7,000 in 'human chain' protest welfare cuts

About 7,000 people formed a 'human chain' to encircle the Metropolitan government office in protest against cuts in welfare and medical budgets by the Tokyo Metropolitan government under Governor Ishihara Shintaro. They called on Ishihara to stop scrapping and integrating Metropolitan government-run hospitals.

On February 20, when this year's first session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly started discussing the FY 2002 draft budget, members of the Association for a Bright, Progressive Metropolitan Administration along with other organizations carried out street actions in front of the Metropolitan government office building.

They petitioned the governor and political parties for an increase in the welfare budgets. About 1,400 people staged a sit-in, shouting, "Cut nursing care insurance premiums and utility charges!" Japanese Communist Party members of the assembly also took part in the sit-in. (end)