This letter is written by Yoko Akimoto from ATTAC Japan and circulated through the e-mail list of Asia-social-movement.
I guess people in this ML is interested in the result of the general election in Japan yesterday. Here's my observation of it as a part of Japanese social movements.
The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won the general election by a landslide Sunday, ousting from the top position of power the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which has controlled the country since 1955 and been a strong ally of the US. This is really a reflection of people's voices calling for a drastic change or switch of power.
Particularly the gap between rich and poor has been widening in the decade. The rising rate of unemployment totally sticks to this society. We in Japan are already used to hearing one jargon "Working poor" - a typical Japanese-English - standing for persons who are still in poverty however hard they work, mainly owing to low wages, non-regular jobs like dispatch or part-time work, or tightening social benefits, each of which represents a product of neo-liberal policies including deregulation of labor regulations or labor market. People in this country are convinced that they are fed up with the LDP administration.
Yukio Hatoyama, a leader of the DPJ to be nominated Prime Minister soon criticized market-oriented economy or severe competitive society during the campaign, referring to the importance of independence of the US as well as warm relations with its neighboring countries, and determined to scrap bureaucrat-led politics cherished by the LDP and side with the weak, supporting the jobless, elderly, handicapped or parents taking care of children. In addition, he is reluctant to promote free trades and plans to terminate Japan's military support of refueling US-led coalition in Indian Ocean.
These policies are fine with us! We could support him for the time being, asking him to correct or modify neo-liberal regulations forced by the LDP to come into effect and push him to accept and carry out our proposal.
In fact, there are some political inclinations in the lineup of the DPJ from the neo-liberal to the leftist, however, the new leader Hatoyama, a former researcher of engineering, is a soft-shell politician upholding fraternalism.
Certainly, we could utilize this opportunity.
Now the Social Democratic Party is talking with the DPJ about coalition in the Parliament. I hope some of our friends abroad still remember seeing chairperson of the SDP and some MPs of the DPJ in Sapporo during the People's Summit against the G8 or elsewhere in Japan.
I think most of Japanese social movements could have some expectations for the first and historical chance. We are ready to submit our ideas for Another World is Possible!
All the best,
Secretariat, ATTAC Japan