We reject massive consumption tax increase against people’s wishes
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) Secretary General ODAGAWA Yoshikazu issued the following statement on August 10 to protest against the ruling Democratic Party and the opposition Liberal Democratic and New Komeito parties forming a coalition to railroad through the so-called “social security and tax reform” bill.
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) Secretary General
August 10, 2012
A set of bills to raise the consumption tax rate and gut the social services became law after being approved by the House of Councilors at its plenary session. The ruling Democratic Party and the opposition Liberal Democratic and New Komeito parties voted in favor of the undemocratic bills.
According to Daiwa Institute of Research, a household of four with an annual income of 5 million yen will pay an extra 170,000 yen in consumption tax under the adverse social security and tax “reforms”. An estimate shows that, if a rise in the pension contribution insurance is added, the household will be forced to pay an extra 330,000 yen a year. Workers’ wages have been in decline since the second half of the 1990s and the number of contingent workers is on the increase. We cannot accept the enactment of these bills that unilaterally force workers to pay. We are determined to continue to step up the struggle demanding the abolition of these laws.
In various opinion surveys held in the wake of passage of the bills through the House of Representatives on June 26, a majority of the respondents expressed opposition to them. Backed by public opinion six opposition parties on August 7 submitted to the House of Representatives a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Noda’s Cabinet. After this, the ruling Democratic Party and the opposition Liberal Democratic and New Komeito parties held a closed-door meeting. Yesterday (August 9), they moved together to kill the 6 parties’ no confidence motion in the House of Representatives plenary session.
On August 8, Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) Chairman YONEKURA Hiromasa held a news conference to urge the three parties (DPJ, LDP and New Komei) to steadily move to enact the bill to increase the consumption tax rate in accordance with the agreement they had reached.
Clearly, the three parties succumbed to pressure from the country’s financial circles and held a closed-door meeting.
The LDP and New Komei were absent from the plenary session of the House of Representatives when the 6 parties’ no confidence motion was put to the vote. They were thus showing their approval of the Noda Cabinet and helping railroad through the set of “social security and tax reforms” bills in the House of Representatives. We lodge a protest against the undemocratic parliamentary action against the will of the people who possess the sovereign power.
In Japan, growing public opinion demanding that a people-first society replace the present society that gives corporate business activity priority over people’s livelihoods, as clear from protests citizens and workers hold every Friday in front of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence. What we are witnessing in the Diet concerning the so-called “social security and tax reforms” is far from reflecting these changes taking place in public opinion. The task now is for us to solve the gap between what’s happening in the Diet and public opinion.
Since the enacted bill to increase the consumption tax is to come into force in April 2014, it is possible to stop the tax increase by changing the balance of forces in the Diet to have politics reflect public opinion. While expressing anger at the closed-door meeting politics that disregards public opinion, we call on all workers throughout the country to increase dialogue and cooperation with a cross-sector of people in opposition to the consumption tax increase and the cutbacks in social services and to rise in the struggle demanding an early dissolution of the House of Representatives for a general election.