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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 January 25 - 31  > JCP Koike calls for economy benefitting the 99%
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2017 January 25 - 31 [POLITICS]

JCP Koike calls for economy benefitting the 99%

January 26, 2017
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on January 25 at a plenary session of the House of Councilors used his question time to urge Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to implement policies that will benefit not the wealthiest 1% of Japanese and large corporations but the other 99%.

Citing that Abe in his policy speech stated that a “virtuous cycle of economy” is surely emerging, Koike pointed out that the general public cannot believe that based on lived reality. Koike stressed that while the amount of large corporations’ internal reserves reached all-time high, workers’ real wages decreased by 190,000 yen on an annual basis after PM Abe made his comeback to power in 2012. He also said that household spending went down on a year-on-year basis for 15 months in a row.

Abe avoided making direct responses to Koike’s assertions and just admitted that household consumption shows a long-term declining trend.

Koike explained JCP’s proposals for eliminating social inequalities, addressing the poverty issue, and revitalizing the middle class. He called for the creation of a society where workers can live a decent life without being forced to work more than eight hours a day. Koike added that in order to achieve this, the need is to regulate excessively long working hours, assign non-regular workers to regular positions, and implement a minimum hourly wage of 1,500 yen along with providing financial assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses.

In addition, Koike mentioned Abe’s plan to submit to the current session of the Diet a bill to impose a legal upper limit on the number of overtime hours. Regarding a recent news report that the government is considering limiting the maximum allowable overtime hours to 80 hours a month, Koike said that the reported 80-hour limit is equal to the danger line for death from overwork set by the Labor Ministry. He underscored the need to enact a bill to regulate long working hours which was jointly proposed by the four opposition parties.
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