From WEEKLY MDS No.924, February 17, 2006 issue logo

Livedoor Scandal - Result of Deregulation Policy / No to Koizumi's Structural Reform

A Result of Koizumi's Reform

Four Livedoor officers, including former President HORIE Takafumi, were arrested on charge of violation of the Securities Transaction Law and related regulations. Specifically, their arrest was on suspicion of manipulation of stock prices by means of false information and window-dressing financial statements with padded figures for profits. Although the mass media are reporting fluctuations of Livedoor's stock price, illicit cash flow overseas, etc., they are not shedding light on the true nature of the problem. The Livedoor incident is a product of Koizumi's structural reform that is catering to global capitalism.

Livedoor aggressively implemented its plans for mergers and acquisitions, leveraging the inflated stock prices achieved through splitting and exchanging of shares. During the five years since 2000 when it went public in the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers market, Livedoor collected 800 billion yen by utilizing the introduction of a series of legal measures, including the 1999 amendment of the Commercial Code to allow business acquisition through exchanges of stocks, the 2001 amendment of the Commercial Code to eliminate net asset-based restrictions on share splitting, and the 2004 enactment of a law to liberalize organization of investment corporations. In response to demand of global capitalism, the sequential amendments to the Commercial Code have facilitated M & A while supporting venture businesses and IT businesses among others. Meanwhile, they have helped financial capitalists make easy money through mobilization of postal savings and other individual assets into stock investments, gathering momentum from the push for the postal privatization bills.

In this trend, Livedoor, a start-up company, has achieved a rapid growth through cumulative practices of illegal and "only apparently legal" acts. Livedoor is a representative case among results of the deregulation policy line.

Irregularities spouting from the reform

LDP Secretary-General TAKEBE Tsutomu and Prime Minister KOIZUMI Junichiro, in relation to the fact that they had Horie, or Horiemon, run in last year's general elections, mention "soul-searching" and Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) Chairman OKUDA Hiroshi says, "We goofed." Behind their apparent modest attitude lies their wariness. "There is concern that it (the Livedoor scandal) might be associated with the structural reform initiatives" as Japan Association of Corporate Executives Vice-Chairman WATANABE Shotaro puts it.

With Horie and his men acting as billboards, financial reform and deregulation programs for global capitalism have drastically developed. The postal privatization bills have passed the Diet and mobilization of individual assets into stock and securities markets have gained momentum. However, Horie with his overly dirty ways of business has turned to an obstacle in maintaining the ruling system for global capitalism. Thus, the arrest of Horie only serves as a gesture of purification.

Now we see egregious irregularities nurtured under Koizumi's structural reform being uncovered one after another, represented by the scandal of quake-resistant data falsification and the US beef import problem. It is now obvious that the deregulation policies for global capitalism have created a gap-widening society while threatening people's lives, assets and living resources. In these ten years, the same structural reform policy that allowed Horie to earn 800 billion yen has caused the ratio of zero-saving households to increase to 23.6%, or three times greater. Now we have 4.07 million less regular employees and 6.49 million more temporary employees. One out of four young men in their early twenties are non-permanent employees. The ratio of those who feel that ours is becoming a gap-widening society has reached as high as 64% of the population, according to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper dated January 31.

Now is the time to take action of fury as Koizumi dares to express his defiant opinion about these circumstances, giving a remark, "I don't think creation of gaps is a bad thing."

Change for democracy to be embodied

Accept no more of Koizumi's structural reform that only creates a small group of winners and widens gaps between the poor and the rich. Refuse Koizumi's reform for a greater space for jungle-law to prevail, toward war and for privatization (elimination of social services).

Looking to build a society where workers are honored and the elderly and the weak can live at ease, let us revolve local communities into pro-peace and completely democratic through the Non-Defended Localities movement. In solidarity with Iraq Freedom Congress (IFC), let us step forward with people around the world in our struggle to end the occupation and dismantle the war machine of global capitalism. (February 4)

Copyright Weekly MDS