption tax was raised in October, people’s living and small- and medium-sized businesses are facing even greater difficulties. Now is the time for government policies to move away from a policy centering on large corporations to one of caring for the working people as well as the general public, and for small- and medium-sized businesses. The task now is to strengthen joint struggle by opposition parties proposing policies based on the need to solve the uncertainties and hardships facing the workers and the general public in order to realize a society in which people can live in hope and plan their lives.
It is the 75th year since the end of World War II and is an important year for achieving international peace. On January 3, the United States killed the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, a brutal attack. As we entered 2020 amid a growing crisis that can lead to war, even though a danger of war escalation was checked by people’s calls for peace growing around the world, the danger of war in the Middle East is not gone. Under these circumstances, the government of Prime Minister Abe decided to send Self-Defense Force troops to the Middle East without holding parliamentary discussion on the matter. We demand that the government immediately stop the deployment. The Abe administration, which are unable to criticize the US for taking brutal actions, is sticking to Constitutional revision. But people’s opposition to constitutional revision under the government of Prime Minister Abe is increasing day after day. We will never allow a process of Prime Minister Abe-led constitutional revision to be initiated. We will increase the new signature collection campaign against the constitutional revision. We will stop the Liberal Democratic Party’s draft from being submitted to the Commission on the Constitution of the House of Representatives. We will also continue to fight to repeal the “War Laws” by further expanding the joint struggle by the citizens’ movement and opposition parties in parliamentary and extra-parliamentary efforts to force the Abe administration out.
Zenroren will work hard with the 2020 People’s Spring Struggle, which calls for a substantial wage increase, the establishment of a national minimum wage system, the realization of equal treatment of all workers, and the lowering of the consumption tax rate to five percent and which opposes Abe-led constitutional revision that guts the war-renouncing Article 9 and cutbacks in social services. Linking these struggles to parliamentary struggles and further broadening joint efforts we will make every effort to develop a movement to expose corruption scandals and open doors to a bright future.