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'Administrative reform' will cut public services: JCP Shiokawa

The House of Representatives Special Committee on Administrative Reform on April 3 began discussing a bill to promote "administrative reform" which the Koizumi Cabinet parades as a flagship policy bill.

Japanese Communist Party representative Shiokawa Tetsuya expressed his opposition to the bill as it will set back services that directly support people's daily needs such as education, welfare, and fire-fighting.

The bill aims at reducing the number of national and local public employees by more than 5 percent and 4.6 percent respectively in five years.

However, even in the fields where the national government sets the standards of the number of local public employees, the actual number of employees is falling short of the minimum standards.

In response to Shiokawa's criticism that the bill will destroy the government-set minimum standards, Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro said, "They don't have to be public employees."

Shiokawa pointed out that lowering the government standards will lead to cutbacks in services provided by the private sector as well.
- Akahata, April 4, 2006

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