JCP: Road panel's report suggests failure of 'Koizumi reform'

A governmental panel studying ways to privatize four road-related public corporations submitted a final report to the prime minister on December 6.

The report proposes that a new company be established 10 years after the privatization based on the profitability-first principle, which calls for tax money to be used for the construction of unprofitable highways. Under the plan, wasteful expressway construction will continue unchecked.

The panel's chair Imai Takashi, an advocate of continued highway construction in conventional forms and Nippon Steel chairman, resigned.

In a published statement on the same day, Fudesaka Hideyo, Japanese Communist Party Policy Commission chair, said that the final report of the Promotion Committee for the Privatization of the Four Highway-Related Public Corporations shows the failure of the Koizumi Cabinet's policy of scrapping and privatizing special public corporations.

In an analysis of the confusion in the committee, Fudesaka said that it is because the committee limited its discussion to the formality of privatization without making a decision on the fundamental issues on whether more highways should be constructed and how the enormous 40 trillion yen debt be repaid.

The JCP policy commission chair stated that what the people want is an end to building wasteful highways, no shift of the financial burden on them, and an end to collusion between big business and politicians.

Fudesaka said that Prime Minister Jun'ichiro Koizumi, who argued for privatization as the only panacea, is responsible for the outcome. (end)