May 23, 2013
The Japanese Communist Party on May 22 held a large speech assembly in Tokyo. JCP Chair Shii Kazuo called for protecting people's livelihoods by achieving major progress in the upcoming elections for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in June and the Upper House in July.
Shii stressed that the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election will be a confrontation between the JCP and the "ruling" camp, pointing to problems with the Tokyo government led by Inose Naoki.
The metropolitan administration has reduced per capita welfare spending for the elderly by 23% over the past 13 years since 1999, while other prefectural governments have increased their budgets by 53% on average during the same period. In terms of welfare per capita expenditure for the aged, Tokyo dropped from the top position in 1999 to the 29th position in 2011 among the 47 prefectures in the country.
The total amount of subsidies for the National Health Insurance system from the metropolitan government to its municipalities has sharply decreased from 32 billion yen to 4.3 billion yen under the rule of Inose and his hawkish forerunner Ishihara Shintaro. The proportion of households that cannot afford to pay the insurance premiums has reached 23%.
While cutting welfare-related costs, the metropolitan authorities have poured as much as two trillion yen in taxpayers' money into constructing the Tokyo Outer Ring Road.
Revealing the fact that almost all parties other than the JCP have voted for every bill proposed by Governor Inose, the chair said to the audience, "Let's defeat the current 'all-ruling-party' regime together by winning the upcoming elections."
Shii also referred to the crucial situation at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant where a huge amount of radioactively-contaminated water, which was used for cooling spent nuclear fuel, has been accumulating. "Let's create a bigger movement toward a 'zero-nuclear power Japan' from the capital, the largest electrical power consumer in the nation," he said.