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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 March 23 - 29  > JCP Dietmen pressing gov’t for relief of victims
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2011 March 23 - 29 [GREAT EAST JAPAN DISASTER]

JCP Dietmen pressing gov’t for relief of victims

March 24-26, 2011
Japanese Communist Party Dietmembers are pressing the government to do what it can immediately do to help relieve disaster victims.

March 25, House of Representatives
Kokuta Keiji at the land committee proposed that the 600 billion yen the government intends to allocate to another large development project involving five harbors be used for post-disaster recovery.

He pointed out that the 14 main ports in the tsunami-stricken region need more than one trillion yen to recover.

Sasaki Kensho at the fiscal committee stated that in order to increase financial resources for disaster reconstruction, the government should end the continuing tax breaks for large corporations.

He also suggested that the government extend the due date of tax payment for residents in the affected areas and exempt them from paying penalties for delay in filing returns.

Shiokawa Tetsuya at a cabinet committee meeting urged the national government to give assistance to eight local governments which had to relocate their municipal offices outside their towns or villages due to the continuing crisis at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

He emphasized, “To maintain municipality functions of providing welfare for residents will be of prime importance.”

March 25, House of Councilors
Daimon Mikishi in the financial committee demanded that the government issue a bond to finance reconstruction of regions devastated by the Great East Japan Disaster and call on large corporations and the wealthy to purchase the construction bond.

Kami Tomoko at the Upper House agriculture committee demanded that the government make the utmost effort that goes beyond the current legal framework in order to revitalize the fishing industry in Hokkaido and Tohoku regions hammered by the March 11 disaster.

At a welfare committee meeting, Takahashi Chizuko called on the government to urgently eliminate the ceiling on public nursing-care services, citing examples in which many disaster victims cannot receive enough services at evacuation centers due to limits on benefits provided by the nursing-care insurance.

Tamura Tomoko at the welfare committee meeting demanded that the government take a special measure to provide victims unemployment benefits.

“Unemployment benefits must be immediately issued to victims in order to help them meet living expenses,” stressed Tamura, who also requested an increase in the number of labor department staff to enable a swift distribution of the public benefits in the disaster-hit areas.

March 24, House of Councilors
In regard to nuclear accidents, Ichida Tadayoshi at a meeting of the environment committee criticized the atomic energy administration for having touted the “safety myth” of nuclear energy, claiming that there would not be any chance of critical accidents and for paying little heed to security measures in order to blindly promote nuclear power plants.

He said, “Authorities should realize what is going on is a man-made disaster and should take the appropriate response to handle the situation and to prevent future disasters.”

Tamura Tomoko at a welfare committee meeting demanded that the health and welfare ministry establish a unified system so that municipalities and medical institutions can share information regarding vacant beds and available medical equipment.

She pointed out that a growing number of victims are dying at hospitals or evacuation centers even though they survived the quake and tsunami, and called for the practical use of vacant sickbeds at national hospitals for the elderly and disabled evacuees.

Daimon Mikishi at a fiscal committee meeting took up the issue of life and nonlife insurance payments associated with damage in the Great East Japan Disaster and said, “The Financial Services Agency should instruct each insurance firm to properly pay the insurance claims.”

Citing examples in which some people do not even know if their deceased or missing family members were policyholders, he said, “Proper insurance payment will be a lifeline for the bereaved families to enable them to continue on with their lives.”

At another committee, Daimon demanded that the government compensate local farmers for contaminated farm products caused by the radiation leakage from the Fukushima nuclear power plant and prevent harmful rumors regarding vegetables produced in the disaster-hit region from spreading.

Inoue Satoshi at a legal affairs committee meeting urged the government to respect property rights when removing rubble and give legal information to those who lost their household possessions in the quake, fires, or tsunami.

He also proposed that the government increase the fund for the Civil Legal Aid System in preparation for an expected increase in legal expenses, and give legal advice on rental housing and on rebuilding homes.

In regard to radioactivity-tainted farm products, Kami Tomoko stressed the need for the government to secure compensation for local farmers.

March 23, House of Representatives
In order to secure accommodation for survivors, Kokuta Keiji at a land committee meeting suggested that the government take over privately-rented housing complexes in order to lease them to victims as rent-free temporary dwellings.

He said, “The next step toward reconstruction is for the government to secure housing for all evacuees.”

At a fiscal committee meeting, Sasaki Kensho pressed the government to take the victims into special consideration in regard to finance and taxes.

He cited the reality that utility charges are continuing to be automatically withdrawn from the bank accounts of the deceased or of those who no longer receive utility services due to the loss of their homes in the quake and tsunami, and stated, “Electronic withdrawals should be stopped.”

As for national healthcare, nursing-care, and elderly people’s healthcare insurance premium payments, he said, “Automatic deductions from pension benefits should also be stopped.”

Mitamoto Takeshi called for urgent assistance to be given to pupils, students, and teachers at schools in the devastated community.

At an education committee meeting, he proposed that teachers and school administrators throughout Japan cooperate to reduce children’s fears and protect their mental and physical health. He also urged authorities to give out necessary textbooks and school supplies, subsidize school expenses, and facilitate scholarship programs and student loans.
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