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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 October 13 - 19  > Koike in interpellation urges PM Kishida to protect people’s lives and livelihoods during pandemic
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2021 October 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Koike in interpellation urges PM Kishida to protect people’s lives and livelihoods during pandemic

October 14, 2021

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on October 13 in his interpellation at a House of Councilors plenary meeting urged Prime Minister Kishida Fumio to respond to people’s earnest demand to protect their lives and livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Koike pointed out that the Liberal Democratic-Komei coalition government under the so-called big-boned policy (Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform) intends to push ahead with a plan to reduce the number of acute-phase hospital beds by 200,000. He said, “Prime Minister Kishida, if you really seek not to repeat the failed policy in which COVID patients were forced to stay at home due to hospital bed shortages, as you stated in your policy speech, you should cancel the hospital bed reduction plan.”

However, PM Kishida expressed his intent to go ahead with the plan to cut 200,000 acute hospital beds and the big-boned policy.

Koike pointed out that the financial hardships that individuals and businesses are facing amid the pandemic have become more severe, and requested PM Kishida to provide a cash handout of 100,000 yen per person to those who suffer income losses due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Furthermore, Koike referred to the fact that rice famers are experiencing rice price shocks caused by the pandemic. As a major factor for the free fall in the rice prices, Koike pointed out that COVID-related restrictions on eating and drinking establishments sharply reduced domestic consumption of rice, leading to excessive stocks. He demanded that the government stabilize the market price with an increase in its purchase of rice for an emergency stockpile as called for by the agricultural cooperatives unions in Hokkaido and the Tohoku region as well as by the National Governors’ Association.

In response, Kishida said that the government will maintain the predetermined volume of its purchase of rice for emergency stockpile and not stop importing U.S. rice under the minimum access quota system, showing his stance to abandon rice farmers struggling with the pandemic-induced falling prices.

Past related article:
> JA’s call for gov’t measures to prevent pandemic-induced rice price collapse same as JCP and Nouminren demand [September 17, 2021]

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