FY 05 draft budget passes through House of Representatives

The 82 trillion yen FY 2005 budget which the mass media called a step toward a major tax increase was railroaded through the House of Representatives on March 2 with the majority votes of the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties.

The Japanese Communist, Social Democratic, and Democratic parties voted against. The JCP's motion calling for recompiling the draft at the budget committee meeting was rejected.

Under the new budget, the fixed-rate income tax cuts will be scaled down by half in 2005 and abolished in 2006. This will amount to a 3.3 trillion yen tax increase in the next two years. This, in addition to the government policy of almost doubling the present 5 percent consumption tax rate in FY 2007, will total 7 trillion yen in tax increases.

Later, speaking to reporters, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo criticized the Koizumi Cabinet for trying to force people to endure massive increases in various taxes and public charges without showing its plan for financial reconstruction.

The JCP is determined to fight the anti-democratic budget in the House of Councilors, Shii said.

At the Lower House plenary session, JCP vice chair Ishii Ikuko stated, "I must warn that the 2005 draft budget will cause another serious failure in Japan's economic policy following the 1997 failure of the Hashimoto Ryutaro government's 9 trillion yen burden that raised the consumption tax rate and medical charges. Japan's economic recovery will be delayed by such a failure."

"Instead, vast wasteful expenditures on the construction of the Kansai International Airport (2nd term) and the 5.8 trillion yen budget exclusively for road construction must be drastically cut," Ishii insisted. The cost for sending the Self-Defense Forces overseas must be cut by shifting to a disarmament policy, she asserted. (end)

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