We are a crew of volunteers connected through our social awareness, advocacy, and activism.
At the time of the 2021 Japan’s General Election, we launched an awareness campaign called “67 Questions for Our Future- Japan's General Election 2021” and sent the open questionnaire to each political party and published their answers.
This time, to get ourselves ready for the 2022 House of Councillors election, we created 43 questions under 20 categories and sent the questionnaire to each political party.
We have sent out the questionnaire on June 1, 2022, setting June 16 as the deadline for responses.
Except for a few questions, we asked each party to answer either Yes or No (maru or batsu), to each question and provide a supplementary explanation of the party's policy and specific initiatives.
We are publishing their answers on our website and various social media platforms, and planning to distribute information to various news platforms upon requests.
We hope this campaign of ours will encourage and empower our fellow citizens to vote.
We also would like to recognize the contribution of the various activists who helped us prepare these questions by sharing their insights on their expertise. Thank you very much.
Eight months have passed since the 2021 General Election. How has your life been since then? On the last election day, did you feel hopeful for our future? Did you feel hopeless, thinking that our day-to-day life would never change?
After the last election, we saw some were belittling certain issues over others on social media, which reminded us of why we created these Questions for Our Future.
Sometimes we feel like nothing will change anyway. But it is also true we still have society the actions of each and every one of us can change. We sincerely hope that Questions for Our Future will empower us to create a society in which each of us can speak out in our own words, without hesitation, about the immediate issues, about the pain and suffering that people are facing, and about our future.
We cannot change the future of our society unless we keep talking about these things.
This time, to get ourselves ready for the 2022 House of Councillors election, we created 43 questions under 20 categories and sent the questionnaire to the major political parties.
For whom does our government exist? One thing we can say is that we want our political parties and runners to provide policies that are inclusive to the lives of the diverse people who live in this country. We are also aware that our questions are not comprehensive; there are many other issues that need to be addressed in this country.
We sincerely hope that each party’s answers to these 43 questions on various issues will help each voter learn, think, discuss, act and choose the future they want.
It is a nation's responsibility to provide food to its citizens stably into the future. And from the viewpoint of food security, in order to protect agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, which are the foundations of the country, and transform them into growing industries, we will strengthen the measures for the rate and ability of food self-sufficiency, by further promoting measures to increase income and strengthen the production base in agriculture and farming villages, regardless of their size or location in the mountainous areas. First, we will aim to achieve the food self-sufficiency rate target (45% on a calorie basis and 75% on a production value basis) set in the Basic Plan for Food, Agriculture, and Rural Areas, with the target year of the fiscal year 2030.
[If choosing NO, what’s the target number you propose?]
50% of the total
We aim to achieve the food self-sufficiency rate of 50% by revitalizing family-run business which is the core of Japanese agriculture, expanding demand for domestic agricultural products, promoting comprehensive and integrated measures to improve the utilization rate of cultivated land and agricultural productivity, as well as nutrition education and local production for local consumption, and establishing a farmer's income compensation system.
[If choosing NO, what’s the target number you propose?]
We will achieve 50% as soon as possible.
The global food crisis is becoming more serious, not only causing food prices to skyrocket, but also creating a situation where food cannot be secured as expected. The risk of dependence on foreign countries for food is obvious, and a fundamental change in food and agriculture policy is now inevitable. For the time being, we should set the goal to achieve 50% as soon as possible, and then continue to aim for 60%.
[If choosing NO, what’s the target number you propose?]
50% of the total
To improve the food self-sufficiency rate, it is necessary to revive and legislate the abolished income guarantees for individual farmers and make it permanent. At the same time, we should expand the system to cover livestock and dairy farming, vegetables, fruit trees, fisheries, and forestry, and support agricultural management regardless of the size of the business. It is also important to expand support measures for farmers, including new farmers.
[If choosing NO, what’s the target number you propose?]
Food self-sufficiency is an important issue in food security. We should first aim for 50%.
[If choosing NO, what’s the target number you propose?]
The root cause of the decline in the food self-sufficiency rate is the weakening of the production base, such as the decrease in the number of farmers and the decrease in the area of farmland. The cause is the decline in farmers' income. In particular, with regard to rice, since prices have fallen due to a decline in demand, leading to a decrease in farmers' income, the government must revive the supply-demand adjustment and the individual household income compensation system, and legislate them. This will foster the development of farmers and the continuation of farming operations, thereby realizing a food self-sufficiency rate of 50%. The Democratic Party for the People believes that "comprehensive economic security" including food is necessary, so we have submitted a bill in the ordinary Diet session.
[If choosing NO, what’s the target number you propose?]
In Japan, which faces the risk of declining food self-sufficiency due to a decrease in production volume and farmland, we believe that it is important to first strongly promote efforts to achieve the current targets, such as increasing demand for domestic agricultural, forestry, and fishery products, expanding production commensurate with such demand, and developing sales channels.
[If choosing NO, what’s the target number you propose?]
At least 50%.
At least 50%. The UK’s target is 70%. We will aim to increase domestic agricultural production. We aim for 100% in the future so that the people in Japan will not starve under any circumstance. We need an aggressive fiscal policy to achieve this.
Designation of food additives is based on the evaluation of safety, etc., upon request from those who intend to sell, etc. We are aware the designation system in the U.S. and EU is basically the same as in Japan.
We believe we should freeze and review the guideline for non-disclosure of food additives to ensure that it does not narrow consumers' right to choose, while we need further clarifications on the regulated labeling guidelines to ensure that businesses won't become reluctant or reduce the production and development of products with "additive-free" or "no-(substance)-used" labeling.
We believe that we should rigorously examine and strictly set standards for food additives, not in the interests of food companies or the expansion of trade, but in the interests of protecting the lives and health of the Japanese people.
We believe that we should always try to regulate food additives that are banned or regulated in other countries based on the latest findings.
Based on scientific evidence that is updated on a daily basis, regulated items need to be constantly reviewed.
In order to establish a system to provide safe and secure agricultural products and foods, we should expand the scope of labeling of the origin of raw materials to all processed foods in principle, as well as to promote food traceability, food additives, labeling for genetically modified food, and allergy information, labeling for genome-edited food products, and other labeling contents to suit the diversification of products, and achieve a food labeling system from the consumer's point of view.
Given the public's concerns about food additives, we believe that we should provide information via push communication such as the information resources on safety, etc., and easy-to-understand labeling of additives used in food products. With that said, we believe that Japan also regulates food additives by setting appropriate standards, such as confirming efficacy and health effects and ensuring safety when new food additives are used, or when food additives that are already available for use are intended to be expanded in terms of their uses.
Food additives that are banned in foreign countries are used in Japan. Another problem is that we have many food additives that are less regulated in Japan than compared to other countries. In some cases, some pesticides are allowed to be used as anti-septic agents even though they cannot be used as pesticides in Japan.
It is essential to proceed carefully while examining the ongoing issues in order to thoroughly enforce the current rule that "farmland that has lost its paddy field function is not eligible for direct payment grants for paddy field utilization". We will ask the government for its swift instruction, such as methods of confirming water coverage and smooth transition from rice paddies to field lands.
The government's review policy issued last December has caused confusion at production sites. The government should drop the policy once, after listening to the opinions of production sites. Then, we believe that discussions across the entire agricultural policy are necessary, taking into account the opinions of the production frontlines. We Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan legislated a system of Direct Payments for Rice Paddy Utilization and submitted the bill at the last ordinary session of the Diet. In addition, we aim to revive the individual income compensation system for farmers to dispel the farmers' concerns and stabilize the system.
The revision of Direct Payments for Rice Paddy Utilization is an outrage that will make it difficult to maintain the production of wheat, soybeans, feed crops, etc. in paddy fields, destroy local agriculture, and further reduce the food self-sufficiency ratio.
The revision of Direct Payments for Rice Paddy Utilization is a betrayal of the farmers who have cooperated with the policy of reducing rice acreage. The price drop of the 2021 rice crop has been a major blow to farmers. We need to expand the quota of government stockpiled rice, accept the excess stock of 2021 rice, and take measures to isolate the market.
The review of Direct Payments for Rice Paddy Utilization itself will not lead to an increase in food self-sufficiency. Rather than the need to withdraw the subsidy, we should discuss policies to increase food self-sufficiency.
The stricter eligibility (setting the expiration) is inappropriate. We have submitted a bill for paddy field utilization grants to stabilize agricultural management related to paddy fields while promoting effective utilization of paddy fields, etc.
Regarding the Direct Payments for Rice Paddy Utilization, we will ask the government to consider necessary measures such as infrastructure development to promote block rotation of rice paddies and field crops, while listening to the voices of farmers to address issues that will arise when forming production areas in various regions in the future.
We believe that farmers who have been cooperating with the government's policy of reducing rice paddy and promoting crop conversion for many years will be severely affected. This will make it more difficult for them to continue shifting crops, and this will weigh on their business.
We will expand support for higher education enrollment for middle-income families such as those with multiple children, and introduce a Japanese version of the Higher Education Contribution Scheme to graduate schools in advance while securing stable financial resources to expand the system to undergraduates and other students.
We aim for a society where everyone has the same starting point regardless of their upbringing. We will make tuition at public universities free of charge and reduce the burden on private university students and vocational school students by the same amount as that of public universities. We will also support students' living expenses by expanding the scholarship system.
We should promptly cut tuition fees for universities and vocational schools by half and made them free of cost in stages. In 2012, the provision for phased-in free tuition for high school and university by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) was withdrawn, due to public opinion and movement. This was an international commitment to free higher education. As a first step toward reducing the burden of tuition fees and aiming for cost-free education, we should increase the budget for universities, abolish entrance fees, and reduce tuition fees at universities and vocational schools to half as soon as possible. We will phase free tuition so that everyone can study without worrying about the tuition. We position the policies above in the House of Councillors election policy, which includes a consumption tax reduction, expansion of social security, and reduction of the burden of education costs, with a required financial resource scale of about 19 trillion yen. We estimate that the required financial resources for cutting tuition fees for higher education by half, abolishing entrance fees, and expanding scholarship benefits will amount to 1.8 trillion yen. As for measures to secure financial resources to achieve the House of Councillors election policies, we propose 19 trillion yen in total by doing the following: a review of the preferential tax treatment of large corporations and a return of the corporate tax rate to the pre-Abe administration level (28%) excluding small and medium-sized businesses (8 trillion yen), a review of the tax burden on the wealthy (about 3 trillion yen), the creation of a wealth tax and an exchange transaction tax (about 3 trillion yen), and reduction of military spending and wasteful spending on large-scale development (about 5 trillion yen).
We must aim to gradually make higher education free of cost.
Higher education should be free of charge. We will also promote free childbirth expenses. And we will reduce the burden on households raising children, and break the trend of declining birth rates. We do not agree with the half-hearted policy of lowering the tuition to half.
(Other) Free higher education is also an issue. First of all, we will achieve completely free education up to high school. We will also promote tuition reduction for higher education such as advanced vocational schools, technical colleges, universities, and graduate schools, as well as expansion of scholarship programs that do not require repayment. Student loans of the graduates will also be reduced or exempted.
△： We will support universities by expanding subsidies for operating expenses for national university corporations, subsidies for facility development expenses for national university corporations, and subsidies for private universities. In addition, we will create the "Total Plan for Supporting Child Raising" to gradually improve financial support and make the following things free of cost: marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, and education from early childhood to higher education.
If only the government decides to spend 4~5 trillion yen on it, we can provide free higher education. This can be achieved if the government chooses to be proactive in fiscal spending. We can lower the cost of higher education by half, with about 2 trillion yen. It is not at all impossible.
[By when and how much?] We will refer to the status of public spending and other educational investments in OECD countries and other countries.
[Explanation] We will position education investment as an "up-front investment for the future" necessary for the coming era, we will work on expanding education investment drastically, securing financial resources, and making greater use of private-sector funds.
[By when and how much?]
We aim to further reduce class sizes so that each child can receive an attentive education by addressing the shortage of teachers as soon as possible.
In order to correct the long working hours of teachers, we will increase the number of teachers and staff, increase the number of school staff, and improve the working conditions for part-time teachers to ensure that teachers have time to spend with children and to address the teacher shortage.
[By when and how much?]
We will increase the budget for education by about 2.5 trillion yen over several years. Furthermore, promote reforms on the usage and collection of the budget to raise the level of public spending on education to the OECD average.
With the 2.5-trillion-yen budget increase, we will work on (1) lowering university tuitions by half (2) free school lunches, and (3) improving the number of teachers and staff and increasing subsidies for private schools. The shortage of teachers is a serious social problem. The biggest reason for this is that the teachers working in schools today are working abnormally hard, and schools are not attracting enough people. The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has ignored this situation and has taken only short-term measures, such as moving up the recruitment examination schedule. We propose to increase the education budget, improve the number of teachers and staff, reduce unnecessary, non-urgent work, and drastically improve the working conditions of teachers to solve the shortage of teachers. The LDP proposes doubling defense spending under the pretext of the Ukrainian crisis. This directly leads to cuts in education and social security budgets and is the biggest barrier to increasing the education budget. We strongly oppose their proposal, as it will further destabilize Japan and the world, and will lead Japan, a peaceful nation, down the path of military-to-military relations.
[By when and how much?]
About 5% of GDP
For Japan which has limited material resources, "human resources are the resources” for us. We should raise the budget for education at any cost, and we should expand to the level of 5% of GDP in the fiscal year 2020, which is the same level of public spending as in Finland, Sweden, and other Nordic countries.
In order to be on par with OECD countries (4.9% of GDP), we should increase by 22% from the current level (4.0% of GDP).
[By when and how much?]
We will establish Education Bonds. By issuing them 5 trillion yen annually, and 50 trillion yen for 10 years, we will double the ratio of promotion expenditures on education, science, and technology to GDP.
We will establish Education Bonds. By issuing them 5 trillion yen annually, and 50 trillion yen for 10 years, we will double the ratio of promotion expenditures on education, science, and technology to GDP.
[By when and how much?] (None)
[Explanation] We will strive to secure budgets to promote small class sizes of 35 students in elementary and junior high schools (30 students in elementary and junior high schools in the future), provide additional support staff such as teacher’s assistants, promote reform of teachers' workforce transformation, and develop desirable educational environments and teaching systems for children.
[By when and how much?] We will increase the amount by approximately 5 trillion yen over 5 years.[Explanation] According to "Education at a Glance 2021: OECD Indicators", as of 2018, public spending on primary through higher education accounted for 4.9% of GDP on average for OECD member countries and 4% for Japan. To raise public spending to 4.9% of GDP, on par with the OECD average, we would require approximately 5 trillion yen (556.2937 trillion yen x 0.009). Out of this amount, we would need four trillion yen to achieve completely free tuition up to higher education. So the first step is to immediately implement completely free higher education, aiming to reach the OECD average level within 5 years.
Sex education should take into account the developmental stages of students, and should be based on a common understanding throughout the school, as well as the understanding of parents and the community. We will not allow them to teach inappropriate sex education or gender-free education.
We will promote comprehensive sex education as a human right in school and social education where both men and women can gain correct knowledge about sex to prevent them from becoming perpetrators or victims of sexual violence and will eradicate crimes against children with correct knowledge and understanding of life.
The 1992 revision of the Official Curriculum Guidelines made a shift to teaching "sexuality" to elementary school students. However, in the 1998 revision of the Official Curriculum Guidelines, a "ban on teaching the process of pregnancy" was added, and in 2003, the LDP Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly members and others intervened in sex education at Tokyo Metropolitan Nanao School for Special Needs Education, and LDP Diet members joined in the bashing of sex education, which made schools reluctant move backward on sex education. As a result, many children are suffering from many problems and issues that cause physical and mental harm to each other without having any knowledge about sex. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommends that the Japanese government "ensure that sexual and reproductive education for adolescent girls and boys are consistently taught as part of the compulsory school curriculum. We believe that there is a strong need to eliminate the gatekeeping "Hadome Kitei" and promote comprehensive sex education. We the Japanese Communist Party are a political party whose mission statement is "create a gender-equal society". While respecting human rights and gender equality, we propose the promotion of comprehensive sex education, including scientific knowledge about human physiology, reproduction, and contraception, sexual diversity, how to build mutually respectful relationships, and how to protect oneself from things that harm one's mind and body.
Without an explanation of "intercourse," children will not have a solid understanding of sexual knowledge, sexual violence, and sexual victimization. It is essential to promote comprehensive sex education that includes the perspectives of equality and human rights.
While we must further consider whether the elimination the "the gatekeeping" is appropriate, sex education needs to be more in-depth than it is now.
(Other) We will create an environment where human rights are respected and schools and communities support children’s development through school life, classroom lessons, sex education, and education on menstrual periods, and where schools and communities cooperate to accompany children in their growth.
In the health and physical education classes for first-year junior high school students, by learning "development of mental and physical functions and mental health", students learn about changes in the body during puberty, which many students face, so they can understand that the reproductive systems develop and pregnancy becomes possible during puberty. The ministry's curriculum guideline was revised in 1998 as these things were taught through radical sex education (e.g., illustrating sexual intercourse) then. Then the Hadome Kitei was established and it is still in effect to this day to restrict such radical lessons that do not take into account the developmental stages of students. We will promote "Life’s Safety Education" so that it will be implemented in more schools to protect children from sexual crimes and sexual violence.
Children cannot understand what sexual violence and sexual assault are without an explanation of "intercourse" and the process of pregnancy. In 2009, UNESCO issued the "International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education" (revised in 2018), and European countries are teaching sexual intercourse and contraceptive methods in upper primary and secondary schools based on the Guidance.
In light of the Public Security Intelligence Agency's analysis that the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan has a close relationship with the Korean schools and influences its educational content and personnel, the situation raises doubts about whether the school is being operated in accordance with the law.
We will establish and promote public assistance for school enrollment and Japanese language education for all children with foreign nationality and roots, and aids tailored to the development of each child while respecting the language and the culture of their mother country.
According to an estimate by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, approximately 20,000 children of foreign nationality at the age of compulsory education do not attend school. Based on the International Covenants on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guarantee the principle of equal treatment of nationals and non-nationals, we should guarantee the education of foreign children in Japan by improving the system for enrolling them in public schools, supporting foreign schools, establishing Japanese language classes, and improving admission eligibilities to public high schools. As the night junior high schools are one of the venues that support the above, we will expedite the establishment of night junior high schools in all prefectures, and improve the conditions of such schools by assigning Japanese language instructors. The LDP-and-Komeito government has excluded Korean schools from the "free high school" and "free preschool education" programs. However, this is against the principle of equal treatment of nationals and non-nationals by the International Covenants on Human Rights. In 2019, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended corrective measures to the government. We believe that it is necessary to apply the free-of-charge measure to Korean schools as well.
Everyone has the right to education. And their treatment must be equal to that of Japanese people. we should stop the discriminatory treatment of foreign children and Korean schools, and promote inclusion in the communities.
We agree with the idea of foreign children receiving education. However, the application of free education to foreign schools is a matter for prefectural governments to decide.
(Other) It is important to take measures to ensure that all children have an equal start in life. It is necessary to eliminate disparities in education caused by factors such as the economic status of families and the working environment of their caregivers, to ensure diversity in learning, including inclusive education that nurtures children's brains and minds. And we need to establish a system that can secure a budget to establish these educational systems and reduce the burden on parents.
△: Children of foreign nationality who wish to attend public compulsory education schools are accepted free of charge, but there is a need to improve the system for Japanese language education at schools and to collaborate with specialists such as Japanese language teachers, etc. In addition to enhancing Japanese language education for the "learning" and "life" of children of foreign nationality, we will promote the securing of learning opportunities for them.
Both the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Japan has ratified, recognize the right to education for all children and state that primary education is compulsory and free of charge and that free secondary school education should be introduced gradually. The Japanese government should ensure equal educational opportunities and support children of compulsory education age who do not have Japanese citizenship so that they will not be left out of school. Regarding the exclusion of Korean schools from the free high school tuition support system, in February 2019, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that the Japanese government review the system, stating that Korean schools should be treated in the same way as other foreign schools. From the perspective of "children's rights," the Japanese government should also make Korean schools eligible for free high school tuition.
[How Much?] Necessary budget based on the "Basic Plan for the Promotion of Culture and the Arts (Phase 2)" to be formulated in the future, etc. [Explanation] Based on the Basic Act on Culture and the Arts, we will make a world-class "Nation of Culture and the Arts" by providing support for cultural and artistic activities, and working for the inheritance and development of traditional culture and the preservation, repair, and utilization of cultural properties.
We will aim for a budget that will enable the development of a diverse range of cultures and arts throughout Japan.
We will promote opportunities for appreciation and experience of culture and arts in school education, as well as the preservation of the traditional culture.
Japan's budget for culture for the fiscal year 2022 is 107.6 billion yen, which is too small compared to other countries. Combining it with the 90.5-billion-yen supplementary budget for the COVID-19 pandemic in the fiscal year 2021, it is about 200 billion yen. Given the current state of the cultural and artistic sectors that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe it is necessary to at least maintain this level of funding. Regarding the Japan Arts Council's "Fund for the Recovery and Creation of Culture and the Arts", we should also enhance it by injecting several hundred billion yen from government funds, rather than leaving it to private donations.
At least 0.4%, which is at the same level as Germany.
Cultural and artistic activities, the expression of artists in various fields, are essential for our civil society, and especially for human beings to enrich our spirits. It is important that the government actively support these activities and the venues for such activities, regardless of tradition or scale, so that they do not cease to exist, for the sake of the cultural maturity of civil society.
We will review cultural and artistic policies, which tend to be limited to the investment in facilities and the provision of subsidies, and promote the introduction of the concession system for cultural facilities and the Arts Council, as well as deregulation of various laws and regulations, in order to provide artists and others the opportunities to work and present their works independently in many aspects.
We are not going to specify the target amount, but it is essential to steadily increase the amount each year.
We believe that cultural and artistic activities are essential for the health and well-being of society as a whole and for our life. We will promote traditional Japanese culture and arts as well as new and creative culture and arts and will support their dissemination in Japan and abroad. We will increase opportunities for children to experience the culture and arts through school education and other means, and strengthen the protection of cultural assets.
We believe that we must examine securing financial resources by studying other countries’ policies on cultures and arts. In order not to extinguish the lights of culture, art, and sports, which have been severely affected by the COVID-19, we will continue to enhance support for their resumption and continuation.
[How much?] Increase to reach the average of OECD countries. [Explanation] Because we do not have enough data to compare the scale of expenditures on culture and arts, we would avoid providing numerical targets. But we believe that as a developed country, Japan needs to extend its expenditures to the average of OECD countries. In order to protect Japan's arts and culture, we will establish a "fixed support fund for arts and culture" to secure the livelihood of individual artists and staff.
We will fundamentally review the "regional medical care plan" that leads to the consolidation of municipal and public hospitals and the reduction of hospital beds.
Under the neo-liberal policy that cuts social security budgets, Japan's medical care and public health have been weakened. And the COVID-19 pandemic brought this contradiction to the surface in a flash. To be prepared for the possible next epidemic of infectious diseases, it is necessary to establish a medical system that has enough buffers. We should cancel the plan to reduce hospital beds and consolidate hospitals under the name of "regional medical care plan", and shift the focus to the expansion of regional medical care.
Many people have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic because they were unable to be hospitalized due to the shortage of hospital beds and had to be cared for at home. It is likely new infectious diseases occur in the future. Under such circumstances, we oppose the consolidation of municipal and public hospitals and protect local medical care.
It is necessary to restructure and consolidate municipal and public hospitals to accommodate the aging population.
We will realize a "regional medical care concept" that establishes a balanced medical and long-term care service delivery system appropriate to the region while providing support to municipal and public hospitals.
Even as the population continues to decline and age, it is necessary to build a system that will allow people to receive medical care with peace of mind well into the future. To this end, it is necessary to functionalize medical institutions and strengthen cooperation among medical institutions, taking into account changes in the population structure and other factors. And the experience of the COVID-19 has further increased the importance of such efforts. However, in promoting such efforts, we should not automatically seek to reduce or consolidate hospital beds but should proceed according to the actual conditions of each region, while fully taking into consideration the opinions of local governments and medical institutions.
From 2010 to 2020, the number of hospital beds for general patients in Japan has been reduced by nearly 30% in 10 years. In addition, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) released the names of 424 municipal and public hospitals nationwide in September 2019, calling for their consolidation and reorganization. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the adverse effects of reducing the supply of the healthcare system. We are against safety net cuts that reduce security.
Considering whether wages can be raised to an appropriate level relative to the nature of each occupation's work and whether the necessary human resources can be secured, we will continue to improve compensation in the fields of nursing, care, childcare, and early childhood education.
We will further expand the scope of payment, and increase the amount of payment (additional 10,000 yen per month) from the government's compensation improvement plan.
Prime Minister Kishida promised to "drastically increase" the income of care workers, but in reality, it was no more than a facade. We must raise the wages of care, welfare, and childcare workers to the "average of all industries," regularize employment, correct long working hours, and improve working conditions.
Caregivers and nursery school teachers are indispensable, fundamentally supporting the lives, work, and social activities of users. We must improve their working conditions.
We will make fundamental improvements in the compensation of childcare workers, including correction of the disparity between public and private sectors, equal pay for equal work between regular and non-regular employees, and substantial improvement in the compensation of childcare workers in private day-care centers and unlicensed childcare facilities.
We will raise the wages of all care workers to ensure the quality of care services and to rebuild the foundation of life and livelihood.
Based on the economic measures and alike approved by the Cabinet last November, measures to raise income by about 3% (9,000 yen/month) for childcare workers, kindergarten teachers, caregivers, and welfare workers have been in effect since February of this year, on the assumption that efforts will be made to continue the effects of the wage increase. Through these measures, we will promote sustained wage increases and compensation improvements for essential workers in nursing care, childcare, and other fields.
We Reiwa Shinsengumi pledge a 100,000 yen increase in monthly wages for workers in nursing care and childcare. The Kishida administration passed a supplementary budget last December that called for a "¥9,000 wage increase for nursing care workers," but the actual wage increase has not reached ¥9,000. In the first place, the government subsidy for this wage increase will end in September of this year, and its amount will be reduced to one-fourth from October 2022. This is a fraud by the government to force nursing care insurance premiums and local governments to make up the difference after the reduction. The supplementary budget includes only 15.3 billion yen for "improvement of compensation for nursing care workers. This is two digits short of the 2 trillion yen needed to raise the wages of nursing care and childcare workers to the average level of all industries at government expense.
＜Other＞ Based on the "New Child-rearing Safety Plan", we will secure childcare for 140,000 children in four years by the end of the fiscal year 2024, and promote efforts to secure childcare workers by improving staffing, providing support tailored to regional characteristics, making childcare work more attractive and improving compensation, and utilizing all available local child-rearing resources so we can ensure that all children in need of childcare can receive high-quality childcare.
We will review placement standards and promote the use of ICT and other technologies to enhance child supervision at daycare centers and reduce the administrative burden on childcare workers so that they can focus on childcare.
We should take measures to at least add one more childcare worker of any age urgently.
The current national staffing standards are about 70 years old. The fact that local governments and day-care centers have their own improved standards proves that these standards are not adequate to protect the lives of children. If we want to "put the child in the center" as the government says, we should immediately revise its system so that the standard for childcare staffing is appropriate to protect the lives of children.
One childcare worker/kindergarten teacher for every 18 children aged 3-5.
This is the average of 19 industrialized countries according to the OECD 2012 report. We should bring it up to this level.
We will thoroughly decentralize the placement standards, etc. by reforming the nationwide uniform standards, which lack flexibility. And we will allow the local governments to determine in principle by ordinance.
[The ratio] We are not going to set a specific target, but it is essential to steadily raise wages every year.
We will aggressively increase the number of day-care centers and after-school children's clubs to eliminate waiting children. We will raise the wages of all childcare workers and after-school care workers.
To improve the quality of early childhood education and care, we will improve compensation for kindergarten teachers and childcare workers, support renting accommodation and other efforts to secure human resources, and review staffing standards. The staffing ratio for 3-year-olds should be 15:1, for 1-year-olds 5:1, and for 4- and 5-year-olds 25:1.
Under the new support system for children and child-rearing, we were able to utilize consumption tax revenue to raise the official price of the nursery-cares that improve the ratio of childcare-worker placement from 20:1 to 15:1 for 3-year-old children. In addition, we should and will continue to promote the securing of necessary financial resources to raise the ratio of nursery teachers for 1-year-old children from 6:1 to 5:1, and for 4- and 5-year-old children from 30:1 to 25:1.
ZENSHIHOREN (Japan Private Nursery School Association) calls for a 15:1 ratio for 3-year-olds, 6:1 for 1-year-olds, 5:1 for 2-year-olds, and 20:1 for 4- to 5-year-olds. We will continue to consider this while taking these figures and the needs of the field into account.
We will promote consideration of the appropriate use of emergency contraceptives without a prescription, on the condition that women who are facing a possible unexpected pregnancy take them in person after receiving sufficient explanation from a pharmacist with specialized training in emergency contraceptives, etc.
We will make emergency contraceptives available to purchase at pharmacies without a prescription.
It is a fundamental human right to decide for oneself whether, when, and how many children to have. And both contraception and abortion are important rights for women. However, in Japan, emergency contraceptives are not available at pharmacies and are expensive, costing 10,000 to 20,000 yen (U.S.: 3,200 to 6,400 yen; U.K.: usually free with insurance, 1,400 to 2,100 yen if self-paid). We will shift to a political system based on the viewpoint of reproductive health and rights.
Making emergency contraceptives readily available without a prescription when needed, such as in case of contraception failure or unwanted sexual activity, will help protect the mind and body of the affected person.
We should also deregulate the online medical treatment and prescription of after-pills together.
We believe that it is necessary to comprehensively examine the issue so that women can live a healthy, active, and independent life both physically and mentally based on their right to self-determination.
To protect women from the risk of unintended pregnancy, we should enhance education on emergency contraceptives, and revise the system so that those seeking emergency contraceptives can purchase them at pharmacies without a prescription from a pharmacist.
We believe that access to contraceptives is a basic right for survivors of sexual violence and others to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
＜Other＞ We recognize that there are various opinions among the public regarding respect for the life of the fetus and a woman's right to self-determination and that this is a difficult issue that is deeply related to individual ethical and moral views. For this reason, we believe that it is important to deepen the discussion among all levels of the public on the appropriate provisions of the Maternity Protection Law.
We aim to achieve sexual and reproductive health/rights for all.
We should abolish the "spousal consent requirement" which does not recognize women's right to self-determination. Japan has received an admonition from the United Nations to abolish this requirement. We should also abolish the crime of self-abortion in the Penal Code, which has also received the same admonition.
It would be desirable to have a society where the pregnant person can decide whether or not to give birth.
While it is debatable whether we should simply eliminate the requirement, we agree with aiming for a system that honors the will of the affected woman while taking all cases, including unexpected pregnancy, into consideration.
We believe that it is necessary to comprehensively examine the issue so that women can live a healthy, active, and independent life both physically and mentally based on their right to self-determination.
Spousal consent for abortion is not intended to require consent from the perpetrator of forced sexual intercourse. In addition, a pregnant woman who cannot obtain consent for an abortion from her spouse because her marriage is practically broken due to domestic violence, etc., can have an abortion with her consent. We recognize that there are various opinions among the public regarding abortion, including opinions from the viewpoint of a woman's self-determination and opinions from the viewpoint of respecting the life of the fetus. We believe that it is important to have a further discussion among all levels of the public on the proper provisions of the Maternity Protection Law.
We believe that a woman should be able to choose whether to give birth, and this is an important right.
The IPCC report published so far indicates the importance of achieving carbon neutrality in 2050 in order to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. In line with this, Japan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% from the 2013 level by the fiscal year 2030 and will continue to tackle the challenge of achieving a 50% reduction. We will mobilize all measures and make every effort to achieve the 2030 reduction target.
We will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (compared to 2013), achieve a decarbonized society with zero greenhouse gas emissions as early as possible by 2050, and halt the climate crisis.
Developed countries are greatly responsible for long-term CO₂ emissions since the Industrial Revolution, and we also have high technological and economic power. The Glasgow Climate Pact at the Conference of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, which was held at the same time as COP26 last year, specified "a 45% reduction in global CO2 emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. However, the reduction target reported by Japan to COP26 was only 42% of the fiscal 2010 level (according to Environment Minister Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi's answer to the Diet), which is lower than the global average reduction. The Kishida administration is not willing to raise the target as required by the COP26 agreement. In our "Japanese Communist Party's 2030 Strategy to End the Climate Crisis" released last September, we demand to change Japan's reduction target by the fiscal year 2030 to a target of up to a 60% reduction from the fiscal year 2010 level. This is a 63% reduction compared to the fiscal year 2013 level.
Japan's targets are insufficient to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. We the Social Democratic Party propose a 60% reduction by 2030 (compared to 2013). We should achieve the target through energy conservation and the promotion of renewable energy.
To achieve the 46% reduction target for 2030, we will attract new investment toward and achieve the technological innovation and job creation necessary.
(Other) In order to achieve a carbon-neutral society by 2050 and promote the "Paris Agreement," we will aim for a significant reduction of CO2 emissions. It is essential that targets be realistic and feasible.
Based on the comments from IPCC and the COP26 Pact, we believe that the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement requires the achievement of 2050 carbon neutrality. And the government's 46-50% reduction target by 2030 aligns with that. We will steadily implement measures in various areas of our country to reach the 2030 target. At the same time, to achieve the 1.5°C-target, it is necessary not only for Japan but also for countries around the world to achieve their reduction targets, and to this end, we will support the efforts of each country by making use of our technologies.
We only have 8 years left until 2030. And we believe there are other ways to do this, such as raising the 2030 target and setting a 2040 target as soon as possible, which would provide a pathway to the 1.5℃ goal. We will continue to emphasize that global climate change is a problem that we cannot ignore and it is affecting our immediate surroundings such as heavy rainfall and extreme heat. And globally it is causing grain crises and large-scale wildfires and threatening the livelihoods of people living on rising coastal waters, which would impact security.
It is important to reduce CO2 emissions from coal-fired power generation, as coal-fired power generation emits about twice as much CO2 per unit of electricity generated as LNG-fired power generation. On the other hand, the path to carbon neutrality in 2050 will vary depending on each country's energy situation and trends in the development of decarbonization technologies, so it is necessary to consider both decarbonization and energy security when thinking about energy. In our resource-limited country, surrounded by oceans, with no single perfect energy source that satisfies both decarbonization and energy security, it is important to utilize diverse energy resources in a balanced manner. On this basis, we will thoroughly promote the use of renewable energy as a main source of power, and with regard to coal-fired thermal power, we will reduce its ratio by reducing emitted CO2 and will decarbonize it as soon as possible toward our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
We will strongly promote measures to address the climate crisis, aiming to achieve 50% of power generation from renewable energy sources by 2030 and 100% by 2050, and carbon neutrality (virtually zero greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050 at the earliest possible time, without relying on fossil fuels or nuclear power.
The UN has repeatedly called on developed countries to abolish coal-fired power generation by 2030. However, the Kishida administration, while continuing to build new large-scale coal-fired power plants, will plan to continue to supply 19% of electricity from coal-fired power plants in the fiscal year 2030, even after the Basic Energy Plan declares that CO2 emissions will be reduced to "virtually zero" by 2050. We are the only country among G7 that does not have a deadline for withdrawal from coal-fired power generation. In the industrial world, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association released a "Carbon Neutral Message" last October, warning the delay in the spread of renewable energy will pause exporting cars produced in Japan due to CO2 emissions during manufacturing, and affect up to 1 million jobs. The government emphasizes mixed combustion of ammonia with coal-fired power plants, but there is no prospect of CO2-free power plants even 10 years from now, and the cost will be high. We should stop additional construction and plan to phase out coal-fired power plants by the fiscal year 2030.
Coal-fired power generation is a major problem because its CO2 emissions per unit of electricity generated are twice that of natural gas-fired power generation, even with the latest technology. We the Social Democratic Party have set a goal of zero emissions by 2030.
Although reduction of coal-fired power generation is necessary to reduce CO2 emissions, it is not appropriate to reduce coal-fired power generation to zero when considering a stable energy supply.
(Other) For resource-limited Japan, it is an extremely important issue to secure safe, stable, and inexpensive energy sources, such as by improving energy self-sufficiency. We will focus on energy security, including ensuring a stable energy supply, and aim for a carbon-neutral society while achieving a solid energy supply system. We must position coal-fired power as a buffer for electricity supply and renewable energy. We will promote a realistic energy policy while taking measures such as hydrogen and ammonia co-firing.
△: Komeito will work to gradually reduce inefficient coal-fired power generation those CO2 emissions are high toward 2030, and will also promote support for companies that have such power generation facilities to switch to gas power generation, etc. We Komeito will strive to reduce coal-fired power generation, which emits large amounts of CO2, through efforts to make renewable energy the main source of power and through thorough energy conservation efforts by the public and private sectors. In addition, as a result of Komeito's request to the government to suspend exports of coal-fired power generation in April 2021, the government will no longer provide support for new exports of the coal power that does not take any emission reduction measures. We will continue to call on the government to reduce coal-fired power generation overseas. To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 (that aligns with the 1.5°C-target), we expect to see a shift to eco-friendly and green jobs, especially in highly energy-consuming industries, and the creation of new jobs. However, we need to ensure socially vulnerable groups won't lose their jobs due to the lack of opportunities to utilize their current skills or be left behind due to the lack of skills. To this end, we will promote human resource development in "green" domains by adding education courses on "green" domains to the scope of the education and training benefits system and promote job stability and employment opportunities. In addition, we will promote the establishment of a system that grants reward points to citizens when they cooperate in purchasing eco-friendly products with low CO2 emissions, saving electricity, etc., to support their eco-friendly actions.
In order to achieve "100% renewable energy," we will utilize high-efficiency natural gas-fired thermal power as an interim energy source. We will not restart nuclear power plants. In earthquake-prone Japan, we will go for both coal-free and nuclear power-free. We will utilize abundant natural energy sources.
＜Other＞ We have raised the minimum wage by 181 yen over the past 9 years. We will continue to aim to increase the productivity of small and medium-sized businesses, improve their trading condition related to the pass-on prices, etc., and aim to raise the national weighted average wage to 1,000 yen or more as soon as possible while taking into consideration regional disparities.
We can say neither yes nor no. With a future goal of 1,500 yen per hour, we should raise the minimum wage in stages, with public subsidies mainly for small, medium, and micro-sized businesses.
A regional disparity of 221 yen per hour translates into an annual income of 400,000 yen (1,800 hours of work = 2 days off per week, no overtime, and full paid vacations). It is extraordinary that the disparity widens under the minimum wage system, which aims to correct the disparity. We will raise the minimum wage to 1,500 yen per hour and establish a uniform minimum wage system nationwide. This will amount to about 225,000 yen per month. A minimum cost of living survey conducted by the National Confederation of Trade Unions (ZENROREN) has revealed that the cost of living is almost the same everywhere in Japan, with housing costs being lower in rural areas and transportation costs being higher. The cost of living in Kagoshima City, where the minimum wage is 821 yen, is 1584 yen, while in Kita Ward, Tokyo, where the minimum wage is 1041 yen, it is 1664 yen. 1500 yen minimum wage is the minimum demand. The disparity in minimum wages has caused labor migration across prefectural borders and has had a serious impact on the local economy. Amid the COVID-19 crisis and inflation, minimum wages are being raised substantially in developed countries. Raising the minimum wage will be a major force for expanding consumer spending and creating a virtuous cycle in the economy. In raising the minimum wage, we will drastically strengthen support for small and medium-sized businesses. The most effective way to do this is to reduce social insurance premiums, which are also paid by loss-making companies, in proportion to wage increases. To finance this, we will impose a temporary tax of 2% per year, for a total of 10% over five years, on retained earnings of large corporations with capital of 1 billion yen or more, which have increased through "Abenomics" since 2012, to secure tax revenues of about 10 trillion yen. At the same time, we will strictly regulate the bullying of subcontractors by large corporations.
The minimum wage needs to be unified nationwide in order to address the concentration of workers in large cities and revitalize local economies. First, we aim to achieve 1,000 yen per hour, and then 1,500 yen per hour to ensure a more stable life.
It is questionable to make a uniform wage rate nationwide, etc., since the situation around wages differs from region to region.
We will raise the minimum wage and achieve "over 1,150 yen per hour anywhere in Japan" as soon as possible. To do this, we will strengthen support for small and medium-sized businesses. It is essential to steadily raise the minimum wage while seeking a feasible level.
If minimum wages are raised abruptly, business owners who cannot bear the sudden increase in costs will be forced to take actions such as salary cuts and lay-offs, which may lead to bankruptcies and an increase in unemployment. For example, in South Korea, as a result of the 16%
wage increase in January 2018, many small and medium-sized businesses were forced out of business, employment decreased, those who were originally intended to be saved by the increased minimum wage lost their jobs, and companies are also moving out of the country. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, where the minimum wage has been gradually raised, there has been no negative impact on employment. We Komeito aim to steadily raise the minimum wage by 3% or more annually, and raise the national weighted average wage to over 1,000 yen in the early 2020s, and to over 1,000 yen in more than half of the prefectures in the mid-2020s, in order to correct the disparity between regions.
The government has said it will raise the national average minimum wage to 1,000 yen, but as you point out, at least 1,500 yen per hour is necessary. Although 1,500 yen is only the minimum, it is necessary to achieve this. To prevent small and medium-size businesses from vanishing by the increased minimum wage, the government will compensate them for the wage increase. The government should provide support to companies through a combination of subsidies and reduction/exemption of the employer's portion of social insurance premiums. This will lead to genuine regional development, where people will be able to live at least minimally anywhere in Japan with a uniform national minimum wage.
＜Other＞ While taking into consideration the decision of the Supreme Court of Japan in 2021, we will accept the public's opinions regarding the disadvantages of changing the surname and the changing times, further eliminate such disadvantages, and promote the success of each and every one of the nation's citizens.
We will implement a selective dual surname system for married couples as soon as possible.
On June 8, the opposition parties jointly submitted to the House of Representatives a bill to amend the Civil Code to allow the selective dual surname system for married couples, which, if approved, could be introduced immediately. The opposition parties have jointly submitted this bill in the past, but it has been blocked due to opposition from the Liberal Democratic Party. We will do our best to have it enacted as soon as possible.
It is a violation of personal rights to force either party to change the family name they have used for many years in their daily lives and work due to marriage. We should amend the Civil Code and implement a selective dual surname system for married couples as soon as possible.
While maintaining the family register system and the principle of the single surname per a family register, we aim to establish a system that allows people to continue to use their maiden name after marriage and to engage in socioeconomic activities using their maiden name, for example by establishing a system that gives general legal effect to the use of maiden names.
We will introduce the selective dual surname system for married couples. We will aim for a society that accepts diverse forms of families. We will ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and aim to revise the Family Registration Law, which discriminates against children born out of wedlock.
We will introduce a "selective dual surname system" for married couples as soon as possible, based on broad consensus building, so that couples who wish to do so can marry without having to change their respective surnames.
This is a policy that the government can introduce immediately. Regarding married couples' surnames, Reiwa Shinsengumi, jointly with the opposition parties, has submitted a lawmakers' bill to amend the Civil Code during the ordinary Diet session of 2022. It is possible as soon as the LDP changes its policy.
＜Other＞ The members of the Diet are equally representative of all citizens (citizens of prefectures, cities, towns, and villages), and our party does not take the view that male members of the Diet represent men and female members represent women, or that being male or female takes precedence over all other qualities. Based on the idea that both women and men should have equal opportunities to participate in politics, candidates should be recruited regardless of gender, and the most suitable candidates should be selected from among them based on a comprehensive judgment. On the other hand, our party is vigorously working to create an environment in which it is easy for women to run for office so that the number of female candidates will increase. In particular, the Women's Bureau has taken the lead in finding female candidates by holding the "Women's Future School," a training session to find women who are interested in politics, since 2018. In 2020, the Women's Future School started special sessions "Women's Candidate Training Course", a practical course for training female candidates who can be immediately effective, and the selected students will receive regular lectures and practical exercises led by Diet members affiliated with the party.
We will consider introducing a quota system in conjunction with the mandatory disclosure of the ratio of supported candidates.
We believe that each political party should be required to disclose numerical targets for the ratio of female candidates and their actual status.
We can make the efforts of each political party visible by making it obligatory to disclose numerical targets. We the Social Democratic Party set the ratio of female candidates in national elections at 50% or more, which was achieved in last year's lower house election.
Recognizing that it is necessary to create an environment where women can easily run for office, we decided to provide babysitter subsidies as a measure to support the child-rearing generation.
Under the goal of equalizing the number of male and female candidates as much as possible, the party will achieve the goal of 35% female candidates.
Since each political party's current ratio of the female candidates and each party's challenges in raising the number of female candidates and female Diet members are different, we believe each party needs different approaches. We believe that it would be effective to require each political party to announce its target from the perspective of encouraging voluntary efforts. However, we must pay extra attention to ensure the female candidates are not put forward on the assumption that they will fail in the election based on the prospects of winning or losing, or that they are not put forward unreasonably even though they are not provided the resources that help them engage in their work as a Diet member. We are also working as a party to increase the number of female candidates by establishing a detailed consultation system with the current and former Diet members, as well as a parental leave system for the party responsibilities. In addition to the announcement of such numerical targets, we believe it is necessary to further improve the environment in which women can easily run for office and engage in parliamentary activities, including measures to support a better balance between men and women, to promote gender equality in housework and child-rearing.
Along with making numerical targets mandatory and introducing a quota system, incentives should be provided through party subsidies and other means to encourage political parties to promote women's political participation.
We can say neither yes nor no. We will examine Livelihood protection standards that can guarantee a minimum standard of healthy and cultural living, and take necessary measures.
We will urgently restore the cuts in Livelihood protection benefits that have been forced by the Komeito-and-LDP government since 2013, including cuts of up to 15% in Livelihood Assistance benefits, and raise the level of benefits to a level befitting the guarantee of the right to survival. We will also stop the practice of refusing to allow people to apply for Livelihood protection benefits on the grounds that they own a car or have a small saving. The number of people struggling to make ends meet is increasing dramatically due to the COVID-19 crisis, and it is essential to reform the Livelihood Protection system to one that is appropriate to Article 25 of the Constitution.
We need to raise Livelihood Assistance standards in order for the Livelihood Protection system to function as the last safety net.
In order to build a "safety net for challenges," we should give serious consideration to optimizing and integrating redistribution based on a basic income or tax credits with benefits, and promote the reform of the entire social security system, including pensions.
(Other) There are many cases where poverty leads to life-threatening and dangerous conditions. We will make the requirements for eligibility for welfare benefits easy to understand, appropriately grant eligibility when the requirements are met, and take action to ensure that situations are not left unattended where people do not receive benefits despite their eligibility.
The fiscal year 2013 is the period for the five-year review of Livelihood Assistance standards, etc. And comparison was made between the Livelihood Assistance, which is equivalent to daily living expenses, and the consumption expenditures of low-income households in general. The result of the examination showed that the living standard of elderly households receiving Livelihood Protection benefits was lower than that of low-income households, while the households with a large number of children receiving Livelihood Protect benefits tended tend to be higher than the low-income households with a large number of children. The Livelihood Assistance standards were then revised to eliminate this "inversion phenomenon" and to reflect the decline in prices, which had previously remained the same. At that time, Komeito insisted that the review of Livelihood protection benefits should not be based on the reduction in Livelihood protection benefits, we asked to take thorough measures to prevent unjustified receipts and
further support the self-reliance and employment of those in need. In December of the same year, the "Law to Assist Chronically Poverty-stricken People to Live Independent Lives" was enacted as a "second safety net" for the people in need, which includes consultations for self-reliance, "Housing Security Benefits," support for employment preparation, household budget consultations, and learning support for children. The special measure on the Housing Security Benefits for those who are at risk of losing their housing due to the COVID-19 pandemic was taken, and it is supporting the lives of many people.
The reductions in the standards for livelihood protection that have been implemented to date have been problematic, as they have deviated from the conventional method of examination (level-balancing method) and have been implemented with the attitude that the reductions are justified without asking for expert opinions. The Osaka District Court ruled on February 22, 2021, that the reduction was illegal. We should call off the unfounded reduction of the livelihood assistance standards and establish a protection standard appropriate for "a minimum standard of living that is healthy and culturally acceptable". The public assistance standards are also linked to the standards for school enrollment assistance, the maximum amount of inhabitant tax exemption, and the minimum wage, and are the basis for the stability of the nation's livelihood, requiring more transparency in the decision-making process than the regular operating budget. The decision-making process also needs a mechanism to reflect the opinions of recipients.
Rather than prohibiting discrimination, we will promote a broad and correct understanding of sexual minorities and build a tolerant and warm society that embraces diversity.
We submitted the LGBT Discrimination Elimination Bill to the Diet to prohibit the state and businesses from discriminatory treatment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In December 2018, five opposition parties and one faction, including the Japanese Communist Party, submitted the "LGBT Discrimination Elimination Bill" to the Diet. The bill stipulates the prohibition of discriminatory treatment by administrative agencies and businesses on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and includes measures to eliminate discrimination at workplaces and schools, etc. However, the ruling party has shown difficulty in clearly stating the prohibition of discrimination. And even the "bill to promote understanding," which was agreed upon in a bipartisan manner, was postponed due to objections and obstruction from within the LDP. In view of public opinion, the time is ripe for the enactment of the bill, and we will continue our efforts.
EU member states, many U.S. states, and Canada have already enacted laws prohibiting discrimination against sexual minorities. Japan has received an admonishment from the United Nations to prohibit discrimination. We should enact this law as soon as possible.
We are in favor of creating some kind of law. However, we should keep in our mind the process of formulating the "Law for the Promotion of LGBT Understanding" in last year's Diet through legislation by Diet members.
In the current session of the Diet, We the Democratic Party for the People support and plan to co-submit the legislative bill, "LGBT Discrimination Elimination Bill".
Based on the recognition that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is unacceptable, we are working on the passage of the Law for the Promotion of Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
In the 2022 Diet session, Reiwa Shinsengumi, jointly with the opposition parties, submitted the LGBT Discrimination Elimination Bill as a legislative proposal. Based on the legal basis, we will create a society where no one is discriminated against based on any sexual orientation or gender identity.
The government's position, and that of our party as well, are that "Article 24 of the Constitution stipulates that marriage shall be solely based on the consent of the two sexes and that under the current Constitution, it is not envisioned that same-sex couples shall be allowed to enter into marriage". The "partnership system" adopted by some local governments is based on the premise that the public's further understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity, and we believe that careful consideration, including the pros and cons of such a system, is necessary.
We will achieve a legal system that allows same-sex marriages.
In June 2019, three opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, submitted a bill to the Diet to achieve "marriage equality," in which marriages are recognized equally regardless of sexual orientation. The current system, in which same-sex couples are excluded from legal status and rights that heterosexual couples are entitled to because of their sexual orientation, which cannot be changed by their own will, is contrary to individual dignity and equality under the law. It is unacceptable for the state to determine and impose an "ideal family". We will do our utmost to achieve same-sex marriage.
We should guarantee the freedom and equality of marriage.
We will recognize same-sex marriage and promote measures to ensure that LGBTQ and other sexual minorities will not be unfairly discriminated against.
Same-sex marriage is recognized in 29 countries and regions around the world. And Japan is the only country in the G7 that doesn’t have a law guaranteeing same-sex partnership. We will promote the legislation to resolve issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, such as considering the expansion and legislation of the partnership system and easing the requirements for changing family registers.
We will further discuss same-sex marriage among the public, conduct concrete surveys on the actual situation, and work on the necessary legislation.
Creating a system that allows everyone to marry the person of their choice will lead to a society where everyone can live authentically. The opposition parties will continue to work together to legislate same-sex marriage.
We will review the family register requirements of the GID Special Cases Act.
In the development of international human rights standards, there has been a shift from the "pathological model," which regards gender identity as a disease, to the "human rights model," which emphasizes and respects the individual's gender identity. Currently, in Japan, the legal requirement for gender reassignment is to have surgery to remove reproductive functions and to give the appearance of genital organs similar to those of the gender after the reassignment. However, forcing a person to undergo a medical treatment or surgery that involves deep scalpel cuts to the body and in some cases is life-threatening is a serious human rights issue. The Japanese Communist Party's position is that the requirements for gender reassignment should be examined in a manner that aligns with the transition from a "pathological model" to a "human rights model.
We cannot be assertive that we will be able to amend the current law and ease the requirement. However, we are currently discussing the matter among the party members in order to be more attentive to the difficulties faced by transgender people.
(Other) In order to create a society where lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and other "sexual minorities" are not discriminated against, we have submitted the "bill on Promotion of Elimination of Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity” that includes measures to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. We will work for the enactment of this bill. We will work with support groups to eliminate discrimination, prejudice, and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
We should remove the so-called "childless requirement," which stipulates the absence of a minor child, and leave the decisions up to family courts based on individual circumstances. In addition, the so-called "reproductive incapacity requirement/appearance requirement" to undergo gender reassignment surgery is a very heavy physical and financial burden, so we believe we should review them aiming to remove the requirement. We will discuss the so-called “unmarried requirement”, aiming for a less strict requirement in the context of discussing same-sex marriages.
We believe that requiring physical requirements such as surgical and appearance requirements, such as "the body must have an appearance that approximates the genital part of the body pertaining to the other sex," is problematic.
We believe we should maintain the current consumption tax rate as a stable source of revenue for social security that supports people's livelihood and peace of mind. Specifically, it is used to finance pensions, medical care, long-term care, and childcare, and supports the livelihood and security of the people. By utilizing the consumption tax as a source of funding for social security that widely benefits the people, and in which all generations share the burden fairly, we will pass on the social security system to the next generation.
Given the enormous pain caused to people's lives and domestic industries by the COVID-19 pandemic and the price hikes of utilities and products, we will lower the consumption tax rate to 5% temporarily. The government will compensate for the revenue loss to local governments that this will cause.
We will aim to abolish the consumption tax and reduce the rate to 5% urgently, for the time being.
We propose a zero consumption tax rate for three years to rebuild the lives of those who have been exhausted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, we will impose a temporary tax on corporate retained earnings as a source of revenue.
We will lower the reduced consumption tax rate from the current 8% to 3% in stages, or to 0% depending on the situation, to cope with the ongoing price hike. Thereafter, we will reduce the consumption tax itself to 5% for about two years to break the long-term stagnation of the Japanese economy and the COVID-19 pandemic. (We have already submitted the bill). After the period of these special measures against price hikes and the COVID-19 pandemic are completed, we will reduce the consumption tax to 8% and abolish the reduced tax rate system, and consider future local taxation and tax system reform in combination.
We will reduce consumption tax from 10% to 5% until the rate of wage increase reaches price +2% in order to prevent the economy from falling into stagflation, in which prices rise and the economy stagnates.
The consumption tax is used to provide a stable source of revenue for social security because it is less susceptible to changes in the economy and population structure, and thus provides a stable source of tax revenue. Even if the consumption tax reduction was to be implemented, we cannot discuss the matter without a reliable alternative source of revenue. And if the tax cut was to be implemented, it would require legal reform and would take a certain amount of time to be in effect, so it would not be a timely measure. In addition, it is clear that consumption will be sluggish as people will be reluctant to buy immediately after the bill is submitted and until the tax rate is lowered. In addition, when the tax rate is restored to its original level, there will be a rush demand and a reactionary decline, which will have a very large impact on the economy and impose a large administrative burden on businesses, such as the replacement of price tags. Therefore, we believe that lowering the consumption tax rate is not a good economic measure.
Corporate tax cuts and consumption tax hikes have been always paired. We could say that about 73% of consumption tax revenues were used to fill the gap between corporate tax cuts. When the current tax consumption law was introduced, even Prime Minister Takeshita who promoted this law in the Diet debate then expressed 9 concerns, including its regressiveness. This problem has not been resolved at all. The consumption tax is almost like a "fine" for low-income groups, which is taken every time they consume. What the government actually means by “rectifying the balance between direct and indirect taxation” is nothing more than "income tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate tax cuts for large corporations”.
The Japanese Invoice System is to be introduced from the viewpoint of ensuring appropriate taxation under multiple tax rates. On the other hand, we understand that there are concerns about the increased administrative burden on small and medium-sized businesses and the impact on transactions with tax-exempt businesses. In response to these concerns, transitional measures have been established to mitigate the impact on individual businesses, and support has been provided for the introduction of IT tools to support digitization, including compliance with the system. We will continue to listen carefully to the voices of small and medium-sized businesses and small proprietors, and address their needs, including consideration of necessary measures.
We will abolish the Japanese Invoice System due to concerns that tax-exempt businesses may be excluded from the trading or forced to close their businesses, and because the costs associated with issuing and storing invoices are burdensome.
This is a major tax hike that will burden not only ordinary sole proprietors, but also freelancers, members of the Silver Human Resources Center, and many other citizens, and is aimed at further raising the tax rate.
Regarding the Japanese Invoice System currently scheduled for introduction, small and medium-sized businesses and sole proprietors have voiced concerns that tax-exempt businesses could be excluded from trading and that the cost burden would be excessive. It is problematic to introduce this system while the current spread of the COVID-19 is still ongoing. We will consider postponing the timing of the introduction and improving the system.
We must introduce the Japanese invoice system even for sole proprietors and small and medium-sized businesses. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, we should consider postponing the introduction of the invoice system and support.
We will not introduce the Japanese Invoice System, taking into account the burden on small and medium-sized businesses.
The Japanese Invoice system (transactions using invoices that clearly indicate the amount of consumption tax for each tax rate) enables sellers to accurately inform buyers of applicable tax rates and consumption tax amounts, and it corrects unfair price-cutting practices by buyers, such as beating down the prices and refusing the passed-on prices. We believe that this system is necessary to ensure appropriate transactions and a fair tax burden. To reduce the administrative burden, we will promote the development of a digitally-enabled transaction and tax payment environment, including electronic invoicing, and encourage significant efficiency improvements in back-office operations.
The government should not introduce the Japanese invoice system that actually imposes administrative burdens and tax obligations even on freelancers with low incomes. By abolishing the consumption tax, we should make the invoice system itself unnecessary.
【Answer】We refrain from giving an answer at this time.
【Explanation】We believe that we should consider the future corporate tax system, including the corporate tax rate while taking into account the changes in economic and social conditions.
At this point, we haven't considered a specific percentage of the effective tax rate that is appropriate.
We will reform the corporate tax system so that the taxpayers will be required to pay their fair share in proportion to their earnings.
[Answer] About 37%, excluding small and medium-sized businesses.
[Explanation] We will return the tax rate to the level before the Abe administration.
Mid-to-high 30% to about 40%.
The corporate tax rate has been gradually reduced since the 1980s. Currently, the tax rate is 12.5% in real terms, taking into account preferential tax treatment. We must return to the past corporate tax rate.
As a short-term economic measure, we should set the corporate tax rate for small and medium-sized businesses at 15%, the lowest international rate, regardless of the amount of income.
[Answer] We do not have a specific target rate at this time, but it should be higher than the current rate.
When we are raising the minimum wages, we will support this through property tax and consumption tax reductions as well as corporate tax reductions.
In order to promote wage increases among corporations, we will mobilize all possible policies, including various subsidies, tax measures such as the "tax system to promote wage increases" which was drastically expanded in this year's tax reform, measures on the pass-on prices for subcontractors, and improve the effectiveness of the Partnership Building Declaration. We would like to discuss the ideal corporate effective tax rate while monitoring the effects of these policies and trends in other countries.
[Answer] We believe that we should use progressive taxation for corporate income tax, instead of a single tax rate. [Explanation]We believe that we should use progressive taxation for corporate income tax, instead of a single tax rate. At the same time, we will conduct a sweeping review of the preferential tax treatment of large corporations through special tax measures that lower the effective tax rate for large corporations.
The use of reserve funds is not a "blank check”. The basic principle is to use the tax money entrusted to us by the public appropriately and efficiently. The lack of transparency is undeniable. We must clarify the actual situation of sloppy handling of huge expenses without deliberation by the Diet.
We should limit the reserve funds to unforeseeable expenditures such as disasters. And most of the expenses for COVID-19 measures should be budgeted after deliberation by the Diet, not as a reserve fund.
The government is expanding the reserve fund, which is not subject to public scrutiny, and this is an act of disregard for fiscal democracy. It is only fair that the government discloses the use of the "COVID-19 reserve fund".
The approval of the 11-trillion-yen reserve fund was an exception to provide the infectious disease countermeasures. We must ensure to investigate the use of the funds.
A reserve fund was used to finance the FY2022 supplementary budget, and an additional reserve fund was appropriated to cover the decrease in the reserve fund. In light of the possibility that new measures will be required in the future as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds and the situation in Ukraine progresses, there is a certain rationality to this measure. However, from the perspective of budget transparency and fiscal democracy, we believe that there are many issues to be addressed in the management of the reserve fund.
In reality, it is difficult to separate out and clarify the use of the COVID-19 reserve funds alone, since most of the funds were added to the existing budget and are managed together. However, the government should follow up on the status of each project and disclose information to the public in order to ascertain whether the Corona measures have been properly implemented to support households, businesses, and other entities.
The problem is that it is impossible to track how the reserve funds, whose expenditure is decided by the Cabinet and allocated to each ministry, are used after being distributed to the prefectures. It was significant that there was a huge amount of reserve funds at the time of the emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was an unprecedented fight against infectious diseases. However, it is a problem that there was no system to verify how the funds were used after the fact at the Committee on Financial Statements.
We will review related support and other measures to promote the introduction of online eligibility verification to healthcare institutions and pharmacies from April 2023 in principle, as well as to promote the use of the health insurance card integrated with a My Number Card by patients. We will aim to introduce a selective system of issuing insurance cards by insurers by the end of FY2024. In addition, based on the penetration status of online eligibility verification, etc., we aim to abolish the insurance card in principle.
We are against this because it will effectively force people to obtain their My Number card. It should be an option only for those who wish.
The imposition of the "Maina Insurance Card," which is being promoted in tandem with the abolition of the current health insurance card, is a de facto compulsion to use My Number cards. It is absolutely unacceptable in terms of the possible leakage of extremely important personal information such as health information and the possible invasion of privacy.
When the My Number law was passed, medical information was to be considered in a separate law to ensure to prevent the information leakage or usage for other purposes, etc., because it contains highly sensitive information. Protection of personal information is a prerequisite.
We should revise the My Number (Individual Number) law to expand the use of the funds and promote "full utilization" of the Individual Number system. In conjunction with the expansion of the My Number linkage, we should establish a "Revenue Agency" by integrating the National Tax Agency and the social insurance premium collection department to collect taxes and social insurance premiums in an integrated manner, thereby improving operational efficiency and correcting unfairness.
(Other) When using the system in fields other than the three areas of social security, tax, and disaster countermeasures stipulated in the current My Number Law, only items that guarantee the security, administrative efficiency, and convenience in people's lives should be considered, on the premise that careful explanation to the public and consensus-building are required.
We Komeito have been working to promote the My Number (Individual Number) Card, which will be the foundation of the digital society, with the implementation of the "new Maina reward point project" as one of the priority policies of last year's lower house election. And now that the project is introduced, 7500-yen-worth points will be awarded to those who register their Individual Number cards to use as their health insurance cards. In addition, medical institutions and pharmacies can check past prescription histories and results of special health checkups with the patient's consent when the patient receives a medical examination with the "Maina Insurance Card," which leads to improvements in the quality of medical care, etc. We will explain these benefits in an easy-to-understand manner and promote digitization so that patients, medical institutions, and pharmacies can all make effective use of medical information for safe, secure, and better medical care. However, in order to promote such efforts, we believe it is important to take all possible measures to prevent the leakage of personal information and confusion in the medical field.
Maina Insurance Card does not dispel concerns about personal information protection and security measures. There is a risk of leakage of personal information due to loss, or unauthorized access to medical information.
Three years have passed since the enactment of the "Law Concerning Lump-sum Payment to Persons who have undergone Eugenic Surgery, etc. under the Former Eugenic Protection Law", but applications for the lump-sum payment have not increased. We believe that it is necessary to work with local governments to inform those who are eligible. The deadline for claiming the lump-sum payment is approaching, and we take the fact that there are many issues to be considered very seriously.
Forced sterilization under the former Eugenic Protection Law is said to be the greatest human rights violation committed by the government in the postwar period. It is only fair that the government should apologize and compensate for it. We should revise the "Law concerning Lump-sum Payment to Persons who have undergone Eugenic Surgery under the Former Eugenic Protection Law" to clearly state the apology, increase the amount drastically without setting a deadline for application, and make their spouses and abortion victims eligible. We also call for the creation of a system for third-party verification of the damage caused by the former Eugenic Protection Law, and for efforts to raise awareness and educate the public on the elimination of discrimination.
Until the last person is rescued, we strongly urge that the damage caused by the former Eugenic Protection Law be investigated, verified, reflected upon, apologized for, and remedied. And we call for a full resolution.
There are opinions from victims' organizations and the leaders of some local governments calling for the expansion of support to spouses and forced sterilization victims, etc., who are not eligible for lump-sum payments, etc. under the current system. However, there are many issues to be addressed, such as the scope of support coverage and verification methods. We will carefully consider how support should be further provided, taking into account court decisions on the government’s compensation. For reference, we as a party support the High Court's decision not to apply the period of exclusion.
The plaintiffs and other affected parties are aging. In addition to legal compensation, we believe that a solution to the Eugenic Protection Law issue, such as the elimination of discrimination, is urgently needed. A political solution is needed as soon as possible. We the Democratic Party for the People will do our utmost to achieve a full resolution of the Eugenic Protection Law issue.
Forced sterilization based on the former Eugenic Protection Law is a serious violation of human rights. And because the number of victims is aging and many of them may not be able to bring a lawsuit, we have enacted legislation to provide a lump-sum payment to those who were forced to undergo sterilization based on the former Eugenic Protection Law in order to provide support more quickly and more widely. Taking into the account that the Tokyo High Court and Osaka High Court decisions showed that the amount of the lump-sum payment exceeds the amount of the grant and that the fact that the Lump-Sum Compensation Act was enacted unanimously by the Diet, we should consult and discuss with the government and the Diet on the future measures to be taken, including the level of lump-sum payments under the Act.
The Lump-sum Payment Law is unclear about the government's responsibility for the forced sterilizations performed under the Eugenic Protection Law and its apology to the victims. 3.2 million yen, the amount of the lump-sum payment, is considered insufficient compensation for the damage done to the lives of the victims. In addition, many of those who have undergone forced sterilization have suffered because they could not tell their spouses about it, and their spouses have suffered because they thought it was their fault that they could not have children. It is necessary to revise the Lump-sum Payment Law to clearly state the government's responsibility and apology, to increase the amount of compensation, and to revise the law so that not only the party who underwent forced sterilization but also their spouse is eligible for compensation.
We will enact laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, origin, etc.
We are firmly against antiforeignism, discrimination, and hate speeches. We are also in favor of prohibiting and penalizing discriminatory treatment, such as discrimination in housing and in employment. On the other hand, we believe that legislative measures to prohibit hate speech with penalties require careful consideration, taking into account the freedom of speech and expression under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Japanese Communist Party supported Kawasaki City's "Ordinance for City Planning for a Discrimination-Free and Human Rights-Respecting Community," which includes penalties for hate speech. In areas where the actual situation is serious enough to require penalties, we will support the ordinance if the requirements for its composition can be clarified.
The Japanese government is strongly urged by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and other organizations to develop measures that meet international human rights standards. Thus, the Basic Law on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is necessary.
We believe that our Constitution and other existing domestic laws are sufficient to fulfill the obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to which Japan is a party. If we need to enact additional domestic law in the future, we will consider it carefully.
(Other) We will further develop the Anti-Hate Speech Law and enact a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, origin, etc.
△： We Komeito contributed to the enactment of the Hate Speech Elimination Law through consensus-building between the ruling and opposition parties, amidst various issues such as concerns for freedom of expression. As a result, the public is becoming increasingly aware that "hate speech will not be tolerated. However, there is still no end to unjust and discriminatory speech and actions on the basis of race, ethnicity, and other factors. The recent Supreme Court decision on hate speech, the first of its kind in Japan, held that "freedom of expression is not guaranteed without limitation, but may be limited to reasonable, necessary, and unavoidable limits by public welfare," and that taking certain measures to deter hate speech is not a violation of the Constitution. As the Supreme Court has recognized, hate speech is not tolerated even in light of the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution. We will continue to consider the prohibition of discrimination with penalties, such as the Basic Law on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and further promote the elimination of various forms of discrimination.
We will drastically review the current system for refugee status determination, and detention and deportation.
We are seeing an abnormal situation that the long-term and indefinite detention in poor immigration facilities under the "detain-all system", results in numerous deaths, suicides, and hunger strikes among detained foreigners. We must reform the system drastically, and five opposition parties including the Japanese Communist Party and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan have jointly submitted to the House of Councillors a bill for the protection of refugees and other detainees and an amendment to the Immigration Control Act. There is an urgent need to make court checks mandatory for body restraint and detention, set an upper limit on the period of detention, improve medical care, and make refugee recognition more transparent. Foreigners who have become undocumented for various reasons need to be dealt with according to their individual circumstances, for example by actively utilizing the "special permission to stay" system.
We will prevent human rights violations in immigration detention facilities. We will address issues such as the very low refugee recognition rate, and create an inclusive society in Japan, rather than excluding immigrants and refugees.
We should judge whether to grant or deny special permissions for residence comprehensively based on the individual cases and circumstances of the foreign national concerned while respecting international human rights standards.
(Other) International agreements on immigration clearly state that "detention shall be for the shortest possible time. The reason for long-term detention is that the requirements for special permission for residence are not clearly defined and that refugee applicants are not given the opportunity to state their opinions because they are not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act or the Administrative Appeal Act. Applicants who are not satisfied with adverse dispositions without an opportunity to state their opinions will refuse to leave the country, which we believe leads to long-term detention in Japan, where the "principle of detention" is applied. Therefore, we must clarify the criteria for refugee status and improve related laws concerning refugee status procedures.
△： As you pointed out, prolonged detention in immigration detention facilities is an urgent issue. In order to resolve this issue, we will consider a system that allows detainees to live outside of the detention facilities, and we will promote the reinforcement of the medical system at the facilities. In addition, we will continue to improve the system and its operation so that those who should be allowed to stay in Japan will be appropriately protected and those who have committed serious crimes in Japan will be dealt with strictly. For foreign nationals who are staying in Japan on an irregular basis, we believe that special permission for residence should continue to be granted in cases where humanitarian accommodations are required.
The current situation in which detainees are detained for long periods of time in poor conditions should be improved as soon as possible. We must provide human rights training to immigration officials, and set a legal limit on the length of detention. We cannot have another victim like Ms. Wishma Sandamali.
We aim to establish a new employment system to replace the Technical Intern Training Program for foreign nationals.
The reality of the Technical Intern Training Program for foreign nationals is that foreign nationals are forced to perform inexpensive unskilled labor in poor workplaces. In most cases, they are not allowed to switch workplaces. Violations of the Minimum Wage Law, violence, and harassment are rampant, and the system is a hotbed of injustice. The threat and reality of a forced return to home if they become pregnant, combined with Japan's lagging reproductive health and rights (see note), further torment the women and constitute an extreme violation of their human rights. (Emergency contraceptives are expensive and not readily available, abortion pills are not approved, and the consultation system is not robust.) Although the UN and ILO have given several recommendations for improvement, the Technical Intern Training Program itself has become a profit-making structure for sending organizations, receiving organizations, and brokers, and it must be reformed. We should abolish the technical internship system immediately.
In reality, this system is functioning to accept cheap labor to make up for the labor shortage in Japan. In addition, exploitation and violence are rampant. We should accept them as workers with their guaranteed status.
We will investigate the actual situation of the foreign technical internship system and promote appropriate acceptance of foreign workers by drastically improving the situation where foreign workers have been used as a "means of adjusting labor supply and demand”.
(Other) In order to achieve a vibrant Japanese society, foreign workers are necessary, and it is a prerequisite that they are able to fully demonstrate their abilities and promote cooperation and coexistence with the Japanese people in local communities and in their daily lives. We urge the government to urgently reconsider the ideal way of accepting foreign workers, not only the Specified Skills system but also the appropriate treatment of foreign workers.
△： The Technical Intern Training Program for foreign nationals is a program designed to transfer Japanese skills, technology, and knowledge to developing countries and other countries, and to cooperate in "human resource development" that will play a role in the economic development of those countries. However, we are aware that there are cases where foreign interns who have come to Japan through this program have been subjected to poor working conditions. In order to improve such environments, the "Organization for Technical Intern Training" was newly established in 2017, and companies that accept interns are required to notify the Organization and to treat them and Japanese nationals equally. We will continue to carefully discuss the issue to provide fine treatment for foreign interns, aiming for an inclusive society in which no one is left behind.
The U.S. Department of State has condemned Japan's technical internship system for human rights violations every year since 2007. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has also made repeated recommendations to the Japanese government. The foreign technical internship system should be abolished as soon as possible.
We will revise the Penal Code to raise the age of consent from the current 13 to 16 years old.
The age of consent in Japan is too low, which is a sign that society as a whole does not recognize the importance of protecting children from sexual harm, and is shameful. Sexual victimization and sexual abuse in the home and at school are serious, but the damaging effects on children are long-lasting, as it is difficult for them and those around them to recognize the damage, and it takes considerable time for them to recover from it. Given the seriousness of sexual assault on children, it is imperative to raise the age of sexual assault. Legislative measures can be taken, such as setting an age difference rule and not decriminalizing sexual acts between people of the same age group over 13 years old. Two years ago, South Korea also raised the age of consent from 13 to 16, and Japan's delay cannot be neglected.
The age of consent is the age to draw the line when protecting children from sexual exploitation. In developed countries, it is 15-16 years old.
We should raise the age of consent for sexual intercourse, but a national consensus is needed on whether or not to raise the age to 16.
Based on the principle of "human security," we will work on the protection of human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and the building of an inclusive and just society.
△： Aiming for the eradication of sexual crimes and sexual violence, we will promote efforts to raise the age of consent for sexual intercourse. With regard to the age of consent, we will continue to carefully discuss the issue with each party and each faction, and make every effort to form a broad consensus.
From the perspective of the right to self-determination, we believe that the age of consent for sexual intercourse should be at least 16 years old, which is the age one has already finished their mandatory education by then.
We will promote a review of "assaults" and "intimidation", etc.
The "requirement of assaults and intimidations" and the "requirement of inability to resist" have become major obstacles in criminal justice, and we don't know how many victims have been driven to despair because they cannot prove that they have been sexually harmed. The fact that the Penal Code of the Imperial Diet, which consisted only of men with property in the Meiji era (1907), has remained in place to this day is a symbolic example of gender inequality in Japan. Psychology and psychiatry have proven that the victims simply freeze and cannot resist violently at the scene of non-consensual sexual intercourse. The criminalization of non-consensual sexual intercourse is an important milestone in the eradication of sexual violence. Although it was not included in the 2017 revision of the Penal Code, the Flower Protests and the growing movement of those affected have pushed it to the agenda of the Legislative Council for consideration. Let's make sure that the next revision of the Penal Code will definitely win the clear crime of non-consensual sexual intercourse.
There are a great number of cases where sudden sexual violence causes psychological paralysis, and fear disables the victims to resist. The same applies to cases where there is a dominant-subordinate relationship with the perpetrator. We should eliminate requirements such as "inability to resist".
Discussion is needed on this issue, and a national consensus is needed for legislation.
(Other) Based on the principle of "human security," we will work on the protection of human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and the building of an inclusive and just society. We believe that we must discuss the composition of legal requirements and issues for the establishment of such crimes.
△： Sexual crimes and sexual violence are absolutely unacceptable, as they trample on the human rights of victims and have serious long-term physical and mental effects on them. We Komeito will work to revise the Penal Code from the perspective of victims, regarding the revision of requirements for assault, threats, unconscious state, and inability to resist.
The current crime of forced sexual intercourse has a too narrow scope of punishment.
We will promote a review of the crime of forced sexual intercourse, etc. in the Penal Code.
The problem is that the statute of limitations for prosecution of sexual assaults, especially in childhood, expires before the victims become aware that they have been harmed. Various countries have also experienced similar problems and have made various amendments to their criminal laws in response to the actual situation, such as eliminating the statute of limitations for prosecution, suspending the statute of limitations until the victim becomes an adult, and extending the statute of limitations to 20 years. Japan also needs to revise its criminal law based on these amendments.
For example, in incest, it is often the case that the child cannot even realize they are victims. We should eliminate the statute of limitations for prosecution.
Statutes of limitations are set because as time goes by, evidence and witnesses become fewer and harder to prove the crime. We cannot say that eliminating the statute of limitations is necessarily effective; discussion is needed.
(Other) We believe that the abolishment is an important policy issue. We will request the revision of the Penal Code so that only "non-consent" from the other party is required for sexual violence victimization, and "assaults", "intimidation", "physical and mental loss", and "inability to resist" will be removed from requirements for the crime. We also call for heavier penalties for highly malicious sex crimes against persons with disabilities, forced sexual acts using their status or relationship, and sex crimes using drugs, etc. We will reform the Penal Code based on the voices of victims and support groups, such as expanding the scope of application of the crime of sexual intercourse by a guardian, raising the age of consent for sexual intercourse, etc.
△： Victims of forced sexual intercourse often suffer serious physical and mental effects and are unable to immediately seek advice or report the crime. We Komeito will work to revise the Penal Code from the perspective of victims regarding how the statute of limitations system for prosecution in sexual crimes and sexual violence should be.
Regarding the statute of limitations for sex crimes, we think it is too short. However, we must also discuss whether the statute of limitations should be completely eliminated. For example, it could be set to 20 or 30 years.
There are four items: "Self-Defense Forces, "a-state-of-emergency measures", "local governments and dissolution of merged electoral districts”, and "Enhancement of Education." In light of the domestic and international circumstances our country is facing, including the increasingly tense security environment surrounding our country, our response to a state of emergency we experienced in the Great East Japan Earthquake and other disasters, the transformation of the electoral system brought by the uneven distribution of the population from depopulation or overpopulation, and the need to create an environment where people can receive higher education regardless of their family's economic circumstances, we must amend the Constitution.
The current ruling party's direction to revise the Constitution is to strengthen state power and is unnecessary. On the other hand, discussions to limit state power are necessary, as evidenced by the cases where the opposition parties demanded the convening of an extraordinary Diet session based on the Constitution, but the ruling party did not respond to our request.
The urgent issue concerning the Constitution does not lie in revising it, but in doing our utmost to fully demonstrate the principles of the Constitution, such as thoroughgoing pacifism, national sovereignty, and fundamental human rights. We absolutely cannot allow the revision of Article 9 of the Constitution to turn Japan into a military power capable of openly waging war or the creation of a state-of-emergency clause that would lead to the suppression of basic human rights. Free and improved education is also something that can be done immediately under the current Constitution, and cannot be used as a reason for constitutional change at all.
There is no need to change the Constitution now. The various deadlock in society is not caused by the Constitution, but by the government's failure to utilize the Constitution's principles. It is not the "Constitution" that needs to be changed, but the "government". We the Social Democratic Party will do our utmost to rebuild the lives of the people by applying the principles of the Constitution to people's lives and politics.
The Self-Defense Forces should be clearly defined in the Constitution. We should establish a state-of-emergency clause so that we can react in the event of an emergency, based on the constitutional system.
We do not believe that there are pressing issues on which a consensus of the people can be formed. We will promote constructive discussions without stagnating on the dualism of constitutional protection and revision. In particular, we should create a state-of-emergency clause to prevent the executive power from becoming bloated in emergency situations. In light of the fact that economic freedom, freedom of business, and freedom of movement were easily restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic without adequate economic compensation, we must examine the powers of the government, the powers of Congress, etc. in a state of emergency.
△： As for constitutional issues, various issues are expected to be addressed, such as maintaining the functions of the Diet in a state of emergency, the constitutional guarantee of human rights and democracy in the advancement of the digital society, and the clear stipulation of the Self-Defense Forces. We Komeito will continue to carefully discuss and examine these issues.
There are no pressing issues that require a constitutional amendment. All can be addressed by legal reform and budgetary measures. Many issues can be resolved by amending the law and raising financial resources through the issuance of government bonds. We feel a sense of uneasiness about the view of constitutional reform as a cure-all-solution.
In the response to the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia, NATO countries have once again decided to maintain the defense budget target of more than 2 percent of GDP. Japan also needs to take the efforts of other countries to strengthen their defense capabilities seriously. And considering that the security environment in Japan is expected to become even more severe, it is important to secure our defense capability. We believe that we should increase truly necessary defense expenditures, bearing in mind that the ratio of defense expenditures to GDP should be set as a target (2percent or more).
We need to strengthen our defense capabilities to be prepared for the rapidly-growing military technologies and the security situations surrounding our country. However, there is no strategy for what kind of capabilities to be provided. And the target of 2% or more of GDP, which is not clearly defined, and the amount of about 11 trillion yen (the increase is equivalent to more than 2% of the consumption tax) are targets that are based on the total amount and do not seem reasonable and are not backed by financial resources. We should give priority to improving quality rather than the total amount.
We oppose any increase in military spending, including a doubling of military spending that would destroy peace and livelihood. The current plan is to double the amount to more than 11 trillion yen per year, which would make Japan the third largest military power in the world after the U.S. and China. It is clear from the very beginning that such a major military expansion would result in either a massive increase in consumption tax or major cuts in the budget for social security, education, and other programs.
Currently, Japan's defense expenditures have ballooned to the point where it is ranked among the world's top 10. The basic policy of Japan's defense based on the Constitution of Japan is an "exclusively defense-oriented policy". Japan has the "minimum necessary" defense capability for self-defense, which is to be used only in the event of an armed attack. We oppose any further increase in defense spending.
We should set the defense expenditures in accordance with the military power situation of neighboring countries, which is not something we can decide by setting a 1-%-quota or alike. We should establish a system to prevent threats from nuclear powers and to appropriately deter aggression.
(Other) In order to cope with advances in defense technology and new areas such as cyber, space, electromagnetic waves, etc., we will increase necessary defense expenditures while maintaining an exclusively defense-oriented policy.
It is necessary to establish a truly budget after examining what kind of security policy and equipment for defense are needed in reality to protect the lives of the people in the increasingly severe security environment, and how the roles of the Japan-U.S. alliance should be divided, not based on the budget amount. On the other hand, we should examine those that entail a burden in the future budgeting process while obtaining the understanding of the public.
Even if defense spending is increased, it is likely to be used to pay the bill from the U.S. for FMS (Foreign Military Sales), which will only strengthen the U.S. industrial base. We believe that it would be better to use the money to enhance social security.
In addition to the considerable number of ballistic missiles already deployed around Japan, missile technology is changing and evolving at a rapid pace, with recent developments of hypersonic glide weapons and missiles with irregular trajectories, and such. Therefore, there is a risk that Japan may not be able to fully defend itself with interception alone. In light of this increasingly severe security environment, we believe that Japan should possess counterattack capabilities to deter and respond to armed attacks on Japan including ballistic missile attacks, under the concept of "exclusively defense-oriented policy".
It is an important issue in a realistic security strategy to comprehensively prepare deterrence and response capabilities against ballistic missiles and other threats in Japan's vicinity. While Japan has recognized that the so-called "enemy base attack" is within the scope of self-defense legally, it is a serious policy change that would lead to a change in the division of roles between the shield and the spear in the Japan-U.S. alliance, and Japan has not possessed this capability as a political decision because it could go beyond the scope of the exclusively defense-oriented policy. This decision is in accordance with the basic policy on national defense and is very serious. We need to consider whether to change the division of roles between Japan and the U.S., whether we will fall into a security dilemma that could increase tensions with neighboring countries, what to do about the possibility and cost of increased damage from retaliation or saturation attacks, and whether there are other means to neutralize the offensive capabilities of other countries. We will examine these issues from a multidirectional viewpoint, and while gaining public understanding, we will work to develop a realistic defense capability.
The possession of an "enemy base attack capability" is an outrageous 180-degree reversal of the government's interpretation of the Constitution, which states that "offensive weapons that pose a threat to an opponent cannot be possessed under the Constitution". Furthermore, since the government has made it clear that this capability can be used when exercising the right of collective self-defense, it means that even if Japan is not under armed attack, if the U.S. military begins military operations, the Self-Defense Forces will attack the other country together with the U.S. military and attack the center of the nation, inviting massive retaliation by the other country and bringing the flames of war to Japan. This is unacceptable under Article 9 of the Constitution, which declares the renunciation of war.
Japan's basic defense policy is "exclusively defense-oriented policy. We oppose possession of an "enemy base attack capability" that could even enable a preemptive attack.
In the international society, the countries with the nuclear powers now threaten other countries by using nuclear weapons. The resolution on sanctions against North Korea, which used to be unanimously decided, is now rejected. From the viewpoint that the world has changed, we should take measures to protect our land, territorial waters, and the lives of our citizens. We Nippon Ishin call the defense system for this purpose "active defense capability.
(Other) Based on the principle of "Protecting one's own country by oneself," we aim for an independent security system. In a drastically changing security environment, further stabilizing and strengthening the Japan-U.S. security system is essential not only for the security of Japan but also for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. We will firmly maintain and strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance, which is the cornerstone of Japan's diplomacy and security. We must fully discuss the contents of Article 3, Paragraphs 2-4 of the Armed Attack Situation Response Act.
It is not clear to us what "enemy base attack capability" means, but if Japan were to be attacked by another country, etc., we would make specific decisions on an individual basis under the Peace and Security Legislation and respond within the scope permitted under the Constitution. We believe it is necessary to strengthen defense capabilities to respond to increasingly sophisticated missile launching capabilities and to protect the lives of citizens. What kind of equipment and systems are needed in line with reality? It is necessary to deepen discussions and seek public understanding of what defense capabilities are appropriate for Japan and how to share roles with the Japan-U.S. alliance. We will have a thorough discussion during the review of the three documents toward the end of the year, including the National Defense Program Outline.
The LDP has been changing the signage by renaming things that have a bad reputation. For example, the LDP has introduced the term "Legislation for Peace and Security " (the 2015 Security Law) to approve the use of the right to collective self-defense and to present them as the second team of the U.S. military. The change of signage may fool the domestic public, but foreign countries saw through it, saying that Japan has declared that it has the capability to strike first and to hit enemy bases.
We the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan have been requesting the government to participate in the State Parties' meeting on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as an observer in order to fulfill this role. It is regrettable that Prime Minister Kishida has decided not to participate as an observer, despite the fact that he was elected from Hiroshima. On the other hand, looking at the world, we are deeply concerned that the nuclear threat is not being contained, but is instead growing stronger. Russia has threatened to use nuclear weapons, and North Korea has taken abnormal actions by launching ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan 17 times this year. However, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons shares the same goal as our call for nuclear abolition, and we will persistently urge these countries to move toward nuclear disarmament and strive for our participation.
Japan, the only atomic-bombed country that knows best the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, should lead the way toward nuclear abolition by breaking free from "nuclear deterrence" and joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. President Putin's threat to the world with the use of nuclear weapons over the situation in Ukraine is absolutely unacceptable and has once again highlighted the need for nuclear abolition, which is the only way to eliminate the fear of nuclear war.
The abolition of nuclear weapons is Japan's "national policy". We should join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons immediately.
A Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, without the inclusion of the nuclear-weapon states, will not have the effect of reducing nuclear weapons. However, Japan should participate as an observer and, as the only atomic-bombed country, should strive to create a forum that allows the nuclear power states to come to the table.
With regard to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, we will work toward Japan's signature and ratification of the treaty and will participate as an observer in the Conference of the Parties to the treaty to be held after the treaty enters into force, and will work for the abolition of nuclear weapons as a viable bridge between the nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, which is the goal of the government.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is highly regarded as "a landmark international legal norm that banned nuclear weapons as illegal for the first time. The treaty is also the fruit of the enthusiasm of the Hibakusha people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan's only war-bombed nations, who have long passed on the "reality of the atomic bombings" to the next generation. Kōmeitō is committed to creating an environment for ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and in May submitted an urgent proposal to the Prime Minister calling for strong efforts to stop the use of nuclear weapons once and for all, and to maintain a "record of non-use of nuclear weapons. The G7 meeting next year, which was called for in that proposal, will be held in the A-bombed city of Hiroshima. I hope that the G7, which will bring together the nuclear powers of the U.S., the U.K., and France, will be an opportunity to deepen discussions toward a "world without nuclear weapons". A meeting of the state parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is scheduled to be held in August, and we have been urging the government to participate in the meeting as an observer.
Through these efforts, with the cooperation of both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, we will play a "true bridge-building" role and accumulate various realistic and practical initiatives toward the realization of a "world without nuclear weapons".
Japan should participate in the TPNW now, not eventually. At the very least, we should join the TPNW as an observer immediately.
We will uphold the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. Therefore, we believe that NATO-type nuclear sharing is difficult, but we will follow the previous government position (Foreign Minister Okada's answer in 2010) regarding the introduction of nuclear weapons in a state of emergency and the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.
NATO-type nuclear sharing is not only unrealistic in terms of capability and in light of the NPT but also unacceptable because it could create doubts about the deterrence capability of the Japan-U.S. alliance. It would also undermine the credibility of Japan, which has called for the abolition of nuclear weapons as the only atomic-bombed country.
It is clear that "nuclear sharing" is the very deployment of U.S. nuclear forces in Japan, which violates the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. Nuclear weapons are absolutely evil weapons that should not be possessed by human beings. As the only atomic-bombed country, we cannot accept the strengthening of "nuclear deterrence" and "nuclear sharing," which presupposes the use of nuclear weapons.
This clearly violates the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. It is unacceptable. We should promote nuclear abolition, which is the national policy of Japan, an atomic-bombed country.
Although nuclear sharing will not be implemented immediately, we should discuss the defense, without making nuclear sharing a taboo subject, so that Japan will not be invaded.
(Other) In a drastically changing security environment, further stabilizing and strengthening the Japan-U.S. security system is essential not only for the security of Japan but also for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. We will firmly maintain and strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance, which is the cornerstone of Japan's diplomacy and security. In order to enhance the credibility of deterrence under the “nuclear umbrella”, we will make the "Japan-U.S. Extended Deterrence Dialogue" a ministerial-level meeting.
Nuclear sharing would mean reviewing the three non-nuclear principles. Sharing nuclear weapons between Japan and the U.S. would violate the three non-nuclear principles, which are national policy, and would bring distrust to Japan's long-trusted efforts toward nuclear abolition and non-proliferation to date, thereby damaging international trust in the country. It is clear that the risk of nuclear use and proliferation will also increase, and we are firmly opposed to nuclear sharing. We will continue to uphold the three non-nuclear principles, which have great significance in demonstrating to the international community the position of Japan as the only atomic-bombed country, in pursuit of nuclear abolition, and will promote efforts to lead the construction of a "world without nuclear weapons.
A total of about 100 U.S. nuclear weapons are located in the territories of five countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. This is what is called "nuclear sharing". This policy was established in the 1950s before the NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) was established. If Japan were to place U.S. nuclear weapons in the country, as these countries have done, it could also violate the NPT, which prohibits the transfer of nuclear weapons or their control to non-nuclear nations. In addition, it would also violate one of the three non-nuclear principles: "not allowing the entry of nuclear weapons into the country."
We will achieve 60% energy conservation in 2050 (compared to 2013) and 100% renewable electricity, and create a society that does not depend on fossil fuel and nuclear power generation, while ensuring a fair transition of employment.
The Hiroshima High Court ruling in July 2021, in which the government gave up its appeal in a lawsuit over health damage caused by the "black rain," became a final decision, condemned the government's attitude of trivializing the damage, and called for broad relief for the Hibakusha. Nevertheless, the fact that the government has excluded Nagasaki A-bomb survivors from the relief while Hiroshima A-bomb survivors are eligible is unacceptable because it changes the application of the law depending on the region in which they live.
The government has decided not to appeal the so-called "Black Rain" trial and to issue health certificates to atomic-bomb survivors in Hiroshima. We should do the same for Nagasaki.
Seventy-seven years have passed since the atomic bombing. Evidence and witnesses that they are A-bomb survivors will be very limited. It is difficult to make a fair judgment, and we cannot say for sure that we will add them to the scope immediately, but we would like to continue our consideration of this issue.
(Other) The relief is an issue that we should consider. We will sincerely listen to the opinions of the Hibakusha, their families, and those who support them, and consider further enhancing Hibakusha relief measures and resolving various pending issues, such as delays in relief measures due to delays in the recognition of A-bomb diseases.
With regard to Nagasaki, we are aware that the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Nagasaki Prefecture, and Nagasaki City are currently organizing past court documents and identifying issues in order to sort out the consistency with past court cases and the existence of objective resources showing the existence of areas where black rain fell. We believe that a wider range of relief should be provided, fully taking into consideration the pain of the atomic-bomb survivors.
We will achieve 60% energy conservation in 2050 (compared to 2013) and 100% renewable electricity, and create a society that does not depend on fossil fuel and nuclear power generation, while ensuring a fair transition of employment.
As the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has made clear, in case a serious accident happens at a nuclear power plant, it will cause catastrophic damage to the global environment and local communities. As Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone and tsunami-devastated countries in the world, we are against restarting nuclear power plants with such risks. We must immediately stop the operation and start decommissioning the reactors.
We the Social Democratic Party will immediately stop the operation of nuclear power plants, quickly pass the "Basic Bill for Zero Nuclear Power Plant" to abolish nuclear power plants and nuclear-related facilities, and create a concrete roadmap.
We should restart the nuclear reactors that comply with the new regulatory standards. As we have learned from the invasion of Ukraine, in order to ensure a stable supply of energy, we should not only promote renewable energy but also leave a variety of other options open.
(Other) On the premise of securing alternative energy sources to nuclear energy, saving energy, and creating an environment for stable use of renewable energy, we are required to reduce dependence on nuclear energy in the mid-to-long term and ultimately aim for a society that does not depend on nuclear energy. Until an alternative energy source to nuclear energy is established, we will position existing nuclear energy as an important option in Japan's power supply infrastructure, and based on the lessons learned from the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi NPS, we will use nuclear energy for the time being based on the following principles: 1) Strictly apply the 40-year operation limit system. (2) Allow nuclear power plants that meet safety standards based on laws and regulations, and for which evacuation plans have been prepared and local consent obtained, to operate. (3) Don't build any additional nuclear power plants. (4) Secure and utilize every possible means to achieve a carbon-neutral society.
△： Some of the nuclear power plants to be restarted have been in operation for more than 40 years, which is assumed to be the general service life of nuclear power plants. However, restarting nuclear power plants that have been in operation for more than 40 years requires the world's highest regulatory standards and further safety assurance, including measures to deal with aging deterioration. Therefore, there are many hurdles to overcome before restarting the reactors, and 24 reactors have actually been decommissioned so far. According to data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the number of power plants is expected to gradually decrease in the 2040s and beyond, even assuming that 36 nuclear power plants, excluding those that have been decided to be decommissioned, will operate for 60 years. With reference to these prospects, We Komeito will not allow the construction of additional nuclear power plants and will work toward a society that does not depend on nuclear power in the future, while steadily reducing dependence on nuclear power through the promotion of thorough energy conservation, the maximum utilization of renewable energy, and efforts to decarbonize thermal power generation. In addition, we will steadily promote measures for the decommissioning of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the treated water, etc. In particular, we will take measures such as the dissemination of knowledge on safety and other issues, thorough explanations and accurate information dissemination both domestically and internationally to gain the reassurance and understanding of the fishing industry and the public. In addition, we will develop technologies to accelerate the removal of fuel debris and investigate the inside of the reactor while safely and steadily implementing measures for treated water, etc.
We will also take all possible measures to prevent reputational damages to the treated water. In addition, we will promote subsidies for research and development that is technically challenging, and train human resources who will be responsible for decommissioning.
We should shut down all nuclear power plants immediately. We should not allow the restart of nuclear plants. The government then should purchase assets from each power company. We should immediately take the steps toward the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. Establish decommissioning of nuclear power plants as public works in the regions where the plants are located. The subsidy for nuclear power plants when the reactors are operated should be guaranteed.
The major premise of ocean discharge of ALPS-treated water is to comply with international rules and ensure thorough safety. On top of that, we will take necessary measures such as careful explanations to all parties concerned including the people in the fisheries, prevent reputational damages by fostering understanding through thorough safety measures and information dissemination, etc., support for fishermen, etc., establish a fund, and provide additional measures as necessary.
It is unacceptable to do so easily and poorly without sufficient public discussion.
Even after radioactive water is treated, high concentrations of tritium and other radioactive substances remain. Japan Fisheries Co-operative has told the Prime Minister in April of this year that the president of the JF is still " firmly opposed to this". The release of the radioactive water breaks the government's promise to the fishing industry that it will not release the water without the understanding of all concerned parties. It would undermine the reconstruction efforts that have been made in Fukushima over the past 10 years, and more than 70% of the local governments in Fukushima Prefecture, as well as those in Ibaraki, Miyagi, and Iwate prefectures, have voiced their opposition. We must withdraw our policy of discharging wastewater into the ocean and seek a solution that is acceptable to all concerned parties by gathering wisdom while taking measures such as building additional tanks.
The discharge of contaminated water into the ocean could cause irreversible damage and impact not only Japan but also the international community connected by the sea. Experts have proposed various alternatives for the treatment and storage of contaminated water. We the Social Democratic Party firmly oppose the discharge of contaminated water into the ocean.
First of all, it is not contaminated water but ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System)-treated water. There is no problem in diluting and discharging the water to meet marine discharge standards. And there are a number of countries that have released more tritium than the treated water that Fukushima is storing. However, we should also implement reputational damage countermeasures.
(Other) Reconstruction and revitalization of Fukushima will remain the most important issue, and we will devote all policy measures to advance decommissioning, etc. of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi NPP toward both "reconstruction and decommissioning". We will take specific measures regarding the handling of ALPS-treated water. We will do our utmost to address the many issues left behind by the Great East Japan Earthquake, including thorough measures against reputational damages, prompt compensation, and reconstruction and industrial development in the affected areas.
The government's plan is not to discharge contaminated water generated at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant directly into the ocean, but to purify it using ALPS and then dilute it with seawater to dilute the tritium concentration to about one-fortieth of the national standard and one-seventh of WHO's drinking water standard. The government claims that there is almost no possibility of affecting the environment or human health. Furthermore, the government plans to ensure monitoring and transparency by third parties such as international organizations, including cooperation with the IAEA, on the discharge of treated water into the ocean. The government should take the initiative and full responsibility for the discharge of treated wastewater into the ocean and should work in good faith to gain the understanding of the people in the fishery and the public, and take all possible measures to ensure safety. We also believe that the government should work on support measures to prevent reputational damages.
The way the government is proceeding with this without the consensus of people from the local coastal communities is out of the question.
[The appropriate amount]
5 million yen
We the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties have submitted bills.
[The appropriate amount] For the time being, we will raise the maximum amount to 5 million yen.
[Explanation] To support "reconstruction" literally, it is imperative not only to increase the amount of the relief but also to expand the scope of support, which is currently limited to only some of the victims whose houses have been damaged. In addition to "full destruction" and "large-scale destruction," we should expand the scope of support to include "half-destruction" and "partial destruction" that are smaller than "medium-scale destruction".
[The appropriate amount]
5 million yen
In Japan, earthquakes, heavy rains, typhoons, and heavy snowfalls cause enormous damage almost every year. In addition, the recent rise in the cost of building materials and labor has made it even more difficult to rebuild homes and secure housing, and we believe that we should increase the amount from 3 million yen.
[The appropriate amount] (None)
[Explanation] It is important to support disaster victims. We must establish a system to properly calculate the amount of damage, rather than setting a maximum amount of payment.
[The appropriate amount]
5 million yen
More than 20 years have passed since the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and several years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. While reviewing the status of the government's disaster countermeasures efforts during this period, we will review and revise the legal system of our country. With the Kumamoto earthquake, frequent volcanic disasters, floods, and other disasters in mind, we will comprehensively review the Basic Act on Disaster Countermeasures, the Disaster Relief Act, and the Act on Support for Reconstructing Livelihoods of Disaster Victims to enhance their effectiveness in protecting the lives and livelihoods of the people.
We Komeito led the enactment of the Act on Support for Reconstructing Livelihoods of Disaster Victims after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and has consistently worked to expand the support system for rebuilding the lives of disaster victims, including the enactment of a revised law that provides up to 3-million-yen aid depending on the extent of damage and the method of rebuilding the houses. Two years ago, a new amendment to the law was passed to add a new category of households affected by medium-scale partial destruction and to provide support grants of up to 1 million yen. Since there are a variety of possible disaster damages, it is important to provide detailed support with an eye to the overall balance of the situation. We will continue our efforts to further enhance support for disaster victims to make a disaster-resistant nation that protects the lives and livelihoods of its citizens.
[The appropriate amount] We should raise the amount between 6 to 10 million yen according to the scale of the disaster. [Explanation] In the case of total destruction, construction or purchase of a house is said to cost 18~21 million yen. In many cases, even if the house is totally destroyed, there is still a mortgage to pay. The current maximum of 3 million yen is insufficient. At least double the amount is needed.
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