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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 24 - 30  > Shii to Abe: Gov’t should slash financial support for US military instead of slashing welfare benefits
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2018 January 24 - 30 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Shii to Abe: Gov’t should slash financial support for US military instead of slashing welfare benefits

January 26, 2018
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in a plenary meeting of the House of Representatives on January 25 took up the issues of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s favoritism scandals, people’s livelihoods, nuclear power generation, U.S. bases in Okinawa, and Abe’s attack on Article 9. Concerning the issue of people’s livelihoods, Shii demanded the withdrawal of Abe’s plan to slash welfare benefit payments.

In the Diet interpellation, Shii said that during the last five years under the Abe government, the amount of large corporations’ internal reserves has reached 400 trillion yen and assets held by the super-rich have tripled. He added that on the other hand, workers’ annual income decreased by as much as 150,000 yen. He asked Abe if he is aware of the growing poverty and the widening disparity between the rich and the poor.

In response, while making no mention about corporate internal reserves and wage declines, Abe insisted that the economic inequality and poverty have not increased by citing misleading statistical data.

Shii pointed out that the 2018 budget draft includes a large cutback in social welfare payments and that it was only five years ago that the Abe government reduced the payments by up to 10%. He noted that the planned cut will deliver a heavy blow to welfare recipient households with children. Shii said that a recipient couple with two children living in an urban area, for example, will suffer a 108,000-yen cut a year, which means that this family will have 370,000 yen less in welfare benefits compared to the amount received before 2013.

Shii quoted Abe as saying in his policy speech that the government will improve support for children in welfare recipient households. He said to Abe, “What you are doing is totally opposite to what you promised.”

Shii stressed that the welfare benefit payments should be raised back to the pre-2013 level. Referring to the government explanation that the cuts in social welfare payments is necessary to save 16 billion yen in government expenditures, Shii proposed that the government cancel the planned increase of 19.5 billion yen in the “sympathy budget” and other financial support for the U.S. forces in Japan.

Past related article:
> Gov’t plan to cut welfare payments will threaten recipients’ right to live [January 10, 2018]
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