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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 December 18 - 24  > 2020 draft budget sacrifices people’s welfare and livelihoods to fund military buildup
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2019 December 18 - 24 [POLITICS]

2020 draft budget sacrifices people’s welfare and livelihoods to fund military buildup

December 21, 2019

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Abe Cabinet on December 20 decided on the 2020 draft budget with general account expenditures totaling a record-high 102.6 trillion yen. The defense budget, which has continued to grow since Prime Minister Abe Shinzo assumed office in 2012, amounts to a record 5.3 trillion yen which includes a mass purchase of U.S.-made weapons, such as F35-B fighters. On the other hand, the Abe Cabinet cut down the “natural increase” (cost-of-living adjustment) in social welfare spending, which mainly comes from the graying of the population, by 120 billion yen.

The 2020 draft budget will be submitted to and discussed in the ordinary session of the Diet scheduled for next month together with the 2019 supplementary draft budget which the Cabinet approved on December 13.

As the consumption tax rate was increased to 10% in October, revenues from this tax will reach 22 trillion yen next year and will exceed the revenue from income tax which is currently the largest tax category. In the two draft budgets, national bonds worth nearly 37 trillion yen will be issued, which need to be paid off by taxpayers. The total amount of remaining national debt will top 900 trillion yen at the end of March 2020.

In the 2020 draft budget, defense spending grew for eight years in a row since PM Abe returned to power. The government intends to pour a large amount of taxpayers’ money to buy six state-of-the-art F35-B fighters from the U.S. (79.3 billion yen) as well as to upgrade the Izumo-class escort vessels to aircraft carriers. It is also outrageous that the government plans to allocate more funds in 2020 than in 2019 to the project to construct a new U.S. base in Okinawa’s Henoko district.

Meanwhile, the government slashed spending on social welfare programs which are essential for people’s livelihoods. The draft budget allocates 411.1 billion yen for the “natural increase” in welfare program spending, 120 billion yen less than the Welfare Ministry’s initial request of 530 billion yen. The levels of payment of pension benefits will effectively decrease due to the macroeconomic slide system. The public nursing-care and medical care programs will face setbacks as well.

A government representing the public interest would levy taxes based on the ability-to-pay principle and use the money to serve the interest of the general public. In contrast, the Abe government recklessly uses taxpayers’ money to fund the military buildup and subsidize large corporations and the rich. What the government should do is lower the consumption tax rate to 5%, have large corporations and the wealthy shoulder their fair share of taxes, stop pouring money into weapons and measures to favor big businesses, and instead spend more on measures to support people’s livelihoods.

Past related articles:
> FY2020 budget requests put military buildup before improving people’s lives [September 4, 2019]
> Koike: FY2019 draft budget would ruin Japanese society [December 22, 2018]
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