Zenroren Statement on Prime Minister ABE Shinzo’s announcement of resignation
Secretary General, National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
August 28, 2020
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced on August 28 that he would resign. We strongly demand that his resignation will pave the way for making a shift without delay in national government policy to focus on the livelihoods of the working people in general. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is an urgent task, and there must not be stagnation in national politics. We demand that the government and the ruling parties move to immediately convene an Extraordinary Session of the Diet to discuss and implement policies to defend people’s livelihoods and lives.
Over the seven years and eight months since the second Abe Cabinet started in December 2012, the government has continued misadministration running counter to the Constitution by damaging peace, people’s living conditions and the economy, and forcing the working people to endure all sorts of sacrifice. For example, it has railroaded through the War Laws (national security legislation) and the state secrets law; the prime minister allegedly abused political power to serve his private interests in the questionable sale of national land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen, in the favoritism toward school operator Kake Gakuen, and in the prime minister’s “cherry blossom viewing party”. The government covered up, altered, or falsified information; and carried out adverse reforms of the social security programs and the labor laws.
So-called “Abenomics” has been but an economic policy that gives priority to profiting the large corporations and the wealthy. It only helped to widen the economic inequality and increase the poverty rate. Adverse reforms have been carried out in the pension system, healthcare, and the welfare programs. The consumption tax has been increased twice. These measures have undermined people’s livelihoods, discouraged people from spending money, and slowed down the local economies. The prime minister publicly denounced the labor laws as bedrock regulation and promised to drill a hole in them. Although his attempt to destroy the labor laws was thwarted by trade unions and opposition parties, the government has eased regulations to create national strategic special zones; adversely revised the law regulating temporary worker staffing agencies; adversely revised the immigration act (focusing on the Technical Intern Training Programs for foreign countries); destroyed work-time regulation under a system introduced for highly-skilled professionals; and encouraged people to have a side jobs or second job, work from home as freelancers that might not be regulated by the labor laws.
Prime Minister Abe has defied the public’s strong opposition to railroad through the War Laws (national security legislation) and attempted to adversely revise the Constitution and destroy constitutionalism. He has been criticized at home and internationally for glossing over Japan’s war of aggression and refusing to express remorse over what the country did during the war. We cannot tolerate his rejection of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and his subservience to the United States in constructing a new US military base in the Henoko district of Nago City, Okinawa, in defiance of people’s strong opposition. We urge the governing parties to give up revising the Constitution after Abe’s resignation.
There remain unresolved issues allegedly involving the prime minister and his Cabinet members, including the Moritomo Gakuen land-sale deal, and alleged favoritism toward Kake Gakuen; suspected abuse of tax money for the cherry blossom viewing party; and suspected corruption and bribe-taking in connection with a government bid to open casinos in Japan. One of these scandals forced an honest government worker to die. These issues must not be shelved. We demand that the government come clean on all the scandals.