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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 October 18 - 24  > Over 3K people rally to demand substantial increase in gov’t spending on healthcare, nursing-care, and welfare
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2023 October 18 - 24 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Over 3K people rally to demand substantial increase in gov’t spending on healthcare, nursing-care, and welfare

October 20, 2023

Seeking to push the government to increase its budget for medical, nursing-care, and welfare services, a rally took place on October 19 at Tokyo’s Hibiya Amphitheater with 3,100 people participating.

Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions (Iroren) Chair Sasaki Etsuko delivered a speech on behalf of the organizing committee consisting of medical organizations and trade unions. She criticized the Kishida government move for carrying out deregulation of healthcare and nursing-care and said that it is unacceptable for the government to ignore people’s demand for the improvement of these services. She called on the participants to work together to change the government stance to one working to improve medical and nursing-care services and protect people’s lives and human rights.

Japanese Communist Party Dietmembers Tamura Tomoko, Kurabayashi Akiko, and Kira Yoshiko attended the rally along with Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers.

Delivering a speech in solidarity, Tamura introduced the JCP economic recovery plan and stressed that the offering of better healthcare and welfare services will contribute to eliminating people’s anxieties regarding their future, which will give a boost to the economy. She expressed her determination to work hard to attract public support for the JCP demand that the government spend more on medical care and welfare programs.

Representatives of labor unions and medical organizations also spoke on the stage.

A representative of the National Union of Welfare and Childcare Workers (Fukushi-hoikuro), Yanagisawa Mariko, who works as a childcare worker in Gunma Prefecture, said, “The average monthly income of childcare workers is 70,000 yen lower than that of other industry workers. The Kishida government uses the nation’s tight budget as an excuse for its unwillingness to increase our wages and the number of childcare workers, while going forward with its plan to double military spending. I can’t accept this government stance.”

A nursing-care worker working at a Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-iren)-affiliated institution in Chiba Prefecture, Kadowaki Megumi, criticized Prime Minister Kishida’s policy to raise nursing-care workers’ wages by 6,000 yen a month for being an order of magnitude less than what is needed. She said, “In order to solve chronic staffing shortages, the government should move swiftly to increase nursing-care workers’ wages to the same level of workers in other industries.”

Messages from the Japan Medical Association and Japan Dental Association were read out.

After the rally, the participants paraded through the Ginza district and appealed to passersby to support their call for higher wages and an increase in the number of nurses and nursing-care workers.

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