September 4, 2014
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's reshuffled Cabinet will lead to an acceleration of anti-people policies, such as the use of the collective self-defense right, a consumption tax hike to 10%, and promotion of nuclear power generation, Akahata pointed out on September 4.
Prime Minister Abe on September 3 reshuffled his Cabinet for the first time since the inauguration of his administration in December 2012. In his new Cabinet, he created two new posts which deal with security legislation and revitalization of local economies. The new Cabinet lineup includes five female ministers, which supposedly will gain higher Cabinet popularity ratings from the public.
A pressing task for the minister in charge of security legislation is to change the legal structure to enable the practical use of the right to collective self-defense in accordance with negotiations with the U.S. on a revision of the Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines which will take place within the year. Abe appointed Eto Akinori, who also serves as the defense minister, to the post.
The PM retained six ministers from his old team, including Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, Finance Minister Aso Taro, Economic Revitalization Minister Amari Akira, and Land and Transport Minister Ota Akihiro. This indicated his intention to keep on moving ahead with the construction of a new U.S. base in Okinawa and with his pro-business policies, such as giving tax breaks to large corporations and promoting large public works projects.
Abe selected deregulation advocate Shiozaki Yasuhisa as the welfare and labor minister, revealing his attempt to push forward with regulatory reform policies, including adverse revision of social welfare services and labor laws. He also named Nishikawa Koya, who favors free trade agreements, to be agriculture minister.
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Yamashita Yoshiki at a press conference in the Diet building pointed out that in defiance of huge public opposition, the Abe government repeatedly adopted runaway policies: the Cabinet decision to enable Japan to participate in collective self-defense, introduction of the higher consumption tax rate, continuous use of nuclear energy, and imposition of a new U.S. base on Okinawa. "What is requried is for Prime Minister Abe to resign," Yamashita added.
Yamashita stressed, "The JCP will work hard to strengthen joint struggles dealing with various single issues and launch a movement nationwide to bring down Abe's regime."