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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 March 14 - 20  > Shii on TV talks about how JCP is campaigning in Tokyo gubernatorial election
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2007 March 14 - 20 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Shii on TV talks about how JCP is campaigning in Tokyo gubernatorial election

March 15, 2007
“The only candidate who is capable of bringing about a change for the betterment of the Tokyo Metropolitan government is Mr. Yoshida Manzo, who is backed by voters with no political affiliation and by the only opposition party, the JCP,” said Shii.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on an Asahi Newstar Communication Satellite TV program aired on March 13 talked about the JCP struggle in the Tokyo gubernatorial election.

Let’s hand down a verdict on ‘three government misuses’made by Governor Ishihara and supporting parties

Q: What kind of campaign are you conducting for the Tokyo gubernatorial election?

Shii: We are calling on the public to hand down a verdict rejecting the policies of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government under Governor Ishihara Shintaro over the past eight years, and make the utmost efforts to elect candidate Yoshida Manzo.

In this election, “three major misuses of government” by the Ishihara administration are called into question.

One is that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has pushed forward policies by pouring tax money into large-scale development projects such as the waterfront development and highway construction as well as for development projects under the pretext of hosting the Olympics, while abandoning social welfare services.

The second problem is that Governor Ishihara imposed on the metropolitan government policies of destroying the principles of the Constitution and democracy, including unlawfully forcing teachers and students to stand up for the Hinomaru flag and sing Kimigayo.

The third is that Governor Ishihara has outrageously used the metropolitan government for his own benefit. For example, he has repeatedly taken luxury trips abroad at government expense.

I must add that the Liberal Democratic, Democratic, Komei, and other parties in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, except the JCP, have supported Governor Ishihara in carrying out such practices of misgovernment. We will turn this gubernatorial election into an opportunity for the voters to hand down a guilty verdict on Governor Ishihara’s tyrannical administration and on those parties acting as his accomplices.

The only candidate who is capable of bringing about a change for the betterment of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is Mr. Yoshida Manzo, who is backed by voters with no political affiliation and by the only opposition party, the JCP. The JCP will work hard for Yoshida’s victory.

Media reports promoting ‘Ishihara vs. Asano’ questioned

Q: The JCP has criticized Governor Ishihara for his misuse of the metropolitan government, but with former Miyagi Governor Asano Shiro declaring his candidacy, “Ishihara versus Asano” appears to be what the election is all about. What do you think of this?

Shii: That is the image the media is promoting. The media is creating an atmosphere that Mr. Asano may be “somehow better” than Mr. Ishihara without taking up concrete issues and trying to create an image of “confrontation” between them. The media’s slant must be called into question.

When I went to Miyagi four years ago to give campaign speeches for JCP candidates in the prefectural assembly election, I found that Mr. Asano is an LDP-type governor to the core.

He abandoned social welfare services, for example. Using the introduction of the nursing-care insurance scheme as an excuse, he eliminated all programs to provide welfare benefits such as the congratulatory money for the elderly and the nursing-care allowance. Under the slogan “From facility to home,” he reduced the amount of prefectural subsidies to special nursing-care homes for the aged, thereby largely holding up the construction and upgrading of facilities.

At a press conference to announce his candidacy, Mr. Asano criticized the Ishihara administration, saying that Tokyo ranks the worst among Japan’s 47 prefectures in terms of the per capita capacity of the nursing care insurance-covered facilities. However, Miyagi Prefecture, where Mr. Asano governed, ranks 40th. Can the 40th point a finger at the 47th? How ridiculous his remarks are!

Subservient to the national government, cutting welfare services and pushing large-scale development projects

Q: As a former Welfare Ministry official, Mr. Asano provides the impression that he can be counted on to improve social welfare services.

Shii: That perception is simply wrong. Mr. Asano promised to make Miyagi the No.1 prefecture in social welfare. But the fact is what I just mentioned. He invalidated national health insurance cards of residents in arrears in payment of premiums, the policy that even his predecessor, who was from the LDP, promised to not carry out. Mr. Asano talks a lot about the “decentralization of power,” but the fact is that he imposed cutbacks at the beck and call of the national government.

With respect to large-scale development projects, he carried out a project to build gigantic piers and breakwater projects at Ishinomaki Port, using tax money of several 100 billion yen. As a result, the prefecture’s debt doubled. In response to criticism of his policy, he said, “I did it because the national government instructed us to increase public works projects.” He just followed the central government directives. I wonder how such a person can possibly speak of “decentralization of power.”

Local governments should be evaluated by how they promote the welfare of residents. There is no difference between the policies of Mr. Ishihara and those of Mr. Asano. Nobody can say which is worse.

Media needs to report elections fairly

Q: That sounds severe.

Shii: The media should report the truth not only about the atmosphere of the election but about the important questions that local governments are faced with. I think the media needs to cover such issues as the cutbacks in welfare services and the wasteful use of tax money on large-scale development projects, which we term “upside-down policies.” Describing the Tokyo gubernatorial election as a choice between Mr. Ishihara and Mr. Asano, as if there are no other candidates, is not fair coverage.

Q: I see. You think that the media is reporting as if there are only two candidates. Then, at this moment, what chance do you think Mr. Yoshida has of winning?

Shii: That is a question that voters will decide. It is inappropriate for the media to decide who will win or lose from the beginning. We will make our utmost effort to achieve a victory in the election.
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