Rengo (Japan Trade Union Confederation) is in a fix with regard to its relations with the Democratic Party (DP), the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), and Kibo no To [Party of Hope]. For now, it will adopt an “omnidirectional” policy of giving equal support to the DP, and the CDPJ and Party of Hope, which split from the DP before the recent House of Representatives election. It is believed that Rengo needs to carefully watch the outcome of realignment of opposition parties in order to avoid triggering further divisions in its own organization consisting of a hotchpotch of labor unions.
Rengo Chairman Rikio Kozu stated at a news conference on Nov. 16: “The House of Representatives election has just ended, so realignment is not possible. The important thing right now is for each party to consolidate its political base.” He indicated that the regeneration of political parties takes precedence over realignment of opposition parties.
Regarding support for the CDPJ, the Party of Hope, and the DP, Kozu said that “there is no reason to differentiate at this point,” stressing that Rengo is keeping equal distance from the three parties.
Rengo is Japan’s leading national federation of labor unions, but the member unions under Rengo support various positions and policies. It may “face the risk of breaking up” if an arbitrary decision is made to support one single party, according to a senior labor leader.
During the Lower House election in October, Rengo was forced to support candidates on an individual basis because the DP, which it supported traditionally, split into three parties.
Rengo is hoping that the three parties will reunite through the realignment of opposition forces. However, the CDPJ, which adopts its own policy line, is not keen on realignment. Therefore, there is concern that “a situation in which it is unable to decide which party to support may drag on,” according to a senior official. (Slightly abridged)