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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 21 - 27  > Open debate on Tokyo Met. election highlights JCP’s pro-people stance among anti-welfare political parties
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2017 June 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

Open debate on Tokyo Met. election highlights JCP’s pro-people stance among anti-welfare political parties

June 23, 2017
An open debate regarding each party’s campaign platform for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election took place on June 21. Discussions in this event highlighted differences between the Japanese Communist Party’s people-oriented policies and development-centric policies of other parties, namely the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties as well as the “Tomin First no Kai”.

The event was organized by the Tokyo branch of the Japan Junior Chamber, with the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election slated for July 2. Representatives of political parties answered questions from event participants and explained their positions in regard to various issues confronting local politics.

In response to the question, “What do you think is lacking in Tokyo compared to other major cities in the world?” JCP Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Members’ Group Secretary General Oyama Tomoko said, “Policies to support people’s livelihoods and welfare are still insufficient.” She said that the JCP proposes to build more authorized childcare centers, improve housing policies for young people such as introducing a subsidy for rent payments, provide scholarship programs for students, and offer financial support for families that need assistance to pay the entrance fees to private high schools.

In contrast, Otokita Shun of the “Tomin First no Kai” headed by Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko said that Tokyo needs more high-rise buildings. He said that the Tokyo government should relax building codes in order to allow more hi-rise buildings to be built. Jinno Jiro of the Liberal Democratic Party and Endo Mamoru of the Komei Party said that improvements in public transportation are necessary, obviously in a bid to help increase spending for large development projects under the pretext of “easy transportation access”.

Another participant asked what should be done to make better use of taxpayers’ money. JCP Oyama said that the metro government should spend less on non-urgent unnecessary public works projects, such as the construction of the Tokyo Outer Ring Road which costs 100 million yen per meter. “If the Tokyo government stops its wasteful use of taxpayers’ money, it will secure enough funds to better Tokyoites’ living conditions.”

LDP Jinno displayed his obsession with large-scale public works projects when he justified the extension work of the Tokyo Outer Ring Road by using the need for disaster preparedness as an excuse. “Tomin First no Kai” Otokita proposed cutting spending for welfare services, in particular, a program that provides the elderly with free passes on public transportation.

Komei Party Endo unjustly criticized the JCP for “just talking without acting to help the metropolitan government’s policy making”. He stressed, “It is important for political parties to make an agreement with the governor,” showing no remorse over the fact that the Komei Party helped successive governors implement anti-people policies. From the early 2000s, the party voted for 99.98% of governor-proposed measures. Recently, the Komei Party agreed with the “Tomin First no Kai” to cooperate in the coming assembly election campaign.
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