First May Day in Post-LDP Japan: Workers Say, “Nothing Has Changed”

Today, Zenroren held the first May Day rallies after the demise of the Liberal Democratic Party regime, 32,000 workers participating in the rally in Yoyogi Park.  “The newly established two-party system is already bankrupt,” said Senator Ichida Tadayoshi, Secretary General of the Communist Party, at the Yoyogi rally.  Over the last ten years, wages in Japan declined 10% even as the profits of big corporations doubled.  (No other developed country’s workers experienced anything comparable, emphasized Ichida; that, however, is about to change — Japan is the future of the West.)  The average manufacturing worker saw a month’s pay disappear from his annual earning last year.  Meanwhile, none of the Democratic Party’s electoral promises — the removal of the Futenma base, health care reform to relieve the hardship of the elderly, labor law reform to diminish the exploitation of contract workers hired thorough employment agencies, and so on — has been kept.

81st Central May Day Rally, Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, 1 May 2010

As usual, top government officials had attended Rengo‘s “May Day” rally, held on 29 April 2010.  It is said to have drawn about 36,000.  Here’s the pigeon-hearted prime minister of Japan, Hatoyama Yukio, wailing about the growing “forces that are seeking to turn back the clock”:

Of course, the prime minister means his administration’s plummeting popularity, the approval rating declining from over 70% to barely above 20% in the latest Kyodo survey.  Workers say, “Nothing has changed.”  Trying to shore up the Democratic Party, Rengo President Koga Nobuaki said that “the reform prioritizing the lives of citizens has only just begun,” appealing for patience.  But time is running out.  The next upper house elections are scheduled to be held on 11 July 2010.

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