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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 November 21 - 27  > JCP Shii holds talks with prime minister
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2007 November 21 - 27 TOP3 [POLITICS]

JCP Shii holds talks with prime minister

November 23, 2007
Shii urged the prime minister to engage in diplomatic efforts to eradicate terrorism, investigate the defense scandal, and increase the social welfare budget.

Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo, who is also Liberal Democratic Party president, had talks separately with five other party heads on November 22.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in the talks urged the prime minister to engage in diplomatic efforts to eradicate terrorism, investigate the defense scandal, and increase the social welfare budget.

Shii expressed opposition to an anti-terrorism special measures bill to resume the Maritime Self-Defense Force refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. He emphasized that Japan should make diplomatic efforts to promote the peace process in Afghanistan and put an end to military operations that stand in the way of Afghan peace efforts.

Fukuda in reply said, “Peace negotiations take time. Such negotiations should be conducted in parallel with military operations.”

Shii asked Fukuda whether he considers the entire Taliban as a force to be militarily targeted.

Fukuda revealed that he simply follows what the United States says without knowing the situation in Afghanistan, when he said, “I don’t know much about the reality of the Taliban.”

Concerning the defense scandal involving a minister and high level bureaucrats, Shii demanded that the prime minister uncover the facts in order to fulfill his responsibility as the appointer of the minister and as the supreme commander of the Self-Defense Forces.

Fukuda, however, said, “What do you want me to do? I have no such authority.”

Shii criticized the prime minister for regarding the scandal as someone else’s problem.

Finally, Shii urged Fukuda to put an end to the government policy of reducing by 220 billion yen every year the projected increase in welfare services needed due to the aging population.

Shii then asked whether the prime minister intends to finance social welfare programs by increasing the consumption tax rate.

“There is no other choice,” Fukuda said.

In the talks with Democratic Party President Ozawa Ichiro, Fukuda proposed to set up a consultative body between parties to discuss the enactment of a permanent law to enable the government to deploy the SDF abroad at any time as well as a reform of the social welfare system.

Fukuda decided to establish such a body in his talks with Komei Party Chief Representative Ota Akihiro, the LDP’s coalition partner, held prior to the talks with opposition party heads. Fukuda did not bring up the issue in his talks with other opposition parties, including the JCP, revealing his intention to shape basic national policies only by the ruling parties and the DPJ.

Ozawa expressed opposition to such a body. However, he adopted a positive stance towards the need for debate on the enactment of a permanent law.
- Akahata, November 23, 2007
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