JCP representative in Upper House calls for measures to end people's economic plight

In the House of Councilors plenary session on January 23, Japanese Communist Party representative Nishiyama Tokiko urged the Koizumi Cabinet to change its economic policy to one of protecting the people's living conditions.

Pointing out that working class households are hard hit by unemployment, business failures increased, burdens for social services, and cuts in pensions, Nishiyama criticized the Koizumi Cabinet for sticking with its "structural reform" policy that only benefits large corporations and inflicts unbearable pain on many people.

She said that it stands to reason that the government plan to enact a law allowing the government to cut pensions without parliamentary discussions is an object of popular resentment. She demanded that the government immediately increase its share of the cost for pension premiums in compliance with the law.

Nishiyama said that the Japanese economy should be revitalized through financially helping small- and medium-sized businesses which account for 99 percent of all business establishments. She specifically called for legislation to reinvigorate regional financing for small businesses. Under the government "structural reform" policy, loans to these businesses decreased by 45 trillion yen in the last three years.

Nishiyama also demanded the continuation of the present system of public guarantee for refinancing loans to these businesses, which is to end in March. Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro answered that the system should be maintained in the next fiscal year starting on April 1st.

This system allows a new loan to be granted to small businesses as an equivalent of multiple loans for a 10-year period. At present, there are 5 trillion yen in loans under this system. The change in the government system is expected to affect similar systems in local municipalities in favor of small businesses. (end)

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