Rengo chief sees DPJ’s fate riding on how voters view LDP, ‘third force’


The Democratic Party of Japan’s fate in the Dec. 16 Lower House election will depend largely on how the “third-force” fares, according to labor chief Nobuaki Koga.

Public opinion polls indicate the DPJ will have a tough campaign, the chairman of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) said last week.

He said Rengo will fully support the DPJ because the party’s policies are the closest to labor’s goal of respecting the rights of workers. Rengo is the DPJ’s largest support body.

Koga said the DPJ’s record over the last three years, since it took power, will be the main issue.

The party has some achievements to its credit, including eliminating high school fees and keeping workers aged up to 65 employed, he said.

“Unfortunately, the DPJ’s weaknesses have surfaced,” Koga said, citing its failure to accomplish numerous goals in 2009 platform as well as a series of defections.

He said it is too early to predict the makeup of the next government because no one knows how voters will react to the Liberal Democratic Party’s campaign pledges, including those on security, for this election. The third force needs to be watched as well, he added.

Nippon Ishin No Kai (Japan Restoration Party) will attract certain support, Koga said of the new party led by former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto.

“There must be voters who feel like betting on a new force” after being disappointed by the DPJ and the LDP, he said.