Government and ruling parties approve plan to cut subsidies to local governments

The Japanese government has drawn up a framework of the plan for a 3-trillion yen cut in central government subsidies to local governments, including those related to education.

This framework, approved on November 18 at a meeting by officials of the governing Liberal Democratic and Komei parties, will be the basis for the government to finalize the general plan that includes numbers for specific items.

It calls for an increase in prefectural shares of the burden for National Insurance premiums to be considered along with a reduction in funding for assistance to low-income households.

Facing strong opposition from local government and public school teachers, the government and ruling parties have decided to delay the adoption of the initial plan for a 850 billion yen cut in the government share of burden for compulsory education.

The Japanese Communist Party expressed strong opposition to the framework agreed upon by the government and ruling parties.

In a published statement on the same day, Koike Akira, JCP Policy Commission chair, said:

"In the 'framework agreement' the government and ruling parties promise to give serious consideration to local governments' opposition to the arbitrary shifting of burdens onto local governments in the name of decentralization. They must know that the call of local governments has an important bearing on people's rights and state responsibility concerning the maintenance of compulsory education, financial assistance to private child care centers, and subsidies to private schools.

However, the 'framework' only states that the local proposal will be considered separately.

It is particularly serious that the government and ruling parties have reiterated the need for reductions in local governments' tax grants from the central government.

We demand that future government budgets include money necessary for local governments' tax grants from the central government.

Local bodies join together to call for tax grants to be maintained for local governments

About 9,200 people representing the National Governors' Association, the National Association of Municipalities, and four other local government-related bodies assembled in Tokyo on November 17 to demand that subsidies and tax grants to local governments be maintained.

At the entrance to Budokan Hall, members of the All Japan Teachers' and Staff's Union and the Federation of Prefectural and Municipal Workers' Unions distributed handbills encouraging local governments' resistance to the government plan to cut subsidies to them. (end)

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