Okada's 'Vision' of 'peace' and 'tax' called into question -- Akahata editorial, September 2

Democratic Party of Japan President Okada Katsuya, who was reelected unopposed as party leader, has published a policy statement entitled "Vision 2015" envisaging "a Japan we went to see in 10 years." He considers this as a premise of the DPJ's platforms for the next Lower House general election.

The "Vision" sets out a blueprint for the future of Japan using the style of a futuristic novel stating, "In Japan in 2015, a firm relationship of trust is in place between the people and politics." As it contains elements that could adversely affect people's living conditions and our country's path to the future, in particular the issues of peace and the tax systems, it should come under close public scrutiny.

Amending Article 9 for Japan to use force abroad

The "Vision 2015" takes it for granted that the war-renouncing Article 9, should be amended and supposes a broader role of the Self-Defense Forces, including participation in multinational forces and the use of force. It says that "in Japan in 2015, the widely accepted view is that provided that a U.N. resolution is in place, dispatches of the SDF need not be regarded as synonimous with the use of force." How absurd this argument is!

Japan forever renounced the use of force, under the Constitution's Article 9 based on reflection on its war of aggression and the belief that world peace can be achieved only by peaceful means. The U.N. Charter makes it clear that international peace must be guaranteed by peaceful means.

Using its constitutional principles of peace, Japan should firmly stand for peaceful solution of international disputes. This is the way for Japan to earn the trust of the international community and fulfill its unique role. The DPJ's "Vision" is based on the idea that Japan cannot contribute to the world without using force. It is tantamount to telling the people to shed their blood abroad.

Like the Koizumi Cabinet that has decided to have the SDF participate in the multinational force in Iraq, the DPJ "Vision" stands for the narrow thinking that "international cooperation" means sending the Self-Defense Forces abroad. Relying only on military force will make disputes more difficult to resolve, at a time when political and diplomatic efforts are needed.

The DPJ "Vision" states, "The Japan-U.S. alliance is a big public asset to the stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Okada shares this view with the LDP-Komei Cabinet led by Koizumi. Many of this region's countries, however, are now trying to develop international relations based on equality and peace in line with non-alignment and neutrality, instead of relying on military alliances. Obviously, peace for Asia and the rest of the world can only be ensured in this manner.

Unfair taxes to expand

Stating that fiscal reconstruction inevitably requires a review in annual expenditures and tax increases, the "Vision" calls for the tax increase to be centered on an indirect tax (consumption tax). It argues that an income tax increase is not enough to increase tax revenue and that increasing the corporate tax will weaken private sector vitality. The DPJ has already called for a consumption tax increase of 3 percent to fund the pension system in addition to the present 5 percent. If the "Vision 2015" is fully carried out, the consumption tax rate will be 8 percent or more.

The underlying thinking in the "Vision" is that maintaining corporate vitality is more important than concerns for people's livelihoods. Since the consumption tax was introduced, corporate tax revenues almost halved to 15 trillion yen from 28 trillion yen, due mainly to tax cuts for large corporations. DPJ President Okada Katsuya now calls for a higher consumption tax rate, and keeping corporate tax privileges intact. The consequence would be that the consumption tax, the unfair tax by which people with less income will have to share a relatively bigger percentage of the burden, becomes the mainstay in the Japanese tax system. This will increase tax impartiality, widen the gap between rich and poor, and obstruct the fiscal reconstruction effort.

Can such a system be called "Japan Revival"? (end)

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