Comment on the fiscal 2003 Budget approved

28 March 2003

Tadayoshi KUSANO
General Secretary

  1. Today, the budget bill for the fiscal year 2003 was passed at the plenary sitting of the House of Councillors by a majority supported by ruling parties. The Government ignored counterproposals made by the four opposition parties that were focused on the creation of one million jobs. The fiscal 2003 budget was supposed to contribute to resolving problems confronting people in Japan - a recession and the employment situation. Rengo condemns the Government for not responding to people's voices and forcing the bill passed.

  2. In the fiscal 2003 budget, new government bond issuances will come to 36.45 trillion yen, a record high for an initial budget. However, it did not assume the responsibility to ease lives of Japanese people. It only increased the burden on the people by over 2 trillion yen by: cutting pensions, unemployment benefits and other welfare benefits; increasing the burden of medical expenses on patients up to 30%; abolishing the tax deduction for dependent spouses; raising taxes for sparkling liquor and tobacco products; and increase premiums of health insurance.

  3. Rengo called all parties to redraft the budget bill so as to realise the restoration of business and employment conditions. Rengo's proposals included: the creation of over one million jobs; the withdrawal of the increase the burden of medical expenses on patients and the cut in unemployment benefits; and, the cut in a premium of the basic pension. However, these proposals were blocked by the ruling parties and were not even discussed. The fiscal 2003 budget approved is further expanding the sense of insecurity of the people and discouraging personal consumption. The budget falls short of being able to revive neither business nor employment.

  4. Taking into account the current serious recession and high unemployment rate, the Government needs to shift economic and fiscal policies from the fiscal-reform-centred to the employment-oriented. Rengo calls the Government to immediately compile a supplementary budget to support the unemployed, create jobs and strengthen the basis of social security. To this end, Rengo will work to initiate various actions towards the Government, parties and employers organisations.