Prime minister's call for constitutional change and tax increase will darken future -- Akahata editorial, January 22

The Ordinary Session of the Diet of the year marking the 60th anniversary of the end of WW II has begun. In his policy speech, Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro used the words "60 years after the war" only once, in connection with his intention to revise the Constitution. He said: "Sixty years have passed after the war's end, and discussions over constitutional revision are under way among ruling and opposition parties. I think it is time to deepen the discussion on how a constitution in the new age should be."

The Koizumi Cabinet's basic position is clearly expressed in the prime minister's thinking that the postwar 60 years means nothing but time to review the Constitution.

Japan-U.S. alliance as supreme

The prime minister's view of Japan's postwar history gives predominance to the Japan-U.S. alliance. In his policy speech in September 2001, he referred to the 50 years since the signing of the San Francisco "Peace" Treaty and of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. He stated, "These two treaties were the first step in Japan's entry into the postwar international community and the starting point of peace and prosperity for Japan." He thus maintains that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was the starting point of Japan's peace and prosperity, not the present Constitution that changed the course, from war to peace and from despotism to democracy.

In this year's policy speech, the prime minister emphasized that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the foundation of Japan's safety, as well as peace and stability in the world. These expressions reflect the joint statement by U.S. President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro in June 2001, saying that the Japan-U.S. alliance set the foundation for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. We must not overlook that this year Koizumi stated that the Japan-U.S. alliance affects even peace in the world.

Koizumi dispatched the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq to cement the"Japan-U.S. alliance." He also announced his commitment to the new National Defense Program Outline and the "mid-term defense buildup program" that the government approved last December. All this is in line with the plan to make overseas dispatch the SDF's major mission in order to take part in joint operations with U.S. forces.

The U.S. Bush administration has made clear that it will not hesitate to launch a preemptive attack to overthrow any regime the U.S. dislikes. Fully observing the bilateral treaty under U.S. guidance, the Koizumi Cabinet is taking an initial step toward engaging in Japan's first war abroad since the end of WW II. The attempt to get the constitution revised is aimed to boost these dangerous plans. We cannot allow him to make the year 2005, the 60th year of post-WWII, one like a "prewar year."

Koizumi's repeated shouts of 'Reform' ended up in a number of plans to sacrifice people's standards of living. He emphasizes that the core of his 'reform' is postal privatization. But who wants it? Major banks do. Such a postal reform, if enacted, will only help destroy the nation-wide mail delivery network and remove neighborhood postal offices with their over the-counter monetary services.

Koizumi stated that he will halve the present 20 percent income tax exemption rate from January 2006 and the 15 percent residents' tax exemption from June 2006. By calling for "a drastic tax reform," he actually wants a major consumption tax increase. The need now is to halt this mass tax increase plan that will undermine the living conditions and the nation's economy.

Join hands

It appears that Koizumi's plans will be easily approved because the ruling Liberal Democratic Party have little difference with the opposition Democratic Party on the issues of the Constitution and the consumption tax. It has become obvious that criticism of and repugnance to Koizumi policies is increasing among the public. Let's join hands and stop his attempts at constitutional revision and a mass tax increase. (end)

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.