KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary

KOGA says!
Statement on the Government’s Basic Policy 2007 for Economic and Financial Reforms

20 June 2007
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
On the evening of 19 June, 2007, the Economic and Financial Reform Advisory Council to the Prime Minister submitted a report on “Basic Policy 2007 for Economic and Financial Reforms” which is to be the first basic policy for economic and financial operations of the Abe Government. The Cabinet meeting held on the same day approved the report.

In the Basic Policy 2007, it is stated that reforms will be promoted with strengthening of growth capacity and balancing of finance as the two wheels of a cart on a basic recognition that Japan has moved into a population decreasing society from a population increasing society.

But the views shown in the Basic Policy 2007 on balancing of finance retained those of the so-called “Large-Boned Policy 2006”. In the economic and financial policy, priority is given to the reforms of supply side, and consideration for demand side, i.e. for people’s livelihood, is left behind. We cannot help but express our deep concern about the budget cutting to be made than necessary on the part related to the basis for people’s life through across-the-board cuts in expenditures, while measures for strengthening growth capacity of enterprises are being taken in substantial manners.

The problems of disparity and polarization are getting serious and the number of absolute poverty class is increasing. The Basic Policy 2007 should show how to deal with these problems, because these can be said to be “negative legacies” left by the former Koizumi Government.

The present Abe Government has set up many patchwork-like councils or committees, in order to respond to the contradictions of the policies of the Koizumi Government. The Basic Policy 2007 is based on the conclusions of these councils or committees, but most of the policies stated in the Basic Policy 2007 remain to be only patching up and cannot be regarded as substantial measures.

Take up the Expert Panel for Labor Market Reform set up under the Economic and Financial Reform Advisory Council to the Prime Minister for example. There is no workers’ representative in the Panel. Discussions on deregulation in the field of labor have been arbitrarily conducted without any voice of working people reflected.

JTUC-RENGO has been appealing to these bodies, since last year, that, in order to correct disparity, it is needed to secure the safety net, reliable social security systems, work rules, security of livelihood and a new idea for public service, and to realize, at the same time, a sustainable global society.

In the Basic Policy 2007, however, funding of financial resources for those policies taken up as the most important ones by the Abe government such as renewal of education and promotion of the measures for declining birthrate is cautiously stated. It is not good, of course, to simply increase expenditures for them, but as long as an excessive idea of supremacy of financial reconstruction does exist, it is doubtful whether sufficient policy measures can be taken to correct disparity.

Moreover, as to the reforms that are foreseen to be accompanied by pains, they are very ambiguously stated in the Basic Policy 2007 and it looks like that policy changes have been made for them, but actually as is stated in it that they will be dealt with on the basis of “Basic Policy 2006,” there is no substantial policy change.

JTUC-RENGO, under the slogan of “Realization of a Labor-Centered Welfare-Type Society”, is doing its best for realizing a society where disparity is corrected and importance upon solidarity and sympathy is attached. “Demands and Proposals for Policies and Systems for 2008-2009” formulated by JTUC-RENGO constitutes its counterpart of the Government’s “Basic Policy 2007.” JTUC-RENGO will do its best to realize steadily its demands and proposals, especially its main policies, by widely appealing not only to the Government and political parties but also to union members, working people and ordinary citizens so as to correct disparities in the society and to realize a “secure and fair” society.