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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 October 10 - 16  > Women small traders demand betterment of their social position
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2007 October 10 - 16 [ECONOMY]

Women small traders demand betterment of their social position

October 11, 2007
About 1,900 women small traders on October 10 took part in the 10th national rally for advancement of their social status and improvement of government measures to support them in Tokyo, organized by the National Federation of Traders and Producers Organizations (Zenshoren) women’s group.

After the rally, participants marched in demonstration to the Diet, shouting in chorus, “Protect small businesses and living standards of small-sized business owners! Defend the rights of women small traders!”

Imai Hatsue, a 63-year-old participant whose husband died from overwork a week after she was hospitalized for overwork, said, “No matter how hard I work, I can barely make a living because compensation for my work is not counted as business expenses under the current Income Tax Law.”

Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member Yoshii Hidekatsu encouraged participants, “Let’s work together to change government policies so that small business owners can work with pride and joy!”

The participants submitted to the government a petition calling for measures to improve women small traders’ social and economic status.

They also made representations to seven ministries and agencies, including the Labor Ministry, calling for the abolition of the Income Tax Law provision that excludes compensation for family members’ work from business expenses, cancellation of an increase in the consumption tax rate, levying residential tax based on ability to pay, and putting back the residential tax rate raised recently to the previous level.

Amid cutbacks in welfare service programs and heavier tax burdens imposed by the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties, women small traders are running their businesses while doing housework and raising children.

However, they have no protection such as cash benefits for accidents, and ill, or childbirth. They are virtually unable to receive compensation for their work because of the income tax system. A Zenshoren Women’s Group survey shows that due to difficulties of making a living, 62 percent of women in family-run small businesses have part-time jobs in addition to running their businesses.
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