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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 January 30 - February 5  > Abe intends to force people to keep working as long as possible with insufficient pension benefits: Koike
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2019 January 30 - February 5 [POLITICS]

Abe intends to force people to keep working as long as possible with insufficient pension benefits: Koike

February 2, 2019
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on February 1 in his interpellation at the House of Councilors Plenary Session refuted Prime Minister Abe’s remark in his policy speech that the transformation of the existing welfare programs into a new program benefitting all generations does not mean cuts in welfare services for the elderly.

Koike indicated that 70% of national pension recipients live only on less than two million yen in pension benefits a year. “Insufficient pension benefits have been driving more and more elderly people into poverty. Nevertheless, the Abe government plans to further cut pension payments,” Koike said.

The Abe-led government seeks to implement a policy under which in fiscal 2019 alone, the amount of pension benefits will be slashed by 0.9% in effect with the use of various measures, such as the application of a macroeconomic slide mechanism.

Koike introduced the fact that for the past seven years since the Abe government was inaugurated in 2012, the cost of living went up by 5.3% and the pension level went down by 0.8%. Koike said, “This makes it difficult for elderly people to maintain a decent quality of life.” In response, however, PM Abe only said that the government will take comprehensive steps if the situation calls for it.

Koike pointed out that PM Abe claims that he will create a society whose members stay active throughout their life, while laying restraints on pension benefits. Koike said that PM Abe’s declaration is tantamount to delivering a cruel-hearted message to the general public: “Everyone should keep working as long as medically possible without depending on public pension benefits.” PM Abe justified the government policy of lowering pension payouts by saying, “This is necessary to enable sustainable payments of pension benefits.”

Koike said, “If the Abe government really intends to change the current welfare system to one benefitting all generations, as a matter of priority, it should reduce the burden of the national health insurance tax on all generations.” PM Abe was unable to give a clear answer.

In addition, Koike criticized the government plan to convert Self-Defense Forces’ “Izumo”-class warships into aircraft carriers, along with the falsified labor statistics, the consumption tax hike, and the Henoko base project.

Koike noted that asked by the press the other day, Defense Minister Iwaya Takeshi said that Izumo worships will not become “attack aircraft carriers” while claiming that the term “attack aircraft carrier” has no clear definition. Criticizing Iwaya for using a deceptive and flawed logic, Koike said that it is unacceptable for the government to go forward with its huge military buildup.

Past related articles:
> Gov’t will impose heavier burdens on low-income elderly while setting largest-ever military buildup budget [December 14, 2018]
> Abe gov’t to allow SDF to possess aircraft carrier in violation of the Constitution [December 12, 2018]
> More and more elderly people driven into poverty under Abe’s welfare cutback policy [October 1, 2018]
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