Statement: The 20th House of Councillors election
12 July 2004
- The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has scored the biggest gains in the House of Councillors election yesterday winning 50 seats, more than those captured by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The LDP has won only 49 and has fallen short of its target of winning 51 seats (including one vacancy), in spite of its negative campaign against the DPJ without regard for appearances, as well as desperate support of its coalition partner, Komeito. This was a clear judgement of Japanese people on the Koizumi government, which has been irresponsible for addressing challenges of both domestic and foreign policies and only carrying out insincere, high-handed politics.
- The result of the election enabled the DPJ to remain the party with the largest amount of proportional representation votes which it had gained in last year's general election. It also scored significant gains in prefectural constituencies where two seat or more each were consented and won 9 seats in "one-seat" prefectural constituencies in which the DPJ had won no seat in the past two elections since its creation. Furthermore, DPJ candidates put up a better fight than they had been expected in LDP stronghold constituencies, even where the DPJ did not win a seat. The election has added further momentum toward a two-party system, in which the DPJ would compete with the LDP for power.
- Rengo fought with all its power backing up eight union-recommended candidates in proportional constituency blocs. All of them were successfully elected, which made possible to avenge defeat of three Rengo candidates in the last election. Based on the lesson in the last election that many of Rengo's members and their families voted to the party, special efforts were made to ensure that votes would be made to individual candidates. As a result, the total number of votes made to the 8 candidates amounted to 1.73 million which was slightly more that the one gained in the last election. In prefectural constituencies, Rengo backed up 49 candidates, including the 13 union-recommended, and contributed to DPJ's remarkable gains with local Rengos' devoted efforts.
- Fresh in voters minds as they headed to the polls of the House of Councillors election were three major issues: the contentious government pension reform plan; the decision to place the Self-Defence Forces contingent deployed to Iraq in a multinational force and Constitutional issues; and Koizumi reforms and business and employment conditions. The defeat of the LDP clearly showed people's dissatisfaction and anger with the LDP-led government. It is now a political responsibility to ensure that the Diet will soon have serious discussions again on these issues. Rengo will continue strengthening its efforts to realise its policy demands on social security, economic and employment policies towards improvement of lives of people, in particular of workers. We would like to show our deep appreciation to officers and members of Rengo's affiliates and local Rengos – both current and retired, as well as their families.