Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 July 27 - August 2  > Gov’t restoration policy ignores victims, favors businesses
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2011 July 27 - August 2 [GREAT EAST JAPAN DISASTER]

Gov’t restoration policy ignores victims, favors businesses

July 31, 2011
The basic policy on restoration following the Great East Japan Disaster decided by the government on July 29 in regard to the fishery industry stipulates that a “special zone” be created in which corporations, comprising mainly of local fishermen, can acquire fishery rights not subordinated to fishermen’s associations.

This is virtually what the government Restoration Design Council proposed on June 25 just as Miyagi Governor Murai Yoshihiro persistently called for.

Free access to fishery rights

The “special zone” proposal opens fishery rights to businesses. Amid fierce opposition from the fishermen of Miyagi and other disaster-hit areas, the Minister in charge of Restoration Hirano Tatsuo had to admit that an agreement by localities is required (June 8). The gist of the basic policy published on June 21 states that any special zone “must be based on local needs” to show that the government puts importance in getting an agreement with local fishermen.

The finalized text of the policy, however, is extraordinary in that it openly disregards the opinions of disaster-stricken fishery people. Coastal fishery people do not object to the entry of private capital in the fisheries. What they are fiercely opposed to is that the government proposal completely disregards the longstanding social order of coastal fisheries which has been carefully maintained with fishermen’s associations at the center.

Such a corporate bias is also apparent in that the basic policy supports the promotion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, making the claim that the free trade system should be maintained to help reconstruct the damaged areas and revive the Japanese economy by bringing in foreign vitality, under the slogan of “reviving Japan with vitality”.

How can the basic policy emphasize “free trade”, which is directly connected to the TPP aimed at zero tariff rates without exception, while people in agriculture describe it as “outrageous” and are deploring the expanding radioactive contamination of agricultural and dairy products and at belated government responses to their plight?

We cannot overlook the fact that the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) in its “Appeal 2011—toward creating a new Japan,” announced on July 22 calls for Japan’s “early participation” in the TPP.

To be funded by increased consumption tax

The basic policy declares a tax increase in the name of a temporary tax system and opens the way to an increased consumption tax by calling for a multi-faceted study of key taxes. On the other hand, it states that the government policy of a 5% corporate tax cut should be secured, clearly showing that no burdens will be imposed on large corporations.

Reportedly, in a hearing by the Ministry of Economy and Industry held on July 28, Nippon Keidanren and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry complained that a higher corporate tax will greatly harm economic vitality, suggesting that restoration funds be sought through an increased consumption tax.

Public opinion and movements including those of disaster victims hold a decisive key to showing how the restoration should proceed and how it should be funded.
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved