January 18, 2009
2009 Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Annual Party Convention
Address by DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa
First of all I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to all of you who have gathered here today for the DPJ窶冱 party convention.
In particular I would like to convey my sincere gratitude to Social Democratic Party President Fukushima, the People窶冱 New Party President Watanuki, and New Party Nippon President Tanaka for delivering messages of cooperation as representing of our allied parties, and to Japanese Trade Union Confederation Deputy President Okabe, and Chairman Ohashi of the Nippon Keidanren Committee on Political Affairs for their words of encouragement.
I would also like to express my appreciation to the members of the diplomatic corps, and the representatives of our affiliated labour, economic and cultural organisations who have taken time out of their busy schedules to attend this convention.
Now, at last my friends, this year, 窶徼he time窶 has come. We will win the general election, create a new administration with our own hands, and based on the philosophy of 窶弃utting People窶冱 Lives First窶 we will create 窶從ew lives窶 for the people. Now, there is not a moment to waste.
The ultimate purpose of politics is to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people and we will make every effort towards this one end. An administration that forgets this responsibility and mission and even loses sight of the aim of exercising power will fade from sight in an instant. The damage to people窶冱 lives grows greater with each day that the LDP and Komeito administration continues. This can clearly be seen from the fact that the Aso Cabinet has continued to govern in a political vacuum for three months in the midst of the global financial crisis and resulting depression without asking the people for a vote of confidence and without implementing effective economic measures.
This is the time for us to fundamentally change the system of this country, and start to create 窶從ew lives窶? and a new Japan. I believe that this is the only way through which we can save people窶冱 lives, and save Japan.
If we can only be resolved to do this, we will definitely be able to restructure the system. The Japanese people have sufficient ability to carry this out. On the one hand temporary workers are being made redundant in increasing numbers, while on the other there is a decided shortage of care workers. It is the role of politics to correct such disparities and realign human resources. This is the time for us to carry out this task and work together with the people to engage in building a new nation.
The goals to be realised by the DPJ are clear.
The first is to realise 窶徃overnment for the people, by the people, of the people窶? This may be a simplistic way of putting it, but it is what democracy is all about. This everyday process has not been carried out in Japan. That in itself is the main reason for the current political, economic and social confusion. We must do our utmost to realise a change of administration for the first time under the auspices of a two-party system and enable parliamentary democracy to take root in Japan.
Furthermore, we must realise 窶彳conomics for human beings, by human beings, of human beings窶? The fundamental cause of the current financial crisis is the collapse of a financial capitalism that has misinterpreted freedom as being able to do exactly as you please without any limits, and that has pushed the idea of 窶徇arket economics for capital, by capital and of capital窶 to the utmost. We will restructure the system, based on fair rules, returning to true liberal economics and making a safety net for people窶冱 lives a prerequisite. I believe that it is only in this way that we will be able to restore 窶彳conomics that prizes human beings窶?
Then, we will realise 窶彗 society for residents, by residents, of residents.窶 This is a society that rewards hard-working people, a society in which pensions, medical care, childrearing, employment and the regions have been rebuilt, and one in which residents can enjoy a stable way of life. Of course, establishing true decentralisation is a precondition for achieving this.
I believe that this current economic crisis is actually an ideal opportunity for bringing about a fundamental transformation of Japan. We will totally rework the national budget, which totals more than two hundred trillion yen, completely eliminate the wasteful use of taxpayers窶 money, and focus the resulting resources on rebuilding peoples窶 lives. Hope will be born in the hearts of people who no longer feel anxiety about their lives, and their positive spirits will give impetus to the nation as a whole. I think that it is at just such a time as this, when many people are feeling a sense of crisis, that this kind of transformation of the system can be achieved, with the understanding and cooperation of the people.
We have already decided upon and announced our 窶廡ive Pledges for Creating New Lives窶 this last autumn, with a view to the forthcoming general election, these being the eradication of the wasteful use of taxpayers窶 money, reforms of pensions and medical care, support for childrearing, reform of the employment system and the rejuvenation of agricultural, forestry, and fisheries and of small and medium sized enterprises. If we can realise these five pledges, I am convinced that we will invigorate the people, and rebuild their lives.
However, the do-nothing policies of the Aso Cabinet have created a sudden worsening of the economic situation, starting with an employment crisis, and consequently, we must speedily implement short-term economic measures, maintain overall demand, and guarantee employment. But this must not be through handouts and wasteful uses of taxpayers窶 money, such as the one-off economic stimulus payments totaling 2 trillion yen while have been forced through by the LDP and Komeito administration with an eye on the forthcoming general election.
In the final analysis, the future we are aiming for must be one that realizes 窶彗n economy for human beings窶 and 窶彗 society for residents窶? I believe that the two policies for maintaining overall demand which are central to this are an 窶廢nvironmental New Deal窶 and a 窶彜afety and Security New Deal窶?
The 窶廢nvironmental New Deal窶 will include at its core the comprehensive popularization of solar panels, in addition to measures for stimulating agriculture, forestry and fisheries such as an individual (household) income support system. We intend first of all to subsidize half of the cost of including such panels in new houses, and to widen this support so that solar panels are ultimately included in all buildings including homes, public facilities and office buildings. Furthermore, we will actively promote the greening of the roofs and external walls of all buildings.
The central policy of the 窶彜afety and Security New Deal窶 is the earthquake-proofing of all elementary and junior high schools. In particular, we will promptly implement the earthquake-proofing of the approximately ten thousand schools which are said to be at a high risk of collapse in the event of a large-scale earthquake. We will also promote the earthquake-proofing of hospitals, along with improving pay and conditions for, and increasing the number of, care workers.
The main objectives of these two 窶廸ew Deals窶 are in both cases a series of small-scale projects, and from this perspective they are 窶徑ocalized job creation measures窶 that create employment in each region. Furthermore, we must promote the establishment of the necessary infrastructure, such as the speedy completion of the highway network. We intend to further improve these policies and produce a manifesto for the general election.
The thing that is most required of us as we strive to realise a change of government and form a new administration is that we go among the people, share their pain and suffering, and preserve this stance of walking together with the people to the end. We must not forget that 窶徼he People are Our Family窶? If we lose the ability to imagine the pain and suffering of the people, and the seizing and preservation of power itself becomes our objective, we will end up becoming an administration that is very little different from that of the LDP and Komeito.
Furthermore, we must steadfastly promote our philosophy and policies of 窶弃utting People窶冱 Lives First窶? based on our belief that 窶徼he People are Our Family窶? in places where people go about their daily lives. If we do this, I am convinced that we will be able to receive everyone窶冱 support.
On the other hand, there is something that the people themselves must do. I would like them to realise that they themselves are the sovereigns of the nation and hold the ultimate power, and to exercise that sovereignty without fail. By casting a vote in the general election, they will show their will as sovereigns. Through this, they must choose whether the current LDP and Komeito administration will continue or whether a new DPJ-centred administration will be formed.
The administration is chosen by the people themselves. The government is formed by the people themselves. It is not formed by an 窶廣lmighty Bureaucracy窶 who overrule the people. Active participation by the people in which they decide for themselves and build by themselves, is a prerequisite for democracy and the model for sovereignty set forth in the Japanese Constitution.
If you the people are not satisfied with the current LDP and Komeito administration, I ask you to cast your vote for the DPJ in the forthcoming general election. Then, if, once the DPJ has taken power, we fail to fulfill the pledges made to the people, or do not live up to people窶冱 expectations, I ask you to vote us out of power at the next general election. I believe that is the responsibility of sovereigns in a parliamentary democracy.
In closing, I would like to promise the people that the DPJ will walk together with you until the end, and with your support, create a 窶從ew administration that protects people窶冱 lives and livelihoods窶? and to repeat my request to you to enact your 窶彷inal judgement窶 as sovereigns.
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