KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary

KOGA says!
Statement at the Close of 166th Ordinary Session of the Diet

05 July 2007
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
The 166th Ordinary Session of the Diet was closed today ending the schedule of 162 days including extended days.

In the Ordinary Session, the ruling parties repeatedly forced to take votes on many important bills like those on Draft Government Budget for 2007 and on National Referendum and the three bills related to Educational Reform. Forced voting was also taken on the bill related to a regulation of the so-called “descent from heaven” (practice to appoint retiring high-ranking Government officials to lucrative posts in private corporations), which was used as an excuse to extend the session period by the Government. Another forced voting was taken on the bill related to Social Insurance Agency Reform without any thorough survey on “disappeared pension records” or without clarifying where the responsibility of the disappearances lies.

Without any sufficient deliberation on the important bills which would deeply affect people’s livelihood, the Abe Government repeatedly passed the bills by forcing to take votes, in order to pretend that the Abe Cabinet have brought fruitful results, in prospect of the election of the House of Councilors. In this context, the responsibility of the Abe Government is very heavy and his high-handed management of the operations of the Diet has certainly staggered the basis of parliamentary democracy.

The 166 Session of the Diet was called, at the outset, “a labor-related session”, because many labor-related bills had been prepared for the session. However, in the final stage, the issues of “politics and money” which involved a suicide of a minister and of “disappeared pension records” became main points in dispute.

In the labor-related laws, Employment Insurance Law, Employment Measures Law and Part-Time Work Law have been revised, but the bills on Minimum Wage law, Labor Standards Law and Labor Contract Law have been carried over to the next session for the reason that more deliberations on them are needed. It is a great regret, in particular, that the deliberation on revision of Minimum Wage law has been carried over due to party interests or party policy of the ruling parties as well as of the opposition parties, failing to respond quickly to the hope of the low income working people who are earnestly expecting for a substantial raise of minimum wages. We are to strongly hope that the bill on the revision of the Minimum Wage Law is passed at the coming extraordinary session of the Diet.

Besides, the speech made by Minister of Defense Mr. Kyuma at the time of the closing stage of the Diet session to accept and justify the droppings of atomic bombs should be criticized. That is because it disregarded feelings of those victimized people who are still suffering from the effects of the atomic bombs and also denied our wish for elimination of nuclear weapons. We, as the nation victimized by the atomic bombs, strongly wish for the elimination of them. This issue is more than a matter of the Minister’s resignation and should pose a question on accountability of his appointment by Prime Minister Mr. Abe.

The Diet session was closed. However, due to Abe’s administration which disregards for people’s voice, people’s livelihood is compelled to bear more burdens and people’s anxiety about their future is getting more serious.

In such a situation, the coming election of the members of the House of Councilors, which is schedule to be held on Sunday 29th July, 2007, is a big chance to stop the Abe Coalition Government which neglects parliamentary democracy in an authoritative manner. In a democratic society, there is no other way for us but casting a vote in the election to show our will. JTUC-RENGO will do its best with all its organizational power to realize a reversion of ruling and opposition parties in the Diet by all means in expectation for a change of political power.