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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 March 19 - 25  > 12,000 in Tokyo hold rally opposing new system excluding elderly from existing medical program
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2008 March 19 - 25 [WELFARE]

12,000 in Tokyo hold rally opposing new system excluding elderly from existing medical program

March 23 & 24, 2008
About 12,000 people held a rally on March 13 at Tokyo’s Inokashira Park calling for the cancellation of a new medical system targeting the elderly the government plans to introduce in April, followed by a march in demonstration through the streets near the park. Participants held signs and banners reading, “Is the government telling the elderly to die?” and “Don’t you want us to live longer?”

Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association Head Shioyasu Yoshiki in his speech said, “There is no medical reason for the elderly aged 75 and older to be put in an insurance program separate from other generations. The only aim of the new system is to cut the country’s medical spending.”

Speaking on behalf of the Japanese Communist Party, House of Councilors member Koike Akira said, “Let us band together to make our voices heard.” A Democratic Party of Japan’s lawmaker was also present at the rally, and Dietmembers of the Social Democratic and the People’s New parties sent messages of support to the rally.

The new medical system excludes the elderly aged 75 and older, or 13 million people who account for about 10 percent of the country’s population, from the existing health insurance program and puts them in a separate insurance program.

As anxieties grew among the elderly, the health and welfare ministry, local governments, and municipalities throughout Japan are receiving calls and letters from senior citizens complaining or inquiring about the new system. The day after the government issued a bulletin to explain the new medical system, almost all telephone lines at the ministry were busy all day.

Regardless of political beliefs, more than five million people have so far signed petitions in opposition to the new system. More than 530 local assemblies have adopted resolutions in protest against the system. The JCP, DPJ, SDP, and People’s New Party have jointly submitted to the Diet a bill to revoke the system.
- Akahata, March 23 & 24, 2008
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