The coalition government of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Komeito led by Premier Abe Shinzo involves in violent politics ‘to exert to military strength to defend gigantic multinational corporations and global market, a source of profits of the capitals’. Two rounds of local elections are held consecutively in April across the country. We are now in its second phase and have five days left for campaigning until the voting date.
LET’S WIN IN LOCAL ELECTIONS TO STOP VIOLENT POLITICS!
On April 12, the voting day of the first round of elections for prefectural assemblies, the New Socialist Party (NSP) maintained the existing seats and increased by one in the Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu. As for the elections of the designated cities, only one member, an incumbent local politician of Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, was defeated. In Osaka City the electorate will take part in a referendum in May and the current local elections mean to fight against a right-wing political party, the Osaka Ishin-no-Kai, which stages big campaigns to dissolve the city’s administrative system because of ‘its redundancy’. The NSP’s claim, however, could not defeat the Ishin-no-Kai’s moves to scrap it and build new municipal units.
United Efforts was Insufficient
Through the first round of local elections the NSP could confirm that people had severe criticisms against the Abe’s coalition government which implements the so-called Abenomics economy-boosting policies, gets ready to resume operations at nuclear power plants and rearranges the existing constitutional framework so that the nation could wage a war abroad. On the people’s side, however, well-organized efforts were absent to counter the national level politics. Election campaigns from the progressive side failed to have voters understand a fact that the 20-year-long structural reform policies had ruined local communities in a real term, not in a level of general discussions.
Voters want changes certainly, but are absorbed by the agitating propaganda of the Osaka-Ishin-no-Kai party and the LDP of Premier Abe. In other words, the electorate has not been given effective alternatives to remove the existing deadlock and to express their will in the elections.
Unable to Pay Premiums for Medical Insurance Service
The second round of local elections is to elect members of municipal assemblies, which is much closer to daily lives of the electorate. Let’s review what has bee lost by the structural reform politics and what will be robbed of us by them.
One theme is uneasiness in our life brought about by deteriorated employment. Right responses are required by the municipal authorities to cope with the uncertainties, for instance, nursery schools of children for working mothers. Many children wait for entry in a queue. Lately municipalities have given up responsibilities for public services; they outsource jobs to private sectors. Welfare and education services are held by part-time workers of the private sector, not by city workers. That brings poorer social services to residents, and public offices themsleves produce a large number of low-income, unstable workers.
Poverty prevails: more residents are unable to pay insurance premiums for the national health program. The very basis of full participation of people is eroded. Poverty, especially among childre
n, is serious. As for the elderly care program, insurance premiums are
heightened. Some municipalities plan to introduce a system in which residents
should owe 20% of services rendered, which is currently set as 10%. In
the near future the rates might rise to 20% or 30%. In addition, municipal
authorities plan to employ an identification code system of every citizen
to control administrative jobs.
Let’s Build Autonomy at Municipalities
The Abe government pushes through to build a new military base in Henoko, Okinawa, in spite of harsh objection of inhabitants. Why? It is because the administration knows well about the meaning of people’s refusal. They are against the policies of the Abe government: war-propelling steps to allow Japan to join US wars, the consumption tax rate hikes, deterioration of labor laws, TPP initiative and readiness to resume operation at nuclear power stations. The government wants to pile up a fait accompli.
Several years ago when the consumption tax was set as 3%, several municipal assemblies and authorities tried to prevent the tax from damaging residents’ livelihood. Some heads of prefectures dared to reject government’s plans of merger of municipalities.
Let’s build up a municipal assembly and authority to defend people’s life from harsh politics of the state. Let’s struggle hard during the election campaigns to win. Victory ? it is our duty.
April 21, 2015