Demand Activities Developed for Govt., Ministries & Agencies
Work For Priority Policies
21 June 2004
Photo: Vice President Hirasawa (right) hands over a statement of demands to Minister Kawamura (left). (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, June 14)
While the government continues to lay the groundwork for upcoming fiscal year budgets earlier with every passing year, RENGO kicked off its demand activities for the compilation of the FY2005 budget on May 21st at the Prime Minister’s office (with PM Koizumi, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hosoda, and Health, Labour and Welfare Minister Sakaguchi in attendance). Since that time, RENGO has been carrying out activities on ministries and agencies to strongly demand the following three top priority issues and twelve priority policies:
- Create high quality jobs and shift economic policy to those that place the highest priority on revitalizing local economies and small to medium-sized enterprises.
- Legislate equal treatment for part-time workers and fundamentally reform the "Equal Employment Opportunity Law between Men and Women" which includes prohibition of indirect discrimination.
- Bring about comprehensive reform of the social security system including long-term care insurance system reform so that every citizen can live out their lives independently and with dignity, and radically reform the pension system.
During the June 14th demand activity conducted at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Minister Kawamura answered RENGO's requests to "adhere to public funding of compulsory education" and "promote education that cultivates a zest for life and an outlook on careers and work." Kawamura said that "Compulsory education is the responsibility of the nation. We believe that public funding is the basic component of that system and should be rigidly maintained while at the same time effectively employing the discretion of local areas." He continued saying that "children’s general consciousness of "work" has weakened, which presents a problem not only for the children but also for businesses. We would like to take specific measures to educate and train them."
In addition, responding to RENGO's request for the revision of the Fundamental Law of Education which states that "national debate should be enacted which is not rough-and-ready," Kawamura stated that "we will submit a revision bill at the next Diet session that we hope will trigger debate in order to update the Fundamental Law to make it more in step with the current times."