Japan Press Weekly
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Various actions held against tax, medical, and welfare policies
On October 1, as the Extraordinary Session of the Diet held the plenary session devoted to party representativesf questioning, labor unions and democratic organizations staged protests in Tokyo against cutbacks in social services, the introduction of the discriminatory health insurance system for the elderly aged 75 and over, and the tax increase policy.
Against health insurance system for elderly
About 700 people held a sit-in in front of the Diet calling for the abolition of the new health insurance system for people aged 75 and older. They submitted about 1.2 million signatures bearing the demand for its abolition.
The Central Council for Promotion of Social Security held a rally in the Diet to share experiences in local activities in opposition to the new health insurance system.
Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member Takahashi Chizuko, referring to the government talking about the need to greviseh the system, said to the participants in the action, gExtra-parliamentary activities and JCP representatives efforts in the Diet have driven the government to respond.h
Secretary General Yamada Minoru said, gInstead of allowing the government to erevisef the system a year later, we call for the enactment of a bill to abolish it.h
After the rally, participants visited all House of Representatives members calling for the system to be abolished.
Opposition to consumption tax increase
About 20 representatives of the Liaison Council against the Consumption Tax made representations to the Diet and submitted about 7,000 signatures in protest against an increase in the consumption tax rate.
At a rally held prior to the representations, Nishimura Fusao, vice president of the National Federation of Producersf and Tradersf Organizations (Zenshoren), referred to public polls showing that about 60 percent of citizens are opposed to a consumption tax increase to supposedly generate funds for social welfare services. He called on the participants to make efforts in the upcoming general election to pave the way for new policies that will reflect growing opposition to the consumption tax raise.
JCP Lower House member Sasaki Kensho said, gLet us make the upcoming general election an opportunity to give a verdict to the Aso Cabinet which calls for a consumption tax increase in 2010.h
Stop price hikes
About 200 members of the New Japan Womenfs Association (Shinfujin) marched in demonstration through the upscale shopping district of the Ginza, demanding measures against price hikes and full disclosure of the use of tainted foreign rice for food.
Demonstrators held placards reading, gNo more price increase!h and gHouseholds cannot bear any more!h
Abe Reiko, who marched with her two daughters, 7 and 3 years olds, said, gI am trying to refrain from spending money as much as possible. But I want my children to eat as much safe food as they want.h - Akahata, October 2, 2008
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