The newly built Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP) won to be the biggest opposition party in the last general election of October on behalf of expectation of civic forces across the nation. It has an important role in the course of political forces that respect the Constitution. The former Democratic Party= the Minshin, from which the CDP emerged, was split into four and their relations have been in disarray. In November, however, a path of the CDP begins to be seen.
SEND TO 2019 ELECTION OF UPPER HOUSE AS MAY AS CANDIDATES SUPPORTED JOINTLY BY OPPOSITION FORCES
Civic forces focus on the elections in 2019; one is for local assemblies in April and the other is for the House of Councilors in July. In this context the civic bodies carefully see developments of the Constitutional Democratic Party: how will they behave subjectively in terms of organization and policy? No party congress has yet been held. As far as Representative, Mr. Edano Yukio, is concerned, the party tries to respond sincerely to the hopes of civic forces.
Negative Legacies of Democratic Party
According to the Asahi Shinbun dated November 21, Mr. Edano said: ‘I have been unaware of a fact for the past 20 years that people do not want convenient groupings to alternate governments. People want good politics’. That is an interesting point as his words indicate ‘an end of the 1996 system’ in which a government change is designed in the framework of the small constituency election system.
The Minshin, as a wing of the two big parties, had sought for political groupings to become a government. But it was disintegrated just before the October election in which the Constitution was focused in the wake of Ms Koike’s new political organization. Mr. Edano may have reviewed seriously over the fatal mistake that his former party made.
In the Diet speeches the CDP argued the government’s proposal to alter the Article Nine by adding an Item three to specify the Self Defense Forces. It opposed to the series of laws to prepare for the nation’s belligerency. As for free education of young children, it demanded not to restrict or classify income levels of parents. It insisted on a policy to reduce the number of children waiting for a day care service as an urgent, preferential task, simultaneously requesting wage hikes for working staff in the nursery schools.
The Constitutional Democratic Party pledged to oppose a hike of the consumption tax during the election campaign. That implies the CDP demonstrated a counter-proposal to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which relies on revenue of the consumption tax to assure a free education policy for children, a convenient, populist measure. The CDP’s stance seems well-balanced as it relies on rules of universal cash payments to beneficiaries and official support of social institutions.
However, the CDP does not refer to concrete measures on struggles to overcome social inequality and poverty, which are consequences of neo-liberal policies, in their party program or the election manifesto. On the other hand, the Kibo-no-To (the Party of Hope) led by Ms Koike explicitly insists on the basic income policy and attempts to impose tax on the internal reserves of big business entities. In this context the CDP is behind the Kibo-no-To. The CDP should elaborate a clear, advanced policy package.
In the party program the CDP describes ‘enhancement of self defense military capabilities’, ‘intensification of the law on national security surrounding the archipelagoes of Japan’ and ‘consolidation of the US-Japan military alliance’. These are negative legacies of the former Democratic Party which do not convince people to agree to. These policies must be reconsidered so that they would not hinder civic movements against the government’s move to wage a war.
Encourage United, Civic Movements
Mr. Edano disagrees to a move in which the Minshin should join the Kibo in the proportional representation channel in the election of the Upper House. He expressed his idea ‘to call for local assembly members of the Minshin to belong to the CDP by the end of the year’. They still have the Minshin’s status, except for Aichi Prefecture. He seems that he will accept citizens who want to join the CDP and would-be candidates for the local elections though he has kept a reserved posture on the issues. A point is how the Minshin members of parliament in the House of Councilors will behave in coming months. The headquarters of the Rengo, the Japan Trade Union Confederation, demanded, reportedly, to evade a split between the Minshin members of local assemblies and the House of Councilors. A political party should rely on a basis of mass.
The New Socialist Party (NSP) works to organize mass movements together with the Social Democratic Party and the Greens in the community level to object nuclear power development, deregulation policies and poverty and inequality and to demand removal of US military bases from Okinawa. The NSP will prepare candidates supported jointly by broad opposition forces, including the Communist Party, for the election of House of Councilors. The CDP will soon commit in organizational works. Let’s organize mass movements to prevent the government’s move to amend the Constitution.
December 5, 2017