JCP calls for restoration of social welfare programs and improvement of Tokyo's livability

In the campaign for the June 24 Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, the Japanese Communist Party will call for social welfare programs for the aged, disabled, and others to be restored. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has cut welfare measures under Governor Ishihara Shintaro.

Wakabayashi Yoshiharu, JCP Tokyo Metropolitan Committee chair, called a news conference in the Metropolitan Office on May 9 to release the JCP election policy titled "Improve Welfare, Living Standards, Education, and Environment to Make Tokyo More Livable."

Wakabayashi said that the Liberal Democratic, Komei, Democratic, and Social Democratic parties promised to the public at the time of the 1997 election that they would make efforts to maintain social welfare programs, but they later voted for the governor's proposal to cut those programs.

The programs in question include free ride passes for the aged to use Tokyo-operated transit systems and private company buses in the Metropolitan area, and financial assistance to the aged and disabled for medical treatment.

Criticism has been growing among the public at the Metropolitan government's bullying of the weak, and the JCP in the March session of the Metropolitan Assembly argued that the trimmed welfare programs are very necessary ones. On that point the Tokyo Metropolitan Government had to agree with the JCP.

The JCP election policy is not just a campaign promise but a feasible proposal with a concrete financing plan, said Wakabayashi. The JCP submitted this to the assembly in March as part of the proposal to recompile the draft Metropolitan budget for fiscal 2001.

The main points of the JCP policy for Tokyo are:

1. Revive the free ride pass programs and financial assistance to the aged and disabled for medical treatment.

2. Reduce nursing care insurance premiums and care service fees and improve nursing care, welfare, and medical systems.

3. Defend the living standards and jobs of the people and the business of small- and medium-sized enterprises suffering in the current economic recession.

4. Improve child-care support and education to make Tokyo a place where people are free from worries about difficulties in child rearing.

5. Review wasteful public works projects and establish an environment-first policy in order to protect the natural environment.

6. Get the U.S. Yokota Air Base site and the U.S. Forces-controlled Yokota airspace returned to Japan to ensure peace and safety. (end)