the recent Niigata
Prefecture’s gubernatorial election voted on October 16, Candidate Yoneyama Ryuichi
has won, which gives us a hope in politics in contrast to the miserable
outcome of the by-election held in the 10th electoral district of Tokyo
a week later. In the capital city united campaign of four opposition parties
analyze reasons why the opposition won in Niigata.
What lesson does it leave us in the rest of the country?
STATUS OF EACH PARTICIPANT IS KEY FOR VICTORY
rudiment to support Mr. Yoneyama has been born from the united actions in mass
movements against the war legislation and from election campaigns of the House
of Councilors last July. In the anti-war mass movement staged last year civic
organizations and political parties, including smaller ones like the
Seikatsu-no-to=People’s Life Party (now Liberal Party), the New Socialist Party
(NSP) and the Green Party, united with equal status in debates and actions, each
sharing responsibilities in the movement.
the House of Councilors election, six political parties, including the former Ishin-no-to
(Japan Innovation Party), recommended Candidate Mori Yuko in the Niigata electoral
district. The Democratic Party (DP) supported her. Efforts made by the
Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) and participation of the NSP and the Greens worked
as cushion to link the Rengo=Japan Trade Union Confederation (JTUC) and DP ally
with the Communist Party (CP).
for the nuclear energy issue, a focal point was not clearly raised due to the
agreement with the DP which bound the participating forces, but Ms Mori has
won. Her victory has led to one more victory in the gubernatorial election.
addition, in the Niigata City assembly election a jointly fielded candidate by
the DSP and the NSP has won in the Western District, obtaining votes in the
second position, and, in the Joetsu
City assembly election
held last April, an NSP candidate won in the top rank. The development has left
appreciation and trust of the NSP in the prefecture.
against Nuclear Energy Emphasized
the gubernatorial election MP Mori Yuko took initiative in the campaigns. The
five political parties which recommended Candidate Yoneyama and civic
organizations well united together to exert organizational power, though the DP
did not support him. Active civic campaigners say that the candidate could win
as the DP did not raise their nuclear energy policy in the frontline but
allowed free choice in balloting and that in this context they could emphasize
calls against the nuclear energy.
campaign office was headed by Mr. Morimoto and the board constituted of
representatives of civic organizations, the CP, the DSP, the NSP, the Seikatu
and the Greens. Each participant has financed in the campaign.
unity did not made of solely big political parties but one forged of various local
rudiments. It was an improvised entity. This factor, however, was absent in the
gubernatorial election in Tokyo.
Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in the prefecture is of the
world-largest class. Local people have deep-rooted experiences in struggles
against NPPs. They were successful in cancelling construction of a plant at a
municipality Maki 20 years ago. In Kashiwazaki
City the municipal
authority works in close collaboration with residents to cope with accidents, demanding
the electric power company to take appropriate and minute measures.
addition, almost 10 thousand people from Fukushima
Prefecture took refuge in Niigata Prefecture, fleeing the disaster, and at
present 3,200 people remain to reside. Inhabitants are well aware of sufferings
of the refugees and disagree to re-operation of the plant which is put under
suspension at the moment. This reality has led to voting in favor of Candidate
in a municipality hosting a power plant, voters favor a pro-nuclear energy
candidate, and thus, Mr. Yoneyama lost in the Kashiwazaki City.
But the vote count has ended with a slight difference against rival candidate,
in Tokyo’s 10th District
victory in Niigata
attributes to right focusing on nuclear power generation under the favorable
subjective conditions. Therefore it cannot be applied simply to the rest of the
country. The by-election held in Tokyo was far
from the practice in Niigata.
The DP refused recommendations from other political parties and did not have
the candidate be present in a rally organized by all opposition forces on the
later day of the election campaign. In Niigata Kuroiwa Takahiro, a DP lawmaker and
head of party’s prefectural organization, presented a letter of resignation on
account of his support of Mr. Yoneyama because ‘that had irritated relation
with the Rengo’.
regressive drift will be fostered in the DP/Rengo ally. If gets ruined alliance
of opposition political parties, situation will be further aggravated. Facing a
critical phase, we must build up political forces that could impede a negative
trend in a nationwide scale.