Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on October 7 held talks with Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko at the PM’s office and handed over the third JCP proposal for post-disaster reconstruction following the proposals submitted on March 31 and May 17.
Shii said to PM Noda, “The basic position the government should take is to proceed with reconstruction assistance that will encourage the communities and all the victims to restore their lives and businesses, and not sort the victims in various categories or abandon them.”
Citing examples of the so-called double loan issue, the rebuilding of collapsed medical institutions, radiation decontamination, and compensation for damages, Shii said, “Don’t unfairly sort out applicable and non-applicable victims to receive government assistance,” and stressed the importance of helping all the victims and all affected areas.
Called on by Shii to adopt the JCP proposal in the government reconstruction measures, Prime Minister Noda answered, “You may know of something that we are unaware of, so we will discuss any feasible ideas in your proposal. I’d like to listen to as many local opinions as possible.”
Shii added, “The source of funding for reconstruction is a different question from that of measures to deal with the nuclear disaster. You need to have a separate policy for each of these questions,” and made the following proposals:
To secure the funding needed for reconstruction from the 3.11 quake and tsunamis, Shii proposed that the government cancel unnecessary and non-essential public works projects, stop shouldering the cost for the U.S. military presence in Japan, stop the state subsidy to political parties, and discontinue corporate tax breaks and the preferential taxation for stock dividends. The latter step alone will increase tax revenues by 17 trillion yen during the next ten years, Shii pointed out.
As to securing the funding needed to deal with the nuclear disaster, Shii suggested the use of the 19-trillion-yen capital reserve that the power industry is setting aside for the reprocessing of spent fuel. Shii told Noda to create a mechanism that will manage these reserve funds under government control, and then make the best use of that money to compensate for damages, decontaminate, and decommission nuclear reactors. Shii suggested that Noda should also ask all the member corporations in “the community of interest” benefitting from atomic energy to contribute to a fund.
Prime Minister Noda replied, “We will use (those reserve funds) if possible for compensation and radiation decontamination,” and indicated his intention to consider creating the type of fund Shii suggested.
Shii again urged Noda to discontinue corporate tax cuts and any extension of the period for the preferential securities tax system. The prime minister, however, answered, “I understand your point, but the system has already been extended at the request from various quarters.”
Shii furthermore demanded that the government give up participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement, saying, “The TPP will deal a heavy blow to the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries in the devastated region. Many people such as those in agricultural cooperatives are strongly opposing Japan’s entry into the TPP.”
The prime minister in response said, “I have discussed this with government ministries and also in the party (Democratic Party of Japan) as well. I will keep discussing this issue, though various opinions exist in the party.”