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Nationwide action held in protest against consumption tax increase

On the 20th anniversary of the consumption tax on April 1, members of trade unions and other civil organizations held a day of action throughout the country opposing a consumption tax increase and demanding that food should be made consumption tax exempt.

In front of JR Shinjuku Station in central Tokyo, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo, National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) President Daikoku Sakuji, and New Japan Women's Association President Takada Kimiko appealed to the public while other participants in the action collected signatures.

Shii pointed out that during the past two decades, the general public paid a total of 213 trillion yen in consumption tax while social services, including healthcare and pensions, were adversely revised and the government revenue fell by 182 trillion yen due to corporate tax cuts.

Explaining that the Aso cabinet's plan is to raise the consumption tax rate while giving large corporations tax breaks, Shii said, "The consumption tax was introduced and its rate was increased under the pretext of improving welfare services. That is not true. The consumption tax has been used to make up for shortfalls in revenue from corporate taxes of the major corporations. "

Shii stressed, "Even those who earn no money have to bear the heavy burden of the consumption tax. The consumption tax denies people's basic right to live, which is guaranteed by Article 25 of the Japanese Constitution, and is a highly regressive tax system that 'pushes many people into poverty'."

Shii said that if the government reduces 5 trillion yen in military expenditures, including the so-called 'sympathy budget' to fund the costs for the stationing of U.S. forces in Japan, and collect a fair amount of taxes from major enterprises and the wealthy, "the government will be able to secure enough revenues to maintain social welfare services without the consumption tax." Shii called on the public to oppose the consumption tax hike during the upcoming general election campaign.

- Akahata, April 2, 2009

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