Change politics to give young people hope -- Akahata editorial, April 8
Young people have a common wish to live in a society that gives them hope for the future. But the kind of politics which deprives them of their hope concerning their livelihood and defense of peace prevails in Japan. The simultaneous local elections offer them the best opportunity to express their will to change politics.
10% jobless rate among young people
The job market concerning young people is the worst ever. The unemployment rate among young people has risen to 10.3 percent. An estimate shows that the number of young people on temporary jobs will reach 5 million, indicating a further increase in unstable and low-paid jobs. In the tight job market, the percentage of this year's high school graduates who got informal job offers as of the end of January was 74.4 percent, the lowest ever. Many graduates are left without jobs.
Who is responsible for this bitter reality? No one can deny that the blame is on the Koizumi "reform" policy under the slogan of "complete operation of market forces" and "strengthened competitiveness", which has caused unemployment and business failures to sharply increase, thus depriving young people of job offers.
It was the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties that assisted in the Koizumi "reform" by insisting that bad loans held by major banks be written off promptly and that industries and corporations be revitalized through corporate "restructuring".
The government and the ruling parties are shifting the blame for the tight job market onto young people, saying that there are more job seekers than job offers due to a "mismatch" between the two. Health, Labor, and Welfare Minister Sakaguchi Chikara said that those who are not willing to work will "take time in getting jobs." The job market has become tighter mainly due to the government policy under which job offers for high school graduates have declined to one-seventh in the last decade. The government and the ruling parties are irresponsible in not admitting the fact.
The Koizumi government with its indifference to jobs for the young is aberrant in the world where the United States and European countries are taking special measures to offer jobs to young people.
The Japanese Communist Party has been taking a serious view of the present condition of young people as an important issue which will seriously affect the Japanese economy and society. Aiming at resolving the job scarcity for the young and creating a society in which they can take worthwhile jobs, the JCP in both the national and local assemblies has called on governments to take effective steps to create jobs for young people.
Today, many students have to leave school or give up higher education due to the loss of family income resulting from the business failure or unemployment of the parents.
The government and the ruling parties are proposing to cut scholarship funds just when the scholarship system, the lifeline to students, needs to be improved most.
In Japan, about 800,000 students are studying with the help of the Japan Scholarship Foundation. The Koizumi Cabinet has decided to abolish the foundation and set up a corporate entity instead. The new grant program under the new entity will require a 30,000-yen deposit a year from applicants for scholarships. The government considers its grant program as sort of a money lending business.
The government is also planning to abolish the waiver-of-scholarships system for graduate students who become scholars, professors, or researchers.
Ignoring this fact, the Komei Party states in its daily of April 4, "The party has helped improve the scholarship program." This is nothing but lying to the people.
In Europe and the United States, the scholarship system is normally a benefit for students. On the contrary in Japan, the system is in fact a loan and half of the borrowers must pay back the money with interest.
The Japanese Communist Party is opposed to the abolition of the Japan Scholarship Foundation and calls for expansion and improvement of the grant program such as providing a benefit-style scholarship.
What the young people are concerned with now is the lawless and inhumane Iraq war. If we allow this war, which is contrary to the U.N. Charter, what will the world in the 21st century be like? "We want to stop the war in which many innocent people are being killed," this is the widespread opinion of young people throughout the world.
JCP sticks to anti-war stance
The Koizumi Cabinet, the Liberal Democratic Party, and the Komei Party are supporting the unlawful war on Iraq and shamefully blaming the nationwide peace movements for "benefiting the enemy". These pro-war parties have no future.
The JCP is a party that makes efforts to call on other countries to oppose the war and can openly criticize the United States. The JCP stands on pacifism has been tested by history time after time during the 81 years since its founding. It is the party young people can entrust their hopes for the future on. (end)
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