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2024 February 14 - 20 TOP3 [POLITICS]

‘With no added burden’ on people in tackling falling birthrate is false

February 16, 2024

Japanese Communist Party representative Miyamoto Toru at a Lower House Budget Committee meeting on February 15 criticized the government explanation that funds to tackle the country’s falling birthrate will be secured “with no additional burden” on people as a sham.

The government explains that in order to fund “countermeasures to the declining birthrate,” it will raise 3.6 trillion yen a year through “public expenditure reform.” Specifically, it will cut public expenditures for medical and nursing-care services and will add a “child and childrearing support fund” to public medical insurance premiums. It is considering having people aged 75 or older pay 30% of medical fee payments and considering increasing the number of people who shoulder a 20% charge for use of nursing-care services.

Regarding the 20% share by nursing-care service users, Miyamoto pointed out that if the target population were to be expanded to include those who earn an annual income of more than 1.9 million yen, public expenditures would be reduced by 40 billion yen. On the other hand, the amount paid by nursing-care service users would go up to 80 billion yen, according to the Health Ministry estimate.

Miyamoto stated, “In reality, the government claim, ‘with no additional burden,’ is false.” Health Minister Takemi Keizo in response admitted to the fact by saying, “Certain generations, especially the elderly population, will have to bear an increased burden.”

Miyamoto demanded the withdrawal of the “public expenditure reform” on the pretext of securing financial resources for “measures to combat Japan’s declining birthrate”.
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