Senior citizens stage sit-in against pension cut plan

Eight elderly braved the cold weather on December 17 to begin a sit-in in front of the Health, Welfare, and Labor Ministry, demanding that the government give up its plan to cut the old age pension.

A representative of the National Federation of Local Associations of Social Welfare for Senior Citizens, which sponsored the action, said, "The government is going to pay the U.S. as much as five billion dollars for the Iraq war and occupation, while putting forward a plan to cut pension and increase the premiums. We will work to increase solidarity among elderly people in common actions in opposition to the cold-blooded plan."

Ikeda Nobue, 84, took the night train to Tokyo from Kagawa Prefecture in Western Japan. She said, "I've worked for 40 years as a farmer, apprentice, and nursing attendant. Now I receive 32,000 yen (290 dollars) monthly in pension. I must pay 3,400 yen (31 dollars) as nursing care premiums every month. Now, the government is going to cut my pension. This attempt to further trample on the living conditions of elderly people must immediately be stopped."

Koike Akira, Japanese Communist Party House of Councilors member, joined the sit-in and encouraged participants. (end)

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