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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 January 29 - February 4  > JCP clashes with LDP over social security policies
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2014 January 29 - February 4 [WELFARE]

JCP clashes with LDP over social security policies

February 3, 2014
The Abe government is aiming to further weaken the current social security system. In line with the bill to adversely change the social security system which was forcibly enacted in December, the administration is planning to submit to the Diet bills to revise relevant laws for the worse.

The act for promotion of social security system reform requires the government to set up a system where people will be forced to support themselves and not turn to public assistance. This goes against the basic idea of Article 25 of the Japanese Constitution that the state should provide necessary social services to people in need. The reform also neglects the state’s duty to “use its endeavors for the promotion and extension” of social security, which is required by the article.

In the medical field, the government is attempting to cut the number of hospital beds from the current 2.02 million to 1.59 million by 2025. This move will inevitably lead to driving inpatients out of hospitals and creating “medical refugees” with no place to go.

Problems of illness and aging cannot be resolved by just individual efforts. That is why social security programs have been established.

Japan’s public assistance system started as the Poor Relief Regulation in 1874. After World War II, the Livelihood Protection Law was established in 1950 under the current Constitution. The public assistance system, which was at first “charity” from the state, has come to be based on fundamental human rights.

Prime Minister Abe insists that his government will help “people in real need”. This is the same claim made by the prewar Poor Relief Regulation, which attached greater importance to mutual assistance among the public and not to the state’s responsibility for those in need. It is turning the clock back in regard to social welfare programs to the Meiji era 140 years ago.

The platform of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party states that it places importance on creating self-supporting individuals and establish a system in which people help one another and get public assistance as a last resort. As shown, “self-reliance” is regarded as the top priority, but “public assistance” is just supplementary at best.

In contrast, the Program of the Japanese Communist Party states that it will “work to improve human rights protection in accordance with changing social and economic conditions.” It also provides that the party will make every effort to “improve and establish a comprehensive social security system as the basic system that supports the living conditions of people of all strata.”

The JCP 26th Congress Resolution criticizes the government for dismantling social security programs one after another, saying that the “reform” by the administration is to destroy the social security system, eliminate public support for the vulnerable sections of society, and forcibly drive them into a state of “self-reliance”. The resolution calls on the public to stand up to fight for a social security system based on constitutional human rights.

While the Abe Cabinet is just calling for cuts in social benefits and increases in the burden on families and individuals, the JCP puts forward a drastic counterproposal: secure financial resources for the improvement of social security programs by requiring large corporations to share fair burdens that will help revitalize Japan’s economy through boosting people’s incomes; and carry out a plan to rebuild the social security system and develop it to an advanced-level in the world.

The confrontation between the JCP and the LDP is clear as well in the field of social security.

As Article 97 of the Constitution states that the fundamental human rights “are fruits of the age-old struggle of man to be free”, social security has been “won” by people’s struggles, not provided by those in power.

It has increasingly become vital to step up the movement to strike back at the government’s attempts to weaken social welfare programs with the power of social solidarity, and to re-create the social security system in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution.
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