Anything could happen without surprise in the current political scene; the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is split over a bill to raise the consumption tax rate and it seeks a way for broader coalition in cooperation with two opposition parties, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito. Developments reflect a collusion through which 1% of the elite ruling class takes advantage of the global crisis to shift risks to the rest of 99%, who are working people.
LET'S BREAK THROUGH IMPASSE! LET'S GET UNITED WITH STRUGGLES AGAINST NUCELR POWER GENERATION!
How do live today evacuees from the crippled Fukushima power plant? They are forced to leave home towns and family members live separately. A family is obliged to live in two or more different locations to survive. The power plant accident has not yet been put under control, which means radioactive emissions continue. Children are not allowed to play outdoors, laugh and take a deep breath as much as they want.
Rehabilitation efforts from the natural disaster go slowly: construction of houses has not advanced well and jobs have not yet been recovered. Plans to develop new residential areas delay and evacuees are forced to live in temporary houses. They will have to lead such a life over two years. 'Human bondage' is emphasized, but politics does not work to help disaster victims and evacuees.
Big earthquakes hit the Kansai region in 1995 when a writer Oda Makoto asked; 'does this country serve human beings?' Situations today are far more critical.
Tens of thousand workers in the electric industry are dismissed as employers are desperate to survive in the global competitions. Unemployment spreads, making jobs more unstable and wages go down. Workers are exposed to severer attacks. Beneficiaries from the Life Protection Service count over 2.07 million people. Suicides, serious crimes and accidents plague.
Surge of Consumption Tax Rate Attacks Vulnerable People
The government has presented to the Diet a bill to raise the tax rate up to 8% in April, 2014 and to 10% in October, 2015, which accounts 13 trillion Yen in money terms and amounts 100 thousand Yen per person, if divided by the entire population. It is a big tax increase. The consumption tax is, in particular, characterized by a regressive effect which hits vulnerable people more seriously. Proposals to grant benefits to reduce a tax burden or introduce an alleviated rate have been cancelled. A policy to impose a heavier tax burden on rich people (a review on income and inheritance tax rates) is shelved up on the ground that the rich may emigrate abroad. In other words, victims and evacuees of the last year's disaster as well as workers will suffer from the increased tax.
Big Business has accumulated in total 260 trillion Yen of internal reserves, on which the government will implement another tax reduction policy. In the Fiscal 2009 a sum of 801.4 billion Yen of consumption tax repayment was made to the ten biggest exporters. Compare these firms with medium-small entities: they are compelled as subcontractors to accept a reduced unit price, they cannot reflect an increased tax portion on products and thus they sacrifice themselves.
The consumption tax links with fees of public utilities. The government has suspended efforts to review a series of social services in the context to implement 'the integrated reform' policy. Premium payment for various services has been heightened.
Aircraft Osprey, a military vehicle to be deployed in Japan, crashed recently in the United States. Residents of Okinawa and Iwakuni, to which the defective planes will be stationed, raise indignant voices, but the Noda Government does not listen to. On the following day of the accident in the US mainland, Premier Noda told after making his decision: 'I will not demand the US government to cancel the deployment plan. When it urges us to proceed it, I will respond accordingly'. He prefers the US government and military commitments to life and safety of residents.
As for nuclear power generation, the government ordered to restart operation at the Oi power plant, Fukui Prefecture, a western region of the Honshu Island. This means a declaration of revival of the nuclear lobby, called 'Village'. The DPJ government has smartly incorporated provisions in the Basic Act on Nuclear Development that may open a way to nuclear armament. The surprising technique disclosed a desire of the state power to use political crises for their own goal.
Political realities represent a restructuring process of power hierarchy: the ruling elite are arrogant, saying that under the capitalist system 'there will be no longer a growth'. They have lost capacity to concede people to rule them, being in turn a machinery to impose sacrifices on people.
We Are at Crossroad
We see a crossroad, pondering which way to take. We must break through a wall of theatrical democracy which renders people to spectators. We must organize various movements from workplaces and communities. Anti-nuclear mass movements gain impetus today. Let's get united to lead to struggles against poverty, discrimination and wars.
July 3, 2012