Shii expounds reliable opposition's view of new politics

Debate between six ruling and opposition party heads. Second from right is JCP Chair Shii Kazuo speaking. From far left, Watanuki, Kanzaki, Koizumi, Okada, Shii, and Fukushima. August 29, at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo

Leaders of six political parties participated in a major debate on August 29, the day before the announcement of the House of Representatives general election, under the auspices of the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo stated that the JCP in the election campaign will run its campaign on the following four main points:

- The JCP will confront the Liberal Democratic Party-Komei coalition government to defend people's living standards;

- The JCP will stop the massive tax increase plan that the "two major parties" are promoting;

- The JCP will oppose an adverse amendment to the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution;

- The JCP will work as an opposition party to make the public demands heard by parliament and reach out to other countries in Asia and the rest of the world by further developing an independent diplomacy.

Shii urged LDP President Koizumi Jun'ichiro (prime minister) to revoke the ruling parties' plan to abolish income tax deductions if the government says it does not intend to impose a tax increase on salaried workers.

Evasively answering that the proposed review of deductions is not synonymous with a tax increase, Koizumi refused to retract the council's proposal.

Shii said that any promise of "no tax increase" will go up in smoke unless the ruling parties' overhaul plan is withdrawn. He pointed out that Japan's large corporations pay only 50-80 percent of their German, Italian, and French counterparts in taxes and shares of burdens for social services.

Asked by Shii if he thinks of making large corporations pay more in taxes, Koizumi said, "I have no intention of making large corporations the sole bearer of tax burdens." Thus the prime minister has made his position clear that he wants large corporations with 82 trillion yen in surplus funds to be exempt from further tax burden-sharing.

On postal privatization, whicht the prime minister calls for as the main election issue, Koizumi repeated his opinion that opening the postal money market is necessary. The Democratic Party of Japan expressed the extreme view that Japan Post should be either privatized or abolished.

On a consumption tax increase, the DPJ called for the consumption tax rate to be increased by 3 percentage points to 8 percent in order to fund pensions.

Akahata, August 30, 2005

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