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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 December 8 - 14  > Shii: Revise supplementary budget to support people’s livelihoods and businesses severely impacted by pandemic
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2021 December 8 - 14 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Shii: Revise supplementary budget to support people’s livelihoods and businesses severely impacted by pandemic

December 10, 2021

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in his interpellation at a House of Representatives plenary session on December 9 urged Prime Minister Kishida Fumio to drastically reformulate the 2021 supplementary budget draft in order to support the recovery of people’s livelihoods and businesses severely impacted by the pandemic.

Shii noted that as pandemic-related measures, the supplementary budget draft includes funding for a program to provide cash assistance to individuals and a program to subsidize business owners’ efforts to restore their businesses. He said that the scope of these programs, however, are limited, and demanded that the government revise the programs and the budget so that as promised by PM Kishida, monetary benefits will be distributed to all people struggling with pandemic-caused financial difficulties.

Furthermore, Shii referred to the government’s plan to use the supplementary budget to finance measures to realize higher wages for healthcare, nursing-care, and childcare workers. He pointed out that this plan fails to reach the wage level demanded by these workers whose wages are 70,000-80,000 yen lower than those of other industry workers on average. He urged PM Kishida to revise the plan drastically in order to narrow this income gap.

Shii also pointed out that the budget draft contains a 400-billion-yen state subsidy for Taiwan’s major semi-conductor manufacturer and a record military spending of 773.8 billion yen. He demanded that the government use the supplementary budget for safeguarding people’s livelihoods during the pandemic period, not for excessive support for large corporations and a further military buildup.

Prior to the interpellation on the government-proposed supplementary budget draft, Shii grilled PM Kishida about his policy to handle a possible spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant.

Shii demanded that the government decide to accelerate its arrangements for the third dose booster vaccination and cancel its plan to slash the number of hospital beds. He also pushed PM Kishida to support the proposal that intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines be suspended temporarily, which was put forth by some countries, including South Africa and India, as a measure to correct vaccine inequality between the rich and poor countries. PM Kishida gave no clear response to Shii.

Along with these topics, Shii asked questions about Kishida’s policies on various issues, such as climate change, a selective sur-name system, and Japan’s intent to possess the capability to attack enemy bases.

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