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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 December 21 - 2017 January 3  > Gov’t initial budget draft epitomizes its hardline policy of arms expansion: JCP Koike
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2016 December 21 - 2017 January 3 [POLITICS]

Gov’t initial budget draft epitomizes its hardline policy of arms expansion: JCP Koike

December 23, 2016
The Abe Cabinet on December 22 decided on an initial budget draft for fiscal 2017. The total general account, which is indicative of the size of the basic national budget, will go up by 732.9 billion yen to about 97.45 trillion yen, the largest amount ever in an initial budget draft.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on the same day published a statement saying that the budget draft epitomizes the hardline Abe government move towards a buildup of armaments. His statement is as follows:

Contrary to public expectation for redress of existing “social inequalities and increasing poverty”, the budget for people’s livelihoods will be further decreased. The cost-of-living adjusted “natural increase” in spending on social security programs will be cut by 140 billion yen. Accordingly, the amount of assistance granted to elderly, disabled, and single-parent persons will also drop. The budget allocation for culture, education, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and small business entities will all decrease. Such a budget will make all the measures Abe touts as “Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens” an empty slogan. The government at last intends to create a grant-type public scholarship program but will apply this new program only to a very limited selection of students, which is far from the desire of students and parents who shoulder excessively high college tuition costs. The budget level for childcare centers is completely insufficient to eliminate children waiting for admission to authorized childcare centers. The budget will shelve both an added-on pension to low-paid pensioners and a cut in nursing-care premiums for low-income earners.

On the other hand, the military budget will keep rising for five consecutive years, reaching 5.13 trillion yen in fiscal 2017. With the purchase of F-35 stealth fighters and Global Hawk reconnaissance drones in addition to four Osprey aircraft, the government seeks to improve the country’s military capabilities. Together with the “missile defense” budget which was added to the FY2016 supplementary budget, the planned budget for a further arms buildup is fraught with danger in line with Abe’s attempt to turn Japan into a “war-capable nation”. The so-called “sympathy budget” for the U.S. forces in Japan and the budget to help the U.S. to realign its military, such as the cost for the construction of the new U.S. base in Okinawa’s Henoko, will go up dramatically. Three U.S. military-related expenditures, including spending for the Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO), will be at a record-high of 398.5 billion yen.

The budget for large-scale development projects such as for improvement in the distribution network by constructing more expressways and strategic international container wharf facilities will also be increased. The government budgets an extra 1.5 trillion yen in loans to aid for the construction cost of the Linear Chuo Shinkansen line. It will maintain the tax system favoring the wealthy. The preferential tax treatment for large corporations such as tax breaks for R&D costs will remain as well. The government intends to impose the swollen cost regarding post-crisis work at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on the general public. In contrast, the government will provide additional financial assistance to the crippled plant operator TEPCO.

National tax revenues have been on a downward trend due to repeated tax cuts for large corporations and the collapse of “Abenomics”, resulting in the financial impasse of the Abe government. The planned initial budget has come out as cold-blooded to the general public because the government seeks to make them pay for the failure of its economic policy. Abe kept beating the drum for the “trickle-down effect” and kept “depending on tax revenues from the consumption tax”. However, neither people’s livelihoods nor the national economy recovered. The need now is for the government to embark on a drastic reform in the present system of “tax collection” and “tax use”. To achieve this, the JCP demands that the government radically reconsider this budget draft.
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