Rengo (Japan Trade Union Confederation) is having a hard time managing its distance from the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), the Party of Hope, and the Democratic Party (DP), which split up before the recent House of Representatives election. Since there are no prospects for the three parties to reunite, if Rengo supports one particular party, it may incur the ire of the sector labor unions under Rengo, which each support different parties.
In the Lower House election last October, Rengo did not support any party, but backed individual candidates, mostly those from the DP. With the House of Councillors election and the simultaneous local elections coming up in 2019, it is urging the three parties to reunite at an early date.
Yet, due to hard feelings from the split up, the three parties have not even been able to form a unified floor group in the Diet.
There is concern in Rengo that if this situation drags on, internal divisions due to the sector unions supporting different parties may become entrenched.
If Rengo goes into the Upper House election divided, the votes it controls may become dispersed and this may disadvantage its own candidates running on the proportional representation tickets. Therefore, certain sector unions are clamoring for a decision on which party to support at an early date, in order to make preparations for the election.
However, discontent simmers in Rengo against supporters in the last election of the CDPJ, which collaborated with the Japanese Communist Party — an adversary of Rengo — and supporters of the Party of Hope, which cooperated with Nippon Ishin [Japan Innovation Party] – a party critical of the Government and Public Workers’ Union. Therefore, if Rengo decides to support any party, there is concern that it may become divided, according to a senior official.
For this reason, Rengo is likely to defer a decision on which party to support, closely watch the moves toward the realignment of parties, and try to maintain the optimum distance from the three parties for the time being. (Slightly abridged)