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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 October 22 - 28  > 3,500 small business owners hold rally calling for change in politics
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2008 October 22 - 28 [ECONOMY]

3,500 small business owners hold rally calling for change in politics

October 23, 2008
More than 3,500 small business owners on October 22 held a rally at the Hibiya Amphitheater in central Tokyo to pledge to fight against government policies that force them to endure hardships. A banner carried by participants marching in demonstration through a business district in Tokyo after the rally read, “Use tax revenues to relieve us instead of caring for the U.S. forces!”

Speaking on behalf of the organizers, National Federation of Traders and Producers Organizations (Zenshoren) President Kokubun Minoru said that small businesses are experiencing a financial crunch due to banks’ reluctance to lend money to them and their forcible debt collection practices against them in addition to the rising prices of oil and raw materials and cuts in unit prices paid to suppliers.

Citing the fact that Japan spends nine billion yen a year on the refueling mission for U.S. and other foreign warships in the Indian Ocean, Kokubun said: “If the government has that amount of money to assist the U.S. forces, it should use it to help Japan’s small- and medium-sized businesses. Let us give a verdict on political parties that are competing for a structural reform policy that devastates smaller businesses in order to serves the interests of large corporations and the geopolitical interests of the United States.”

Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member Yoshii Hidekatsu reported on the current Diet situation.

A Zenshoren survey found that 80 percent of small business establishments say that the cost for raw materials and other products has gone up. About 70 percent of the respondents said that they have experienced declines in sales. In contrast, only about four percent said that their business generally has improved.

A trucking business owner complained, “I cannot have a positive outlook because of a series of negative things taking place, like fuel price increases and the intensified rat race mentality of the industry.”

A builder said, “We haven’t built a new house for two years. We now manage to survive by doing house renovations. We are falling further and further behind the major housing makers in sales.”

A restaurant owner said, “I am having difficulty in staying in business due to a sharp decline in the number of customers.”

A machinery manufacturer said, “We seldom receive orders for equipment due to domestic deindustrialization.”
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