We can easily foresee a near future: working people will be poorer. Transnational corporations will prey workers, smaller companies, agriculture, fishery and forestry, maintaining unwillingness to pay taxes. Two big conservative parties, or similar groups, will control the Diet in both of the Houses. The year 2012 has come, when 99% of the population must make their decision on how to commit in the politics and society today.
2012 - YEAR WHEN 99% OF POPULATION MAKE OWN DECISIONS
As of 2009, the ratio of poor families whose disposal income is below 1.25 million Yen a year was 16.0%. The poverty line fell to that level from the highest 1.49 million Yen of 1997. In spite of the drop the poverty ratio has surged.
As of August of 2011, a little less than 1.5 million households were recipients of Life Protection benefits. Families categorized in a group below the poverty line are supposed to be poorer than these recipients, and therefore, if you calculate the number of poor families, you get 7.8 million households. That means only 19% of poor families are guaranteed with benefits from the Life Protection Service.
Severe Situation of Poverty
A tent village was established in the Hibiya Park, central Tokyo, from the end of 2008 to the beginning of 2009, in which unemployed workers got together and spent the New Year days. The fact attracted social attention toward the issue of poverty. Under the today's instable employment conditions, if a worker loses a job, he/she becomes unemployed and homeless at once. Disclosing a cruel reality of the Japanese society, he/she warned that crisis the structural reforms have produced would soon attack all people.
Helped by expectations of the electorate, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won in the general elections in the summer of 2009, replacing the long reign of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), to be the principal force of coalition government. But soon voters realized what they had expected was an illusion. The DPJ government has turned back, as a boomerang, to the track of the LDP over the relocation issue of the US Futenma Base in Okinawa. It does not even feel ashamed.
The DPJ had pledged 'people's life first' in the Manifesto. Soon the ruling party declared that the sole way to finance the policy package is to hike the consumption tax rate. But the heightened portion of consumption tax will be consequently used to fill gaps that the reduced corporate taxes create. The government is interested in discussing social policies only in terms of sustainability of the system. Thus services will be degraded, though the DPJ proposes a reform policy to link a tax surge with public services.
The results of double elections for Mayor of Osaka City and Governor of Osaka Prefecture showed a reaction of the electorate who oppose the two-big-conservative-party system and a similar political trend. In Osaka the new government has launched an economic development policy, but it cannot solve problems deriving from the economic growth.
The important point is the distorted scheme of division of wealth. As is symbolized by the 99% in the Occupy Wall Street campaign, a focal point is how to fill gaps and overcome poverty caused by the distortion. Gaps will grow and poverty will deepen if old policies are repeated. Democracy might be destroyed to leave an irreversible situation. The constitution will be forced to be amended for worse.
Let's Talk with People More Closely
Today's politics and society certainly get stuck. Dissatisfactions and indignations are explosive under the surface like magma of the Earth. Nobody can tell when the critical point will come. Which direction will the explosion turn to? It is a problem.
The New Socialist Party, though it is small, has a duty to be responsible for the future of the working population. Elections for the Lower House may be held this year. But political parties and civic groups which defend the constitution are split up. To organize these forces is crucial. We could share many topics: anti-nuclear power generation, withdrawal of US bases from Japan, drastic measures to improve the employment issue, and objection to an increase of consumption tax rate and TPP (=transpacific partnership) trade agreement, and etc.
Let's organize mass movements in the municipal communities and at workplaces, getting together with fellow residents and workers. Let's discuss intensively with your neighbors and colleagues. It is a simple way but there is no better way than a direct contact with people.
January 1, 2012