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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 June 27 - July 3  > JCP supports motion of no confidence against Abe Cabinet
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2007 June 27 - July 3 [POLITICS]

JCP supports motion of no confidence against Abe Cabinet

June 30, 2007
In the final stages of the extended current Ordinary Session of the Diet, the Japanese Communist Party supported a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s cabinet as well as a vote of censure against Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yanagisawa Hakuo.

JCP Vice Chair Ishii Ikuko made the following statement in the House of Representatives Plenary Session on June 29 to express support for the non-confidence motion:

Yesterday (June 28), the Abe Cabinet and the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties used their majority at the House of Councilors Welfare and Labor Committee meeting to force the vote on the bill to abolish the Social Insurance Agency and privatize the administration of pensions and the bill ostensibly to fix the Japanese pension system. Today they are about to get these bills approved by the House of Councilors and thus enacted. We lodge a protest against this outrage.

The unraveling of the actual state of “pension contribution payment records that are unaccounted for” has just begun. An in-depth discussion aimed at working out a solution has just begun. If the Diet enacts the bill to abolish the Social Insurance Agency in disregard of these developments, how can the state fulfill its responsibility to secure the right to receive pension payments?

What’s more, in order to adversely revise the National Public Service Law that has been discussed in the House of Councilors Standing Committee on Cabinet Affairs, the ruling parties are trying to use the force of numbers to ask the committee to submit an interim report on its discussion. This is going to be an act that destroys parliamentary democracy. We must stop it.

For nine months since its inauguration, the Abe Cabinet has placed the Diet under its autocratic control. In the Extraordinary Session of the Diet last year, it forced the vote on the adverse revision of the Fundamental Law of Education, and the legislation to establish a Defense Ministry and adversely revise the Self-Defense Forces Law. These acts will leave a stain in the history of Japan’s parliamentary democracy. The Abe Cabinet that has debased and turned the Diet into a body of endorsement of adverse legislations only deserves a vote of no confidence.

The fiasco over “pension records that are unaccounted for” shows clearly the Abe Cabinet’s inability to manage state affairs.

In 1997, in the process of introducing the unified pension identification number system, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry found a huge number of pension contribution payment records unaccounted for, but it neither took steps to resolve the problem nor made it known to the people. This has caused a very serious situation.

Prime Minister Abe late last year learned about this problem but did nothing to solve it. While delaying the resolution of the problem, the government submitted a bill to abolish the Social Insurance Agency.

How can the state fulfill its responsibility by rushing to dissolve the body that has mismanaged pensions while carrying out job cuts? The present bill, if enacted, will allow the collected insurance contributions to be diverted to funds for other purposes and adopt even more rigorous methods of collection of insurance premiums by invalidating the National Health Insurance card. The bill will leave all important issues subject to future deliberations.

The Japanese people are infuriated by the sizeable residential tax increase due to the abolition of the fixed-rate cuts on income and residential taxes. This is the largest tax increase since 1997 when the consumption tax rate was raised. Most people are now forced to pay twice the amount they have so far paid in residential tax. Some elderly people will be asked to pay three or four times the amounts they paid last year. Isn’t it fair to stop offering tax breaks and other preferential treatment to large corporations and wealthy taxpayers who have gained record profits and ask them to carry their fair share of the burden according to the ability to pay?

While calling for people to be allowed to take up a challenge again, the Abe Cabinet has done nothing to put an end to the serious situation relating to employment, such as low wages, long working hours, and an increase in unstable jobs. To the contrary, the government has implemented policies of increasing labor mobility that has led to a wider use of contingent workers and forced a large number of young people to become “refugees” sleeping at “Internet cafes” because they cannot afford to rent an apartment. It is very serious that the number of people who cannot afford to receive medical services or nursing care services is on the rise. The Abe Cabinet has taken no effective steps to solve the problem of the increasing poverty rate and the widening gap between rich and poor. The Abe Cabinet deserves a vote of no confidence because it is continuing with policies that leave socially disadvantaged people in the cold.

Failure is also clear in its foreign policy.

The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee has adopted a resolution demanding that the Japanese government formally apologize for the Japanese military’s coercion of young women into sexual slavery as “comfort women”. This shows a serious failure of the Abe Cabinet’s foreign policy stance.

Soon after Prime Minister Abe took office, he stated that he would follow the statements by Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi that expressed remorse for the past Japanese war of aggression and colonization of Asian countries and the Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono Yohei statement on the issue of “military comfort women”. But in March this year, Prime Minister Abe faced strong international criticism when he stated in the Diet, “The fact is that there is no evidence that supports the allegation that women were coerced” into having sex with Japanese soldiers.

Prime Minister Abe, who is incapable of articulating Japan’s historical responsibility in Japan and internationally, should not be a person that steers Japan’s diplomacy.

More importantly, the Abe Cabinet is openly promoting an adverse revision of the Constitution as the government’s main task, in contravention of cabinet ministers’ obligation to comply with the Constitution.

The Abe Cabinet has asserted that assisting U.S. forces in wars abroad is the main task of the Self-Defense Forces and pushed ahead with the integration of U.S. forces and the Japanese SDF under the realignment scheme in order to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance. It has extended the SDF deployment in Iraq by two years without admitting that it had been wrong to support the Iraq War. Also, we must not overlook the recent revelation of the unconstitutional surveillance of the public by the SDF Intelligence Security unit.

Prime Minister Abe issued a directive for the enactment of the bill to establish procedures for amending the Constitution and included in the LDP election platform an item that promises to initiate the process of constitutional revision within three years. His aim in doing this is to change Article 9 of the Constitution in order to turn Japan into a country that fights wars abroad. The Abe Cabinet, which is rushing to revise the Constitution, must be thrown out of office immediately.

It is also grave that Prime Minister Abe calls for a “breakaway from the post-war regime” in order to deny the post-war Japanese principles of people’s sovereignty, democracy, and respect for individual dignity. It is in this context that the Abe Cabinet is attempting to strengthen state control over education under the adversely revised Fundamental Law of Education and three other education laws. We must not entrust the Abe Cabinet with our children’s destiny and Japan’s future. - Akahata, June 30, 2007
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