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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 October 31 - November 6  > PM Abe pretends to be ignorant of his maladministration during JCP interpellation
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2018 October 31 - November 6 TOP3 [POLITICS]
editorial 

PM Abe pretends to be ignorant of his maladministration during JCP interpellation

November 1, 2018
Akahata editorial

Diet debates on Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s policy speech took place on October 30 at the House of Representatives and October 31 at the House of Councilors. Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo and Vice Chair Yamashita Yoshiki took the rostrums at both Houses respectively. They grilled PM Abe about his stance toward the construction of a new U.S. base in Okinawa, the consumption tax, the Constitution, disaster recovery, and nuclear power generation along with his political ethics. They also proposed ways to overcome problems Japan is facing. PM Abe shut his ears to JCP lawmakers’ rational arguments and just repeated the “beside the point” phrase to justify his maladministration. Abe often uses the word “sincere”, but it is empty of all meaning. PM Abe only takes a “so-what” attitude without admitting to failures in his policies. He must step down as prime minister.

Abe frequently repeats ‘missing the point’ phrase

The Abe administration carries out heavy-handed policies in defiance of public objections. Such a stance specifically reflects the government’s hard line on the construction of a new U.S. base in Okinawa’s Henoko district. In the Okinawa gubernatorial election in September, anti-base candidate Tamaki Denny won an outright victory, which represented Okinawans’ overwhelming opposition to the new U.S. base construction. However, the Abe government refuses to engage in dialogue and instead employs hostile approaches to the critical situation as shown in the Land Minister’s unjust decision to suspend the prefectural government’s revocation of the Henoko landfill approval.

JCP Chair Shii in his interpellation criticized PM Abe for implementing measures that ignore democracy and rule by law by saying, “How dare you say that you will ‘snuggle up to’ the people of Okinawa.” Abe in reply only repeated, “Your criticism is beside the point. We implement only necessary measures”, showing no remorse over the outrageous acts. This shed light on the fact that although Abe claims that he takes the Okinawa election results “seriously” and explains the government position in a “sincere” manner, he has no willingness to cancel the base construction.

Take a look at the government plan to increase the consumption tax rate to 10% in October next year. Shii pointed out that reduction in consumer spending has continued since the forcible implementation of the tax raise to 8% in 2014, and said that under this circumstance, the tax hike to 10%, equivalent to imposing an additional five trillion yen-burden on households, will deliver a catastrophic impact on the Japanese economy. Shii explained that at the time of the previous tax hike, the Abe government carried out various measures to avoid negative effects on the economy, but they did not work. He urged PM Abe to cancel the planned tax increase.

In response, Abe just insisted that the government will implement all possible measures to prevent harmful effects on the economy, showing no sign of willingness to engage in honest discussions. A tax reform that the government should introduce would be to have the super-rich and large corporations shoulder a fair share of taxes for the purpose of securing enough financial resources for social welfare, child-rearing support, and education programs.

Members of the Self-Defense Forces are strictly required by law to maintain their political neutrality. However, Abe emphasized his ambition to amend Article 9 of the Constitution in front of SDF personnel when he recently attended a meeting of SDF high-ranking officers and a review of troops. This is an unprecedented act and is an extremely controversial act among Abe’s constitutional revision attempts. Criticizing Abe for disregarding a constitutional requirement under Article 99 stipulating that cabinet ministers have to respect and uphold the Constitution, Shii said that what Abe did was a denial of constitutionalism and an attempt to use the supreme law for his personal interest. Abe in reply said that Shii’s remark is off the point. Abe, who has no respect for the Constitution, is unqualified for talking about constitutional amendments.

Prime Minister with low ethical standards should step down

PM Abe is reluctant to amend the law in order to provide public support for disaster victims. He refused to squarely respond to topics raised by Yamashita, such as a revision of the current energy policy that depends too much on nuclear power, measures to protect foreign workers’ human rights, and trade talks with the U.S.

Abe made insincere responses to questions concerning his alleged involvement in the “Moritomo” and “Kake” favoritism scandals. It was earlier this year that the Finance Ministry was found to have doctored official documents in regard to the Moritomo scandal. In response to JCP lawmakers’ interpellation, Abe tried to escape his responsibility for this matter by claiming that he obtained public approval for his handling of the scandals in the general election last year. Despite the document falsification and other scandals by the Finance Ministry, Abe shamelessly reappointed Finance Minister Aso Taro in the recent Cabinet reshuffle. Abe’s lack of ethics is becoming even more evident.

The urgent need now is to put an end to the Abe Cabinet, the worst Cabinet in the post-war Japan’s history, which continues its acts of maladministration in defiance of public opposition.

Past related articles:
> Abe’s policy speech completely dodges scandals both new and old [ October 25, 2018]
> Okinawa governor criticizes filing of complaint against revocation of approval for Henoko landfill [October 18, 2018]
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