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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 May 19 - 25  > LDP bulldozes through hospital bed reduction bill in midst of expansion of COVID-19 emergency
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2021 May 19 - 25 TOP3 [POLITICS]

LDP bulldozes through hospital bed reduction bill in midst of expansion of COVID-19 emergency

May 22, 2021
The Suga government on May 21 announced its decision to add the prefecture of Okinawa to the state of emergency that at present covers nine prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka. On this day at the House of Councilors plenary session, the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties and the Nippon Ishin no Kai party used their majority force to enact a bill to reduce the number of hospital beds. The Japanese Communist Party and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan voted against the bill.

Prior to the vote at the plenary session, JCP lawmaker Kurabayashi Akiko took the rostrum to oppose the bill. She criticized the bill for introducing a subsidy program to promote hospital bed reductions with the use of revenues from the consumption tax which was introduced under the pretext of improving medical and welfare services.

Kurabayashi pointed out that if the program is implemented, 10,000 hospital beds will disappear by the end of this fiscal year. She said that under the situation in which the pandemic exposed the vulnerability of Japan’s healthcare system, the government should stop using tax revenues to reduce hospital beds and instead spend more to support struggling medical institutions and frontline workers.

Stating that amid the pandemic, many lives which could have been saved were not saved, the JCP lawmaker stressed that in order to prevent a recurrence of such a situation, it is vital to maintain the availability of an adequate number healthcare workers and facilities in case of epidemics. She added that in order to achieve this, the government should drastically increase the number of doctors and nurses and improve the nation’s medical system.

Past related article:
> Suga gov’t sticks to policy of decreasing number of hospital beds in midst of COVID-19 pandemic [March 4, 2021]
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