Main opposition party in Japan elects new right-wing leader
Japan’s main opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), elected its political leader Kenta Izumi as its new leader on November 30, replacing Yukio Edano. Izumi was chosen from four candidates in a move that will shift the supposedly “liberal” party further to the right. Edano resigned from his post following the CDP’s poor performance in the October general election.
Izumi defeated Seiji Osaka in a second round after no candidate won a majority of votes among the party’s representatives in the National Diet and other party delegates in the first round. The initial vote eliminated the other two candidates, Junya Ogawa and Chinami Nishimura, from the race.
Izumi has since chosen Nishimura to serve as the party’s general secretary, saying that the elevation of a woman to the party’s second highest position demonstrates that “the CDP has been working towards achieving gender equality.” .
In fact, the CDP adopts an identity policy to hide its right-wing record. All of the candidates said they would work to increase the number of women legislators in the National Diet.
Junya Ogawa, whom Izumi named chief policy officer, said: “We have to think about substantial support for female candidates. What is naturally not said is how the advancement of privileged and affluent women in Japanese society will benefit ordinary workers and young people, regardless of their gender.
As the youngest of four at 47, Izumi is portrayed in the media as a leader who can connect with young people in Japan. He said after his victory: “As a political party that works for the people, I would like to gather the power of all and start walking again.
These empty and empty statements and others like them make little secret of the fact that the CDP is moving even more in a pro-business and militarist direction.
The party’s unpopularity is not due to the age of its leadership or to broad public support for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Democrats have proven incapable and unwilling to oppose remilitarization and attacks on working conditions, or to fight for a policy to eliminate COVID-19.
The CDP is in fact seeking to politically block workers and young people in Japan, who are moving to the left. The party is backed by the Confederation of Japanese Trade Unions, the country’s largest labor apparatus, known as Rengo.
Tellingly, Izumi was backed by many of the more conservative members of the CDP, including longtime establishment figure Ichiro Ozawa. The four candidates also expressed their support for right-wing positions, including on the constitutional review.
Revision has been a long-standing goal of the Japanese bourgeoisie, which attempts above all to modify or eliminate Article 9 of the constitution, known as the pacifist clause. Article 9 explicitly prohibits Japan from waging war abroad and maintaining an army.
As years of “reinterpretations” have eroded, the ruling class aims to revise the clause so that Japanese imperialism once again fully projects its power abroad as it did before World War II. Other proposed constitutional revisions include an emergency law that would attack free speech and other democratic rights.
Izumi said on November 21: “The CDP is a political party that gives weight to the debate on the constitution, and I am ready to fully discuss the supreme law of the land in the Diet committees on the constitution. In this context, a debate does not take place between one party opposed to the revision and another for, but between two parties discussing how best to sell militarist changes to the people.
As the Japanese public is inundated with claims of threats from North Korea and China, the majority of people oppose any revision of Article 9. A Asahi Shimbun A poll released on May 3, Constitution Day, found that 61 percent of people were against the section 9 changes while only 30 percent were in favor.
Support for constitutional review is widespread in the CDP. The party was founded in October 2017 as a successor to the Democratic Party (DP), which disbanded the previous month so that its more overtly conservative members would run in the general election that month as Party members. right of hope ( Kibō no Tō ).
These Democrats, including Izumi, tried to capitalize on the Hope Party’s short-lived hype in corporate media after its founding that year to allow them to shake off even the thin liberal front that ‘they wore before. This included abandoning public opposition to constitutional review.
When this opportunistic maneuver failed, the Hope Party and its Democratic Party allies officially merged to form the People’s Democratic Party (DPP) in 2018. The DPP then merged with the CDP in September 2020, indicating in besides that the “left” faction of the CDP are not fundamentally opposed to the policies of their right-wing colleagues.
Izumi, along with the other leadership contenders, criticized the CDP’s alliance with the Japanese Communist Party (JCP). Democrats used electoral alliances with the Stalinist JCP, including in the October general election, to try to give themselves a more left-wing polish.
However, the only Communist thing about the JCP is its name. The party has long been part of the capitalist establishment, as evidenced by its support for the CDP and its predecessors. The JCP even abandoned its position of breaking the US-Japanese security treaty. He calls for a “treaty of friendship” with US imperialism, which is none other than barely disguised support for pro-war policies, especially directed against China.
Izumi’s opposition to the alliance with JCP aims to push the CDP further to the right, even giving up progressive policies lip service. Many Democrats blamed the election result on the alliance with the JCP. During a candidates’ debate on November 22, Izumi challenged the CDP’s election slogan of “change of power” and similar phrases, claiming, “Are these messages that voters really wanted to hear? In other words, Izumi calls on the CDP to openly adopt right-wing positions in order to gain the support of the political establishment and demonstrate its submission to big business.
The CDP’s election of Izumi confirms that Democrats are looking to the right in response to growing public health, social and political crises in Japan and around the world. The party does not intend to pursue policies that benefit the working class, but rather offers its services as a means of suppressing the growing class struggle in Japan.