Party leaders' first speeches show that real choice is between LDP and JCP

As the campaign for the first House of Councilors election in the 21st century officially started on July 12, political party leaders took to the streets.

Akahata of July 13 reported not only the ruling coalition parties but some opposition parties support the Koizumi Cabinet's so-called "structural reform" plan, knowing that it will impose heavy burdens on the people.

The Japanese Communist Party is the only party that squarely puts forward an alternative to the Koizumi plan. The LDP's reform plan or the JCP's plan for remaking Japan -- this is what the 2001 Upper House election is about.

In advocating "structural reform," Prime Minister Koizumi, who is LDP president, threateningly said that a failure to carry out his reform plan would more than double the burdens people will have to shoulder.

He neither referred to the worsening economic indices published the day before nor proposed measures to boost the economy.

A reason the prime minister gave for the need to quickly write off bad loans held by major banks was that it is necessary to set up a new system in which these banks lend their money effectively to new businesses. The statement shows that write-offs are intended to increase the banks' profitability by dismissing small- and medium-sized businesses as non-performing.

On wasteful public works projects, the most serious issue in the national finances, the prime minister did not propose any specific steps. By contrast, JCP Shii proposed phased cuts in the budgets for wasteful public works projects and a cut by half the annual military budget of 5 trillion yen (40 billion dollars).

Interestingly enough, party leaders who want more to be done for "structural reforms" are now beginning to talk about "pains" which might hit the public.

The Democratic Party of Japan leader pretended to be critical of Koizumi's reform plan, the general public is forced to endure "pains."

The leader of the Komei Party, a ruling coalition partner, tried to depict the "reform" plan as being "kind to people."

Noting that these leaders who are for "structural reforms" are silent about the sufferings which people are asked to endure, such as massive unemployment and bankruptcies, Akahata said that these cosmetic touches cannot erase the fact that these parties generally supported the Koizumi Cabinet's reform which will only force the people to accept the burden of "reform." (end)