March 26, 2012
Akahata editorial (excerpts)
Retired people as well as working people are worried about the public pension system, the former due to the cutbacks in their pensions and the latter wondering if they can even get their pensions in the future.
In the name of reform of both social services and the tax system, the Democratic Party of Japan government is planning to implement further substantial cuts in pension benefits. The task now for the government should be to build a public pension system in which people can rely on for security after retirement.
More than 60% of elderly households depend exclusively on pension benefits.
National pension recipients get 50,000 yen a month on average, and there are many pensioners with smaller amounts or those not entitled to receive any pension. A serious problem is that an increasing number of young people are not paying their pension premiums or are staying out of the pension system. As full-time jobs are decreasing due to corporate restructuring, the number of young workers covered by corporate employee pension plans has substantially declined. Many young workers cannot afford to pay the high national pension premiums.
The combined “reform” plan Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko is pursuing will exacerbate the pension issue. The planned major cutbacks in pension benefits, delay in the age of eligibility from the current age of 65, which even the former Liberal Democratic Party government dared not do, and an increase in the consumption tax, will not only directly hit the livelihoods of all generations but also deprive people of trust in the national social security system. The result will be a vicious circle of increased public anxiety about the future, which in turn will decrease national consumption which will adversely impact the economy.
Worry about the future could be greatly reduced if the government restores and elevates the pension system and other social services to the level that guarantees the right of survival based on Article 25 of the Constitution. This would increase consumption and put the national economy on path toward positive growth.