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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 June 30 - July 6  > Cuts in Diet seats are ineffective in saving money
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2010 June 30 - July 6 TOP3 [FINANCE]

Cuts in Diet seats are ineffective in saving money

July 3, 2010
Even if 80 proportional representation seats are eliminated from the present number of 180 seats in the House of Representatives, it will have no effect on saving tax money. However, critical positions and public opinion will be effectively shut out from the Diet.

The role of Dietmembers is to reflect public demands in the formulation of government policies by serving as facilitators between the general public and the Diet. Cutting the number of Dietmembers will make it difficult for the public to gain access to the Diet and have their opinions heard.

In the first place, the total number of lawmakers in the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors is 722 and the number of parliamentarians per 100,000 is 0.57. Japan’s figure of 0.57 ranks the lowest in the world.

Moreover, a cut of 80 in proportional representation seats will save only 5.6 billion yen in government expenditures.

What must be done is not to decrease the number of Dietmembers but to abolish the system of government subsidies to political parties. Eliminating the 32 billion yen of government subsidies to political parties would have the same effect on saving tax money as eliminating 460 seats from the present 722 seats in both houses of the Diet.

Every year, the government subsidizes all political parties, except the Japanese Communist Party (which refuses on principle), with about 32 billion yen in tax money.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan depends on the government subsidy for 83.6 percent of its annual income and the Liberal Democratic Party 51.4 percent. In addition, the DPJ uses the government subsidies to cover 100 percent of the expenses for its publications.

It is unacceptable, in the guise of reducing government spending, to cut the number of seats in the proportional representation system which most accurately reflects public opinion without touching the government subsidies to political parties.
- Akahata, July 3, 2010
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