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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 October 22 - 28  > 3,200 workers rally in protest against cuts in social services
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2014 October 22 - 28 [WELFARE]

3,200 workers rally in protest against cuts in social services

October 24, 2014
In protest against government policies to cut back on a wide range of social services, about 3,200 medical and nursing-care workers staged a rally at the Hibiya Amphitheater in Tokyo.

In June this year, a comprehensive law to slash medical and nursing-care services as well as impose heavier financial burdens on the general public was enacted by a majority vote of the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties. When raising the sales tax rate from 5% to 8% in April, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo repeatedly insisted that the tax increase is indispensable to improve the social security program.

At the rally, Japanese Red Cross College of Nursing Professor Kawashima Midori noted that Article 25 of the Japanese Constitution guarantees the right to live with dignity even when sick, old, or disabled. “The Abe Cabinet is trying to deny this fundamental human right. Let’s stand up to protest the government action,” she said.

Honda Hiroshi, a doctor at a private hospital in Saitama Prefecture, stated that he made a tour last year to study the health care system in Cuba. “Even under the constant economic pressure from the U.S., the Cuban government has provided its people with medical and welfare services for free. In contrast, Tokyo has faithfully served Washington while Japan’s social services have been at the lowest level among developed nations,” he said.

Komata Shigeyasu, a care worker in Tokyo, said, “Many welfare centers are unable to employ a sufficient number of workers due to the inadequate budget in the public nursing-care insurance program. The state should take responsibility for offering adequate care services to the public.”

Matsumoto Wakana, a social worker from Chiba Prefecture, pointed to the fact that more and more people are having great difficulty in caring for their aged family members at home after authorities set stricter conditions for admitting the elderly to special nursing homes. She stressed that it is intolerable for the government to drastically curtail welfare services in the name of “self-responsibility”.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Koike Akira said, “There is no future for a nation whose population is always worrying about whether they can get proper medical and nursing-care services. Let’s work together to bring down the Abe government.”

Past related article:
> ‘Revision’ of nursing care insurance program will force more workers to quit their jobs [June 17, 2014]
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