LDP and Komei ram through pension bill

The adverse revision of the pension system became law.

Ignoring opposition to the government pension bill reaching 70 percent in a public opinion survey, the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties used their majority in the House of Councilors plenary session on June 5 to railroad through the bill for a drastic increase in pension premiums and cuts in pension benefits.

In the overnight session, Dietmembers of the Japanese Communist Party took the lead in the debate on the government bill.

Koike Akira, JCP Diet Policy Committee chair, stepped to the rostrum and stated, "A real pension reform must help eliminate pensionless people and ensure adequate benefits for people with low benefits."

He denounced the government for rejecting the call for a public hearing to be held at the central level on the bill and for rushing to a vote on the bill by denying his right to speak at the Upper House committee meeting. "How can the government and ruling parties pretend to establish a sound and enduring pension system?" he said.

The opposition parties adopted delaying tactics while voting on a motion for removing the committee chair from office.

While the Democratic and Social Democratic parties absented themselves from the session over the improper steering on the no-confidence vote against the Upper House President, the JCP was present at the session to express its firm opposition to the pension-cut bill.

Under the adversely revised law, people will have to pay 16,900 yen a month in premiums for the National Pension plan from 2017, 3,600 yen more than the present 13,300 yen, and 20,000 or 30,000 yen after 2017.

People on government-managed employee pension programs will receive benefits 15 percent less than the present amount. The government promised that a family with a full-time worker and a full-time housewife will receive at least 50 percent of the average wage, but it will be effective for only one year and will go down to 40 percent 20 years later. (end)

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