Elderly people's rally renews resolve to defend peace and welfare

The 14th National Conference of Elderly took place on September 16 and 17
in Osaka, with 9,600 elderly people attending. The rally, with renewed
determination called on elderly people to join hands to defend peace, social
services, and welfare programs.

Otani Akihiro, journalist and Osaka organizing committee chair, referred
to the terrorist attacks against the U.S. He called on the audience to speak
out about how war is irrational and how peace is valuable, since they
experienced WW II.

The keynote report said that as the moves are now under way to adversely
revise medical and other social services system, with particular hardships
for the elderly, it is necessary for their movement to oppose these moves in
order to create a society with a reliable and humane social services.

The rally adopted a 10-year action program to be presented to the world
rally which will be held in April 2002 in Spain.

On the second day, there were 22 group discussions whose subjects ranged
from peace and the Constitution, long-term nursing homes for the elderly to
'Go' game matches.

The group on nursing care and nursing care insurance had an attendance of
over 200 people. Through the lively discussions, it became clear that they
should force local municipalities to improve the defective nursing care
insurance system.

An 81-year-old from Kanagawa Prefecture who is a regular participant
since the first conference, said an old couple he knows shares between them
the medicine for one, because they can not afford medication for both due to
the recent medical cost increase.

A home-helper from Kyoto said that the nursing care insurance system
assessed home help work with unrealistically low costs, which has caused
inconveniences for old people having illnesses.

In the group on "peace and the Constitution," 150 people took part. They
said: "War is the extreme of terrorism. We who came through the war must
talk about the facts of war." (end)