Shii in Lower House discusses pension and Constitution

In the House of Representatives plenary session on August 2, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo argued against the adversely revised pension law and the proposed consumption tax rate increase and constitutional revision. The Lower House was in session for the first questionings by party leaders since the Upper House election.

Pointing out that 80 percent of respondents to opinion polls want discussion of the pension issue to start anew, Shii demanded that the revised pension law be revoked.

On the government plan for a consumption tax rate increase to allegedly fund social services, Shii criticized the government for forcing the socio-economically weak to suffer even more. Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro evaded a straight answer and said that it is all right to discuss the consumption tax.

Referring to Koizumi's statement during the Upper House election campaign on the need for constitutional revision to enable Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense under the Japan-U.S. alliance, Shii said, "The war-renouncing Article 9 must stay, while the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty urging Japan to fight wars at U.S. orders must be discarded."

In answer to Shii, Prime Minister Koizumi stated, "The question of the right of collective self-defense will be resolved by publicly discussing constitutional revision."

At a news conference following the Diet interpellations, Shii commented on the prime minister's responses, saying, "The prime minister has failed to clearly address any of the basic issues. The government's inability to explain their own policies is clear." (end)

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