2nd Quarterly, 2005 No.136

To Face up the Reality of Election Results,and Rebuild a Struggle for "Peace and Human Rights"

from the Editorial "Our Opinions" of Buraku Liberation News Oct. 3 Issue

The September 11 election ended with an overwhelming victory for the Koizumi-led Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the devastating defeat of the Democratic Party. The ruling coalition acquired 327 seats (296 for the LDP and 31 for the New Komeito Party) to occupy more than two thirds of the House of Representatives as a "giant ruling party." This means that all parliament bills, including the constitutional revision initiative, will be at disposal of the ruling coalition, thus endangering the politics of Japan.

Only 72 (47%) of the 154 BLL-recommended candidates (mainly from the Democratic Party) were elected. Ryu Matsumoto, the BLL Vice President and BLL-recommended candidate, won 99,939 votes (a 7,000 vote gain from the previous election) to be elected for his 6th term of the office in the "liberation seat." However, despite Osamu Nakagawa improving his vote total from the previous election by 3,500 to win 93,402 votes, he was not elected. Other candidates, mostly from the Democratic Party, who have long been associated with the BLL also failed to be elected.

Reflecting on the results of the election, we have made the following analysis:

  1. It is a fact that there has been a "sense of stagnation, anxiety and frustration" among constituencies that has facilitated distrust in politics. The cause of this distrust is Koizumi politics, which has been stuck in economic stagnation, administrative and financial reforms, judicial reforms, social security problems and diplomatic issues.
  2. In spite of the prevailing negative atmosphere, Prime Minister Koizumi caused an outrage by dissolving the House of Representatives and holding a general election with postal reform as a sole election issue. Attempting to cover up his political failures, he urged the public with statements such as, "Don't stop the trend of reform," "Yes or no to postal privatization," and "We are sending assassins to unseat our opponents," creating a false impression of "reform, decisiveness and bold initiatives."
  3. The opposition parties are also at fault since they failed to take political initiative to change the administration. Sitting on the sidelines, simply viewing the dissolution and election as LDP infighting, they were one step behind in coming up with hard-edged counterproposals. They allowed themselves to be labeled by Koizumi as "old-guard lawmakers standing in the way of reform," and played second fiddle to the "Koizumi theater."
  4. The suddenness of the election resulted in it becoming largely a media campaign. The majority of the media simply followed Koizumi's dramatization of the election by his sending of assassins to unseat opposition members of the LDP. Nobody in the media dealt with the question of the rights and wrongs of the dissolution of the House of Representatives or the political agendas of the election. It therefore worked out in Koizumi's favor.
  5. The election's dramatization increased people's interest in it, resulting in a voting rate of 67.24%, an increase of 7.38 points from the previous election. The improvement of the voting rate can be attributed mostly to the turnout of young unaffiliated voters. It has been assumed that many of them voted for Koizumi and the LDP.

Examining the state of affairs surrounding the election, a potentially dangerous period can be seen emerging. The many parallels between today's situation and that in pre-war Japan raise fears we may once again be on the path to war. We must never allow this part of our history to be repeated. To ensure this, the Buraku liberation movement must undertake:

  1. To re-establish concrete efforts at the local level towards establishing a human rights nation, and confront the Koizumi lines towards war and abandonment of the weak.
  2. To restart the campaign calling for the early enactment of a Law to Remedy Human Rights Violations.
  3. To expand and strengthen the structure of the joint-struggle for peace and human rights at the local and national levels, while effectively using the media.

With the emergence of a giant ruling party supporting the Koizumi administration, the peace and human rights we have natured over 60 post-war years is in grave danger. However, it is not destroyed. The real struggle is just beginning. The tyranny of the Koizumi administration can only be prevented by a grass-root force struggling for peace and human rights in a coordinated network throughout the country. We call all BLL members to rally to the struggle for reestablishing peace and human rights.

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