The sectoral trade unions under Rengo (Japan Trade Union Confederation) will be fielding their candidates for the House of Councillors election in summer 2019 separately under the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) or the Democratic Party for the People (DPFP).
One of the sectoral labor unions, the Japan Postal Group Union, held its annual convention in Takamatsu City on June 13, deciding to field a neophyte candidate from the union, Masahito Ozawa, under the CDPJ. Masayoshi Masuda, chairman of the union’s central executive committee, stressed that “the CDPJ has higher support rates in recent opinion polls. We will field our candidate under the CDPJ for the sake of victory.”
The trend among the sectoral unions seems to be that unions that once belonged to the General Council of Trade Unions of Japan [Sohyo; disbanded in 1989] led by the Government and Public Workers’ Union tend to favor the CDPJ, while those formerly affiliated with the Japan Confederation of Labor [Domei; disbanded in 1987], consisting most of private sector unions, tend to choose the DPFP. Although Rengo is supposed to be the merger of Sohyo and Domei, they seem to be reverting to how they were in the period before Rengo was formed.
While the All Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers’ Union and the Japan Teachers’ Union, which have chosen the CDPJ, are well-known for their ability to campaign for organized votes, the General Federation of Private Railway and Bus Workers’ Unions and other smaller unions will have to rely on the CDPJ’s popularity.
The Federation of Textile, Chemical, Food, Commercial, Service and General Workers’ Unions (UA Zensen) and several major unions have chosen the DPFP. However, the UA Zensen candidate who ran under the (then) Democratic Party of Japan in 2013 lost. With the DPFP’s support rating languishing at 1-2%, a UA Zensen official laments that “we can’t fight until its support rate rises to around 5%.”
A Rengo source also voices concern that “votes may be dispersed” with union candidates running under two different parties. (Slightly abridged)