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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 October 17 - 23  > Henoko, constitutional revision, and sales tax hike will become focus of debates in 197th extraordinary Diet session
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2018 October 17 - 23 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Henoko, constitutional revision, and sales tax hike will become focus of debates in 197th extraordinary Diet session

October 22 and 23, 2018
The 197th extraordinary session of the Diet, which will be convened on October 24, is the first parliamentary debate since Prime Minister Abe formed his new Cabinet early this month. The main focus will be on the Henoko base issue, PM Abe’s intent to change the pacifist Article 9 of the Constitution, the planned consumption tax hike to 10%, and the provision of a supplementary budget for disaster recovery.

Henoko base issue

In defiance of the overwhelming victory of the “All Okinawa” candidate Tamaki Denny in the Okinawa gubernatorial election, the PM Abe-led government took countermeasures against the prefectural government’s decision to revoke the Henoko landfill approval. The Abe government should honor the majority of Okinawans’ verdict delivered in the governor race and withdraw from the Henoko base project.

Adverse change to Article 9 of the Constitution

Prime Minister Abe has repeatedly expressed his intent to introduce a Liberal Democratic Party-drafted bill regarding constitutional amendments in the Commissions on the Constitution in both Houses of the Diet. However, most of the general public in every opinion poll expressed their opposition to PM Abe’s intent to propose the LDP-drafted bill to revise the Constitution during the extraordinary Diet session. The parliamentary commissions should not begin deliberations when it is obvious that the majority of the public is opposed to constitutional revision.

Consumption tax hike

With its regressive nature, the forcible implementation of a higher consumption tax rate will worsen the slump in consumer spending. A government survey on the household economy shows that compared with 2012 when the second Abe government was inaugurated, the average of annual consumption expenditures per two-or-more-person household decreased by 210,000 yen and the average of workers’ real wages dropped by 180,000 yen. The consumption tax raise to 10%, amid the weakening of the economy at the national and household levels, will exacerbate the existing poverty and socio-economic inequalities. In order to prevent a serious negative impact on people’s daily lives and the Japanese economy, the planned tax hike should be cancelled.

Supplementary budget for disaster recovery

The extraordinary Diet session will hold discussions on a government-drafted supplementary budget for 2018 which will provide support for the recovery of regions and their populace from a series of natural disasters that hit Japan this summer. As Japan repeatedly experiences major disasters, the urgent need is to revise the current counter-disaster measures and improve the government program to help disaster-affected people reconstruct their lives. In the last ordinary session of the Diet, six opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, and a parliamentary group jointly submitted a bill to upgrade the existing support measures. It is also necessary for the Diet to open debate on the bill without delay.

In addition to these themes, the “Moritomo” and “Kake” favoritism scandals and the Abe government policies in various fields such as foreign affairs and nuclear power generation will also become focal points for consideration and debate.

Past related articles:
> Consumption tax hike to 10% will lead to catastrophe in Japanese economy: JCP Koike [October 16, 2018]
> Abe uses SDF to realize his ambition to change Constitution [October 16, 2018]
> Anti-base Okinawans achieve historic victory in Okinawa governor race: JCP Chair Shii [October 1, 2018]

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