KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary
Statement on the 164th Diet Session Closing
19 June 2006
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
- The 164th ordinary Diet Session, the last for Prime Minister Koizumi, ended its 150-day session (from January 20th to June 18th) when it adjourned yesterday.
- The ruling parties counted the 164th session as being an "Administrative Reform Diet session" and enacted five government-proposed administrative reform related bills in the session. Due to the efforts of the Democratic Party of Japan, some issues that RENGO sought were appended in a supplementary resolution and included: maintaining and improving public services, issues relating to the treatment of public service workers which will likely emerge after implementation of market testing. However, the deliberations stopped short of explicitly illustrating ideal public services should look like. The ruling coalition parties passed without any revision a new fiscal year national budget plan with a tax increase that includes a total repeal of the fixed-rate tax cut. Moreover, they let the "Medical Care System Reform related bills" which will adversely influence the lives of citizens with increased burdens to be rammed through without sufficient discussion or revision. The handling of the Diet proceedings was extremely problematic and highly regrettable from RENGO’s point of view which seeks "safe and fair society" as well as to curb "increases in burdens/decreases in provisions," which is a grave concern.
Further, while it was regrettable that RENGO’s demands to revise the Equal Employment Opportunity Law bill were not achieved, at least some progress was made in that the supplementary resolution clearly stated that a review would be conducted five years after the law was enacted, and it also mentioned indirect discrimination. RENGO strongly protests that the DPJ-proposed bill to ensure equal treatment for part-time workers was not carried over to the next session due to opposition by the ruling parties.
- The 164th Diet session adjourned leaving numerous matters pending such as a bill to revise the Fundamental Law of Education, a national referendum bill for amending the Japanese Constitution, a Social Insurance Agency reform related bill, and an anti-organized crime law amendment which newly defines crimes of conspiracy. These important matters were postponed until the next Diet session in the highly unusual manner of Prime Minister Koizumi stating simply that "the session will not be extended." We must once again point out his responsibility for the great disappointment people felt over his administration’s handling of a government that is indifferent to the opinions of the voters; brandishes market-economy-supremacy and self-responsibility-principles, imposes only pain on the nation under the catchy word 'reform,' as well as in his obviously listless and lackluster handling of this Diet session.
- In September, presidential elections for the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan will be held and will influence the future control of the government. Furthermore, there will be significant increases in election activities from now until the House of Representatives by-elections in October, the unified local elections next April, and the House of Councilors election next July. To establish "safe and fair society" and curb "the era of increase in burdens/ decrease in provisions" RENGO will continue to fortify its activities at the Diet and at the same time realizes that it must win in those elections so as not to fail to blaze the way for a change of administration. RENGO will use the full might of its organization to develop activities organization-wide that will achieve this goal.