The Japanese Communist Party on November 13 achieved a successful outcome in an election for the 59-seat Miyagi prefectural assembly, and doubled the number of its assembly seats from 2 to 4.
In assembly elections at the three tsunami-devastated towns of Onagawa, Watari, and Yamamoto held on the same day, all JCP candidates won and succeeded in maintaining the previous strength of 4 seats. In Onagawa Town, calling for the decommissioning of the Onagawa nuclear power station, the JCP candidates held 2nd and 3rd place in the election.
The runners on the JCP ticket in these elections promised voters that they will work to help achieve people-oriented recovery from the 3.11 disaster, decommission nuclear power stations, and block Japan’s participation in the controversial multinational free-trade talks.
The Liberal Democratic Party, a strong backer of the Miyagi prefectural government headed by Murai Yoshihiro who sees the tsunami-battered situation as a great chance to promote public works projects to serve corporate interests, failed to get a majority in the prefectural assembly. The number of the party’s seats dropped from 30 to 28. The Democratic Party of Japan also lost 2 seats, barely holding on to 7 seats.
The JCP victory made headlines in newspapers: A local paper, the Kahoku Shimpo, reported that the DPJ cannot stop its decline while the JCP doubles its seats (Nov.14); and Asahi Shimbun reported that the DPJ loses 2, the JCP gains increasing support (evening edn., Nov.14).
Since immediately after the 3.11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the JCP has worked to help rescue victims, rebuild their lives, and assist in the recovery of the affected areas in cooperation with many volunteers from throughout Japan. The JCP candidates in the election campaign criticized the Murai-led Miyagi prefectural government as being irresponsible in regards to debris cleanup, saying that it is leaving everything to large construction contracting companies and even seeking to sell the region’s coastal fishery industry to large corporations in the guise of special economic zones. The JCP candidates also pointed out that such a policy is supported by the collusive all-are-ruling-party setup.
The JCP candidates pledged to implement a support program for damaged or destroyed houses, cut national health insurance premium rates, eliminate the so-called “double loan” problem, shut down the Onagawa nuclear power station, monitor radiation doses, decontaminate radioactive surfaces, and carry out health checkups.
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Commenting on the JCP victory in Miyagi, JCP Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi on November 14 at a news conference stated, “As a result of our activities in tackling issues associated with disaster reconstruction and the nuclear crisis as well as opposing the TPP free-trade pact, the party earned the trust of many voters.”
Touching on the DPJ and LDP setbacks in the election, Ichida stated, “The result shows that many voters are criticizing the DPJ government in regard to its stance on disaster reconstruction, the nuclear crisis, and the TPP. They are also criticizing the LDP for failing to challenge the DPJ on these issues.”