Japan Press Weekly
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Shii criticizes Asofs policy speech and calls for drastic changes in policies
While the opposition Democratic Party and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are engaging in a blame game apparently with a general election in mind, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo used his question time in the House of Representatives on October 2 to criticize Prime Minister Aso Tarofs policy speech and to call for drastic changes that will create policies that put people before anything else.
Shii specified a number of cases in which contingent workers are ill-treated at large corporations like Toyota Motor Corp., where a large number of temporary workers were dismissed this summer on short notice. He also cited another case in which a whistleblower that exposed the illegal use of temporary workers disguised as independent contractors was fired. Shii said, gMr. Prime Minister, do you think that the government can continue to remain silent when large corporations are using contingent workers as disposable labor or as adjustment valves?
Aso answered, gThe government will provide guidance for large corporations and other users of temporary workers to secure jobs for such workers.h
Healthcare insurance program for elderly aged 75 and over
Pointing out that people are infuriated by the very premise of the new health insurance system that excludes senior citizens from the existing health insurance program, Shii demanded that the program in question be abolished. He said, gYou cannot diminish public anxieties with cheap tricks.h
The prime minister said, gAbolishing the program would not be the solution.h
Shii further demanded that the government cancel the plan to hold down the growth of expenditures on social services by 220 billion yen each year. Aso refused to discontinue the cuts by stating, gWe will stay the course.h
Resources for social welfare services
In order to secure the resources for social services without depending on a higher consumption tax rate, Shii proposed eliminating wasteful expenditures, including cuts in the five-trillion yen military expenditure and by forcing large corporations and the wealthy to pay more in tax using a progressive tax system.
Aso said, gThe consumption tax is an important revenue source to support a sustainable social security system,h and rejected Shiifs call for cuts in the military budget and abolition of subsidies to political parties. gThey are indispensable expenses,h the prime minister said.
Food and agriculture
On the need to increase the countryfs self-sufficiency in food, Shii suggested that the government guarantee producer prices, compensate family farmersf incomes, and stop importing foreign produce without restrictions.
Aso said that an income compensation system is backward looking. He said nothing about restricting imports.
Shii stressed that it is necessary for the Japanese economy to shift focus to depend on domestic demand instead of foreign demand and put greater emphasis on improving the household economy rather than the profits of large corporations in order to pave the way for the healthy economic development of the nation.
Shii stated that LDP policies are extraordinarily subservient to large corporations and the United States and are causing anxieties and suffering. He concluded his speech by stating, gThe JCP will open the way for a Japan that puts people first, guided by the Constitution.h - Akahata, October 3, 2008
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