Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Start of a new struggle – Opposition alliance worked

At an Upper House (House of Councilors) election held on July 10, 2016, the major party coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito won the majority of the contested seats, and the number of lawmakers who agree to the revision of Japan’s Peace Constitution exceeded two thirds of the upper house. An initiative for the constitutional revision needs at least two thirds of members of both parliaments (lower and upper houses). Japan’s Prime Minister Abe advocated the constitutional revision at the beginning of this year, but he never referred to it during the recent election campaign for fear of losing seats in the upper house. The major party coalition will strengthen their move toward the constitutional revision, but still many twists and turns are expected about the issue. On the other hand, the opposition alliance did not succeed in stopping the pro-revision members of the upper house from securing two thirds. But still they won eleven among thirty-two one-representation constituencies. Without the alliance between the opposition parties that are against the constitutional revision, the election result would be even more devastating. The opposition alliance has been supported by the grassroots movement that has become stronger and stronger, especially the participation of many youths in the election campaign. Abe won the election by hiding the main issues, such as the possible constitutional revision, but candidates from the opposition alliance won in constituencies that have such clear issues as US bases, nuclear power plants and the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). (WATANABE Hidekiyo)
* Photo: Tokyo Shimbun reporting the result of the upper house election


7月10日投開票の参院選で、自民・公明が改選過半数を超え、改憲勢力も3分の2 を超えることになりました。しかし、安倍首相は、年頭から「改憲」と声高に叫 んでいましたが、選挙では封印しました。「改憲」を前面に出すことは不利と考 えたからです。したがって、今後改憲に向けての動きは強まるでしょうが、曲折 も予想されます。一方、野党共闘の勢力は伸び悩みました。しかし、1人区にお いてはそれなりの成果(32選挙中11選挙区で勝利)を上げました。もし、野党共 闘が無ければ、さらに壊滅的な結果となったでしょう。 その最大の力になった のは、昨年以来の市民運動の盛り上がりであり、とくにシールズらの青年の選挙 運動への参加であったと思います。また、安倍首相は不利な争点を隠して今回の 選挙で勝利しましたが、沖縄・福島・山形など、基地・原発・TPPなどの争点 がはっきりした選挙区では、野党統一候補が勝利しました。(渡部秀清)

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