Who is calling for meaningful reform plans? -- Akahata editorial, June 25
The House of Councilors election was officially announced on June 24 and party leaders kicked off their campaigns with a speech in Tokyo, Osaka, and other major cities. Who is offering the people plans to reform Japanese politics?
Turning defiant or seeking reform
In this election, the biggest issue concerning citizens' living conditions is pension reform as Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo pointed out. However, the JCP is the only party to show the people how to establish a reliable pension system.
Liberal Democratic Party President Koizumi Jun'ichiro stopped short of mentioning the pension cut law which was bulldozed through the Diet. He stated, "A change of government will not change the basic line. What is needed is to build a strong pension system by balancing premium payments and benefits," and called for a "discussion" among the LDP, the Komei Party, and the Democratic Party of Japan based on their three-party agreement. Komei President Kanzaki Takenori said that his party "led the Diet discussions paving the way for a stable pension system." Although DPJ President Okada Katsuya called for the new pension law to be revoked on the grounds that 70 percent of citizens have expressed opposition to it, he failed to propose any alternative plans, only stressing the need to "create a sustainable pension system."
Calling on a referendum on the LDP-Komei ruling coalition, JCP Chair Shii pointed out that both the government's and the DPJ's pension "reform" plans propose an increase in the people's burdens and a decrease in benefits. The only difference between the two is that the DPJ insists that the consumption tax rate should be increased instead of increasing pension premiums, he added. A reliable pension system, Shii stressed, needs solutions to two major issues: low benefit rates and the hollowing out of the national pension system. He also explained JCP proposals for a pension system reform, including a program to guarantee everyone a minimum pension to defend their constitutional right to live as well as reviewing national expenditures and preferential taxation for large corporations to build up pension funds.
Referring to the issues of the Self-Defense Forces participation in the multinational force in Iraq, a step that involves the use of force that the Constitution prohibits, LDP President Koizumi tried to justify it in complete disregard of the supreme law, saying that it is "international cooperation" endorsed by a "unanimous U.N. resolution". Komei Party President Kanzaki also said, "Nothing will be different" from the present SDF activities. Although DPJ President Okada said that it is "the matter that touches on the fundamentals of the Constitution" and called for "a withdrawal of the SDF" from Iraq, the DPJ policy statement says that the SDF can take part in a multinational force provided the United Nations adopts a resolution to that effect. Thus, the DPJ policy is one of destroying the fundamentals of the Constitution. The DPJ leader has not explained party ability.
JCP Chair Shii stated that the SDF participation in the multinational force is not permissible in light of the Constitution and the view the government has held so far, and criticized Prime Minister Koizumi for being indifferent to the possibility that Japan becomes an accomplice in U.S. savagery. Shii pointed out that in the process of "building an Iraq in which the Iraqi people are sovereign," the presence of the U.S. forces that have invaded Iraq, and slaughtered and tortured Iraqis will be the problem, and called for "measures to be taken toward the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Iraq without delay."
JCP proudly calls for change
Prime Minister Koizumi shouts the slogan "no growth without reform" and DPJ Leader Okada just says, "Stop Koizumi" but stops short of stating what the DPJ offers.
The JCP is the only party to criticize the government and present solutions to any issues concerning the pension system, consumption tax, Iraq, and the Constitution. It is also the JCP that boldly appeals to the people about the path of reform in order to correct the distortions of politics that creates misgovernment. A major JCP advance can truly change politics. (end)