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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 October 25 - 31  > Shii in interpellation squares off against PM Kishida
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2023 October 25 - 31 [POLITICS]

Shii in interpellation squares off against PM Kishida

October 26, 2023
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in his interpellation at the House of Representatives plenary session on October 25 demanded that Prime Minister Kishida Fumio not criticize only Hamas but also call on the Israeli government to discontinue its airstrikes and remove its blockade of Gaza as well as to refrain from a land invasion of Gaza. Shii also demanded that PM Kishida make the best use of Japan’s good ties with both Israel and Palestine to mediate talks toward achieving a ceasefire.

PM Kishida in response said, “I will continue making diplomatic efforts to help settle the situation and improve the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip.”

Regarding economic and livelihood issues, Shii noted that PM Kishida in his policy speech expressed his intent to “completely break away from” “cost-cutting” policies. Shii criticized the Liberal Democratic Party-led government for having long promoted the policy of “cost cutting”. He said, “A fundamental change of the 30-year-long cost-cutting economic policy is necessary.”

As called for in the JCP “Economic Recovery Plan”, Shii proposed that: minimum hourly wages, currently 1,004 yen on average, be increased to at least 1,500 yen nationwide; working conditions of non-regular workers, whose average wages are 67% of the amount regular workers earn, be drastically improved; the consumption tax rate be reduced; the rate of pension benefits be raised; and the financial burden of education costs be greatly lowered.

Shii stressed the need for the government to: guarantee stable employment for non-regular workers; work to eliminate disparities between male and female workers and between regular and non-regular workers; and promote gender equality. He explained that the JCP, to achieve these aims, has announced a “bill to establish fair rules for non-regular workers”.

PM Kishida said, “The effort the government made over the past two years has brought about a ‘positive change’ to Japan’s economy,” shelving the government responsibility for the economy of “cost cutting”. Regarding cuts in the consumption tax rate, he answered, “The government has no plan to do that.”

Regarding the planned huge arms buildup, Shii pointed out that the budgetary request for fiscal 2024 earmarks a budget to establish a “permanent joint headquarters” for the Self-Defense Forces, and that it describes for the first time that this establishment is for the purpose of strengthening the SDF “functions to coordinate closely with the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command”. He said, “This means that the SDF will be placed under the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.”

PM Kishida said in response, “Both the SDF and the U.S. military have their own command channel.”

Shii stated, “The need is for the government to make diplomatic efforts in a peaceful manner,” and presented the JCP diplomatic vision as a counterproposal which serves to create a true peace in East Asia through peace diplomacy based on the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.

Regarding the planned construction of a new U.S. military base in Okinawa’s Nago City, Shii criticized PM Kishida for unreasonably intending to exercise “proxy execution” to approve the construction-related design change instead of consulting with the anti-base Okinawa governor.

Past related articles:
> JCP releases bill to establish fair rules for non-regular workers [October 19, 2023]
> Shii calls for immediate ceasefire between Hamas and Israel
[October 15, 2023]
> JCP publishes economic revival plan [September 29, 2023]
> Supreme Court virtually okays soft-ground improvement work for new US base in Okinawa [September 5, 2023]
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