TOKYO (Kyodo) – The leader of Japan’s largest workers’ organization, Rengo, attended a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Monday to discuss social security, a sign that the two sides may be warming up ahead of this summer’s election of councilors. .
Tomoko Yoshino’s participation in an LDP meeting is quite rare, which reinforces the perception that the party is seeking to strike a wedge between Japan’s Constitutional Democratic Party and Rengo, an important support base for the main opposition party.
“We want to work together (with the LDP) to implement policies,” Yoshino told reporters after attending the meeting at the request of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s party. “I think we broadly share issues we perceive as challenges.”
Yoshino explained Rengo’s position on issues such as working styles for women and stressed the need to bridge the income gap between men and women.
Yoshino attended the meeting of an LDP panel tasked with discussing issues for an era in which people “live to be 100 years old.” The panel is chaired by former Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa.
With the upper house’s election in mind, the LDP promised in its campaign policy for this year that it will promote political dialogue with “Rengo and other friendly unions.”
The party specifically mentioned Rengo, formerly known as the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, a large support base for the CDPJ and the smaller opposition Democratic People’s Party.
In January, Kishida became the first sitting prime minister in nine years to attend Rengo’s New Year’s meeting.
The prospect of LDP and Rengo getting closer is a concern for CDPJ. The unity of the opposition bloc seems appalling as the DPP is perceived as cozy for the ruling party.
CDPJ leader Kenta Izumi on Monday expressed hope of continuing to work with Rengo so that the main opposition can become a viable alternative to the LDP and achieve a “two-party system”.
Wealth distribution, the centerpiece of Kishida’s efforts to create a new form of capitalism, seems to resonate with Rengo.
The Prime Minister has promised to create an environment that will make companies raise the wages of workers, and urges those whose earnings have reached pre-pandemic levels to do so aggressively.
“We (Rengo) want to be careful not to be used by the LDP for its malicious propaganda,” CDPJ political chief Junya Ogawa said last week, referring to Yoshino’s plan to attend Monday’s meeting.