Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in the House of Representatives plenary session on January 24 called for policy to be changed to one of serving people's welfare, instead of promoting the "structural reform" agenda.
Responding to Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's policy speech, Shii said that the falsified quake-resistance data, the Livedoor scandal, widening social disparities, and growing poverty show how destructive the Liberal Democratic Party policy of deregulation is. He said that the present circumstances of "capitalism without rules" should be corrected so that the economy is operated on rules in a way in which human dignity is respected.
By way of refutation of the view that an underlying cause of the data falsification is deregulation, Prime Minister Koizumi said that the 1998 adverse revision of the Building Standards Law was part of the effort to allow the private sector to take up all it can do. Koizumi also rejected the charge that the Livedoor scandal is a product of the government policy of deregulation.
Shii pointed out that for five consecutive years under Prime Minister Koizumi's government, 13 trillion yen was added to burdens people are forced to shoulder through tax increases and cutbacks in social service benefits, while government debts in the form of national bonds increased by 170 trillion yen, making Japan one of the worst debtor nations.
Shii said the need now is to change the government taxation and fiscal policy to one based on democracy and impartiality by reviewing tax breaks for large corporations and the wealthy and eliminating expenditures on wasteful public works projects.
The prime minister evaded the question of tax breaks for large corporations and the rich. He instead said, "We need to have an in-depth discussion about tax reform that includes the consumption tax, income tax, corporate tax and property tax.
On Japan's diplomacy, Shii criticized Prime Minister Koizumi for insisting on continuing to visit Yasukuni Shrine. Referring to criticism from the U.S. government and Congress, Shii said, "Words of remorse for Japan's war of aggression must go along with deed. It's the only way to regain the trust of Asia and the rest of the world."
Koizumi said, "I know that there are various opinions in the United States. But I have never been criticized by President Bush (for his visits)."
Shii pointed out that Japan's plan to pay the cost for transferring the U.S. Marines command from Japan to Guam as part of U.S. military realignment is unprecedented in the world.
The prime minister said that study should be made on funding and other steps needed for the relocation.
Shii took up the question of the Liberal Democratic Party draft of a new Constitution the has replaced the paragraph 2 of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the present Constitution by a provision that Japan will maintain a self-defense military. Shii said that the LDP draft will enable the Japanese military to take part in U.S. wars abroad. Shii stated that the JCP is determined to defend the Japanese Constitution as the world's treasure.
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Shii demanded that the government take emergency measures to deal with the damage from the heavy snow and to suspend U.S. beef imports until its safety is ensured.
- Akahata, January 25, 2006