Japan: Mass Rally for Jobs, Ending Poverty, Defense of the Constitution


11-08-07, 9:41 am

In opposition to the anti-terrorism special measures bill, constitutional revision, and consumption tax hikes, a rally was held on October 28 in Tokyo, in which some 42,000 workers and citizens took part from across the country.

On behalf of the rally organizers, Ban’nai Mitsuo, National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) president, called on the participants to wage joint struggles from the grassroots level that can change the national politics.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in his speech pointed out that the indignation of the public is rising over questions, including the distortion in history textbooks of the civilians’ forced “mass suicides” during the Battle of Okinawa in WWII and the adverse revision of the medical system for the elderly. “The government is compelled to make some adjustments,” Shii said.

At the same time, Shii stressed that to truly satisfy public demands, the framework of the Liberal Democratic Party policy must be dismantled. Criticizing the government and ruling circles for using the cost of social welfare programs as a pretext for consumption tax hikes, Shii demanded an end to the excessive tax cuts benefiting large corporations and the wealthy as well as an imposition of deep cuts in military spending.

Concerning the new anti-terrorism special measures bill under discussion in the Diet, Shii stressed that the war of retaliation has obviously failed to eradicate terrorism and that the Maritime Self-Defense Force operations in the Indian Ocean goes against the Constitution.

“The JCP is determined to make utmost efforts by joining forces with the struggles of the public in various fields in order to cope with burning issues such as the prevention of the SDF overseas deployment and to fundamentally change the political framework.”

Yuasa Makoto, secretary general of the nonprofit organization MOYAI (Independent Life Support Center), in his greetings pointed out that more than 50 persons starve to death every year in Japan and criticized the Welfare Ministry for disclaiming the state responsibility by considering lowering the standards for livelihood protection.

Based on his own experience in Afghanistan, Japan International Volunteer Center Secretary General Shimizu Toshihiro pointed out that with the MSDF refueling operation in the Indian Ocean, Japan is regarded in the area as one of the parties involved in the conflict. He demanded that the Diet reject the anti-terrorism special measures bill, that Japan get out of the conflict, and that the nation, using Article 9, take initiatives for the peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Miyagi Tadashi, Okinawa Prefectural Teachers and Staff Union vice chair, stated that all his aunt’s family members were forced to die in “mass suicides” during the Battle of Okinawa. He expressed his determination to continue to fight until the Education Ministry retracts its controversial decision.

A message in solidarity from Social Democratic Party Chair Fukushima Mizuho was read out. The participants marched in demonstration after the rally.

From Akahata