[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%.
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.
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.
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free tuition for high school and university by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) was withdrawn, due to public opinion and movement.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).
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We believe that each political party should be required to disclose numerical targets for the ratio of female candidates and their actual status.
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.
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.
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.
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 will aim to abolish the consumption tax and reduce the rate to 5% urgently, for the time being.
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.
[Answer] About 37%, excluding small and medium-sized businesses.
[Explanation] We will return the tax rate to the level before the Abe administration.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 "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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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".
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