As elections approach, Rengo leader makes rare appearance at LDP meeting

The head of Japan’s largest labor organization, Rengo, attended a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Monday to discuss social security, a sign the two sides may be warming up ahead of the House of Councilors election this summer.

Tomoko Yoshino’s attendance at an LDP meeting is quite rare, reinforcing the idea that the party is seeking to drive a wedge between the Democratic Constitutional Party of Japan and Rengo, a major support base of the main opposition party.

“We would like to work together (with the LDP) to achieve policies,” Yoshino told reporters after attending the meeting at the request of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s party. “I think we largely share the issues that we perceive as challenges.”

Yoshino explained Rengo’s position on issues such as women’s working styles and stressed the need to close the income gap between men and women.

Yoshino attended an LDP panel meeting to discuss the issues of a time when people are “living to be 100”. The panel is led by former justice minister Yoko Kamikawa.

With the Upper House election in sight, the LDP has pledged in its campaign policy for this year to promote political dialogue with “Rengo and other friendly unions”.

Rengo, formerly known as the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, is a major support base of the CDP and the smaller opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party.

In January, Kishida became the first sitting prime minister in nine years to attend the Rengo New Year rally.

The prospect of a rapprochement between the LDP and Rengo worries the CDP. The unity of the opposition bloc appears fragile, as the DPP is seen as moving closer to the ruling party.

CDP leader Kenta Izumi on Monday expressed hope to continue working with Rengo so that the main opposition can become a viable alternative to the PLD and achieve a “two-party system”.

The distribution of wealth, the centerpiece of Kishida’s efforts to create a so-called new form of capitalism, apparently resonates with Rengo.

The Prime Minister has promised to create an environment that encourages companies to raise workers’ wages, calling on companies whose profits have returned to pre-pandemic levels to do so aggressively.

“We want (Rengo) to be careful not to be used by the LDP for its malicious propaganda,” CDP policy chief Junya Ogawa said last week, referring to Yoshino’s plan to attend the meeting. of Monday.

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