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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 October 14 - 20  > Advisors to PM Suga side with the strong and are crushing the weak
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2020 October 14 - 20 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Advisors to PM Suga side with the strong and are crushing the weak

October 15, 2020

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has, since taking office, held meetings with advisors from the private sector whose views side with the strong and harm the weak.

On September 18, Suga met with Pasona Group Chairman Takenaka Heizo who had played a leading role in implementing the "structural reform" policy which increased poverty and widened social disparities under the Koizumi government. Takenaka still holds an important position in the government council on National Strategic Special Zones.

In his own book proposing blueprints for a post-corona Japan, he states, "The ongoing pandemic provides a great opportunity for reform promotion," and calls for various "reforms" taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis. He (in the book) insists on deregulation of labor laws and states, "Most Japanese companies pay wages in proportion to working hours, but this way prevents telework from becoming truly common in Japan." In his opinion, social disparities in digital-capitalist economies will inevitably be an order of magnitude greater than today. He advocates a peculiar "basic income" system of paying "everyone 70,000 yen each a month" in exchange for the "abolition of social security programs such as pensions and public livelihood assistance".

On September 21, PM Suga had a meeting with Keio University professor Takemori Shunpei and Suntory Holdings President Niinami Takeshi, both members of the government Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy. Takemori is a figure who stresses the need to implement a system to evaluate workers based on achievement and not on the number of hours worked. Niinami presses the government to reorganize and merger public hospitals and publicly-owned medical institutions even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

PM Suga met with Watase Yuya, an adjunct researcher of Waseda University Institute of Public Policy, on September 27. He supports the privatization of public schools and a monetary settlement system for dismissals.

Asahi Shimbun on October 14 reported that PM Suga decided to appoint David Atkinson, a business executive and former chief banking analyst at Goldman Sachs, to the newly-established government "Council on Growth Strategy".

Atkinson says that Japan has had low productivity in recent years because there are too many small firms and that the number of small companies in Japan should be reduced by half to 1.6 million. He calls for the Small and Medium Enterprises Basic Act to be revised in order to facilitate mergers, integration, and shakeout of small companies so that "Japan's industrial structure can be centered on large corporations and leading medium-sized enterprises".

Past related articles:
> PM Suga’s media control infringes on people’s right to know [October 5, 2020]
> Media workers and concerned citizens join forces to resist gov't control over media [October 5, 2020]
> PM Suga, the driving force behind change in official constitutional interpretation [October 4, 2020]
> PM Suga excludes scientists critical of war laws from Japan Science Council [October 1, 2020]
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