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Let's fight back against government budget cuts
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Koizumi Cabinet approved on July 21 the guidelines for the FY 2007 budget request which sets forth further cuts in living-related budgets including the compression of the projected growth of social welfare expenditure by 220 billion yen.

This is the practical application of the "expenditure reform" policy which the Koizumi government included in the basic plan for structural reform adopted on July 7. The FY 2007 budget will be the gateway for a long process to shift heavier burdens onto the public.

In the past five years under the Koizumi Cabinet, living conditions have been considerably aggravated for many people.

The number of families on welfare has increased from 750,000 to 1 million, up more than 30 percent. Poverty and disparity have increased without doubt. Applications for welfare, however, have been cold-heartedly restrained and turned down, even creating victims who starved to death.

Rapidly increasing is the number of people who are unable to pay national health insurance premiums. Their health insurance cards have been invalidated and they are, in effect, unable to receive medical care.

Last year, the number of people who received insurance certificates instead of insurance cards reached 320,000, three times more than that of five years ago. They have to pay the full amount of medical expenses at hospitals and need to apply for refunds.

Being unable to pay expensive pension premiums, as many as 10 million people have been excluded from the pension system.

In addition, the tax system that imposes heavier taxes on the general public and generous tax breaks for large corporations has been worsening the living conditions.

The government is imposing heavier taxes on the elderly, causing a snowballing effect of rises in nursing-care insurance premiums and pension premiums that are linked to the amount of tax they must pay, thus threatening the elderly people's right to live.

It is the maladministration of the Liberal Democratic Party that has caused the fiscal crisis because it abnormally expanded expenditures for large-scale construction projects and the military in the 1990s and at the same time it hollowed out tax revenues by excessive tax cuts benefiting large corporations and wealthy people.

The Koizumi Cabinet, however, has preserved the sources of deficit by making them "untouchable" in accordance with the business circles' demands while shifting the burdens onto the public by trimming welfare budgets and imposing heavier taxes.

Ignoring the serious contradictions and stalemate caused by its policy, the Koizumi Cabinet is recklessly pressing ahead with the budget request guidelines based on its basic plan for structural reform.

The government is not qualified to talk about fiscal reconstruction since it is willing to give to the United States three trillion yen in order to help the U.S. military realignment, including the strengthening of the functions of U.S. bases on the U.S. territory of Guam.

Prime Minister Koizumi intends to thoroughly squeeze the public and make them scream to stop the cuts in public services, creating a pretext to raise the consumption tax rate.

The government is attempting to cut off the supply of food for the public that has been already starving. Let us fight back to foil such an outrageous scheme.
- Akahata, July 24, 2006

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