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More than 200,000 people attended May Day rallies Saturday across Japan, calling for efforts to close a widening gap in financial conditions.

At the main gathering in Tokyo, Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa sought a change in government from the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito coalition, emphasizing that his party would “create a fair society in which truly hardworking people will be rewarded.”

The 77th annual round of events held under the auspices of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo, Japan’s largest labor union group, drew about 241,000 people in 165 locations in 40 prefectures, according to organizers.

Rengo President Tsuyoshi Takagi said at the Tokyo event in Yoyogi Park, “The expansion in disparities immobilizes the low-income population, leads to a rapid increase in households receiving public welfare and heightens anxiety about the future.”

Takagi said Rengo will work at making society free of pronounced economic division.

Ozawa, who attended the gathering as a guest, said five years under the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi have given birth to a society of disparities in which the strong prey on the weak.

“The LDP-New Komeito government, which is full of vested interests and constraints, cannot carry out structural reforms. True structural reforms will be possible only when the DPJ takes over the reins of government and cuts off old constraints,” Ozawa said.

“As a result of absurd politics, business enterprises and people have lost their morals and the minds of Japanese people have become completely run down,” he said.

Ozawa, who became leader of the largest opposition party April 7, urged people to support the DPJ so it can win upcoming elections. The Tokyo gathering also featured a rally calling for a disparity-free society, with part-time and temporary workers calling for equality.

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