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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 25 - 31  > Public workers discuss privatization of public waterworks
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2018 July 25 - 31 [LABOR]

Public workers discuss privatization of public waterworks

July 26, 2018

Unionized public workers held a meeting to discuss the issue of privatization of public waterworks in Fukuoka City on July 22, learning that both privatization and outsourcing of public waterworks to the private sector will not benefit citizens but is intended to benefit private companies.

Lawyer Obayashi Yoshimasa, the author of several books on privatization and the quality of public services, said that local governments should go back to the principle of the Waterworks Act whose preamble stipulates, "The purpose of this Act is to supply clean, ample, and inexpensive water." As for the central government, Obayashi said that it should go back to Paragraph 2 of Article 25 of the Japanese Constitution which serves as a basis for the Waterworks Act and should endeavor to promote and extend "social welfare and security, and public health".

Obayashi warned that privatization and outsourcing of public services will be disadvantageous to not only residents but also local governments, emphasizing the need to maintain public control over water.

The important thing is, Obayashi stated, for municipalities to maintain and protect the public sector. He added that the national government should commit to providing technical and financial assistance in accordance with each region's situation.

Kishimoto Satoko, a researcher at the international research and advocacy body Transnational Institute, reported on water privatization in the U.K., which became fully privatized in 1989 under the Thatcher administration. The National Audit Office admits to the fact that privatization has not made public finances better. Kishimoto said that a movement to bring privatized services back to the public has been increasing in many countries including the U.K. and that renationalization has now become a global trend.

Past related article:
> Opposition parties oppose water privatization [July 6, 2018]
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