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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 May 8 - 14  > Use of revenues from sales tax hike to 10% to ease financial burden of higher education is inappropriate: JCP Kira
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2019 May 8 - 14 [POLITICS]

Use of revenues from sales tax hike to 10% to ease financial burden of higher education is inappropriate: JCP Kira

May 11, 2019

A bill to provide financial support to higher education students from low-income households became law on May 10 in the House of Councilors plenary session by the majority vote of the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties. This new measure will be financed by revenues from the consumption tax increase to 10%.

Prior to the vote, Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kira Yoshiko used her question time to oppose the bill.

As the major reason for opposing, Kira pointed out that the bill states that new revenues from a 2%-increase in the consumption tax rate scheduled for October will go toward a program to provide financial assistance to needy students in universities and other tertiary education institutions.

Kira pointed out that this statement means that if the program is improved to cover more students in need, it consequently will force the general public to bear an even higher rate consumption tax. Kira said, “Given the highly regressive nature of the consumption tax inflicting heavier burdens especially on low-income earners, it is simply absurd to allocate the consumption tax revenue to a subsidy program for low-income students.”

Kira urged the government to stop introducing programs that would impose a heavier consumption tax on the general public under the pretext of making tertiary education free.

Kira also noted that in Diet deliberations, the Education Minister admitted that the bill, even if enacted, will not work to reduce tuition fees and does not contain any provision ensuring tuition-free higher education. Kira criticized the government for deceiving the general public by intentionally using the words “tuition free” to explain the bill.

Kira said that if the government really seeks to ease the financial burdens of higher education, it should at least revise the loan-type scholarship program so that students can use the program free of interest.

Past related articles:
> Student loan-induced bankruptcy on rise under Abe government [January 21, 2019]
> Japan comes last in public spending on education among OECD countries for 2 consecutive years [September 13, 2018]

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