March 6, 2013
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on March 5 emphasized in a Lower House plenary session that the government needs to promote wage hikes and give up its planned consumption tax increase to break out of the recession.
Shii said that Japan's business leaders have basically rejected Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's request to raise workers' compensation. He argued that Abe should direct big businesses to increase pay for workers by using a part of their accumulated internal reserves.
Quoting a government white paper as saying that the current deflation has been caused by declining incomes and the sharp increase in the number of non-regular employees, Shii proposed that the administration should abandon its deregulation-oriented policy and facilitate the re-designation of non-regular employees as regular workers. In addition, he demanded the government raise the minimum wage as well as take drastic measures to support small and medium-sized businesses.
The chair pointed out that the average annual income of workers has dropped by 210,000 yen over the past four years. "If the sales tax rate is increased amid the recession, Japan's economy will fall into the bottom. The prime minister should give up the plan," he said.
Shii also stated that the victims of the 2011 Great East Japan Disaster are still in desperate need of help even after two years have passed since being hit by the earthquake and tsunami. He claimed that the administration ought to resume the reduction and exemption of health and nursing care insurance premiums for disaster sufferers and not set a time limit on residency temporary housing units.
He referred to the fact that the state fails to make a grant to projects to relocate tsunami-hit roads from the coast to the hills, while subsidizing works to reconstruct coastal roads at the same spot. "The government should not force a rule on disaster-affected municipalities but revise the rule according to the realities," he stressed.