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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 April 22 - May 12  > Shii gives solidarity speech in online May Day rally
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2020 April 22 - May 12 [LABOR]

Shii gives solidarity speech in online May Day rally

May 2, 2020
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on May 1 appeared in the 91st May Day rally held online amid the coronavirus crisis to deliver a speech in solidarity.

Followings are excerpts of his speech.

Representing the Japanese Communist Party, I would like to express my heartfelt solidarity with workers across Japan who are viewing this virtual May Day rally.

The urgent need now is to protect people’s livelihoods and businesses during the coronavirus crisis. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it has been necessary for the government to make stay-at-home and business suspension requests. However, such requests should be accompanied by compensation programs.

The government should drastically upgrade the existing employment adjustment subsidy to a special subsidy program to cope with the coronavirus epidemic in order to swiftly provide financial support to coronavirus-affected businesses. In addition, it should take measures similar to that in the U.K. to guarantee workers, self-employed, and freelancers 80% of their earnings (up to 300,000 yen a month). The government should also provide small business owners who are on the verge of bankruptcy with financial aid covering their rents and other fixed costs. Let us work hard to push the government to implement these measures.

The arts, culture, and sports sectors play a vital role in society. Let us work to win government support for the economic survival of people in these sectors.

Amid the ongoing crisis, large companies began making moves to dismiss non-regular workers by such means as the termination of the use of agency workers. We have to stop this move. Let us push large corporations to use part of their internal reserves to fulfill their social responsibility to maintain employment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised with people in Japan as well as in other countries questions regarding present social politics.

The global health crisis has laid bare the utter failure of neoliberal policies, which seeks to leave everything to the market mechanism and help companies maximize their profits. Prime examples of the failure of neoliberalism can be found in the tragic situations in Italy and Spain which decreased their medical expenses under austerity policies imposed by Brussels. Japan should seriously reflect on its policies of slashing healthcare expenses, reducing hospital beds, and defunding public health centers.

The coronavirus hits the poor harder than the rich. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the seriousness of the issue of poverty and inequalities domestically and globally.

Let us work to build a better future for a post-coronavirus Japanese society. Let us work together to create a society which places high value on social security services, builds worker-oriented labor rules, and enables everyone to live a decent quality of life.

Past related article:
> JCP: Cash benefits of 100,000 yen per capita practical [April 17, 2020]
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