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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 November 22 - 28  > Shii questions PM Abe in Lower House
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2017 November 22 - 28 [POLITICS]

Shii questions PM Abe in Lower House

November 22, 2017

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in interpellation at the House of Representatives plenary session on November 21 took up issues focusing on the "Moritomo" and Kake" scandals and on the North Korea issue, presenting JCP counterproposals to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.

'Moritomo' and 'Kake' scandals

The "Moritomo Gakuen" scandal concerns the selling off of national land at a discount of 800 million yen to the private educational institution. Shii noted the revelation of audio data of negotiations between ministry officials and the school chairman on the land deal, and also pointed out that PM Abe's wife Akie served as honorary principal of Moritomo Gakuen at the time of the land sale. Shii demanded the summoning of the ministry official and Abe Akie for testimony before the Diet.

Regarding the "Kake Gakuen" allegation, Shii referred to the fact that the chair of the school's board of directors Kake Kotaro, a close friend of PM Abe, directly met with three Cabinet ministers and told them about the school's request for cooperation with the creation of a veterinary medicines department. Shii asked Abe if it was true that his confidant used Abe's influence to put pressure on relevant state authorities to push ahead with the plan to launch a new faculty.

Abe, however, could not give a clear answer and just said that "the Diet will make a decision" regarding the demand for the testimonies of Kake and Akie."

North Korea

Shii suggested that Japan urge a "peaceful solution through dialogue" to deal with the North Korea issue in parallel with stricter economic sanctions, criticizing PM Abe for denying the need to hold dialogues among countries concerned and for blindly supporting U.S. President Donald Trump who has in mind a preemptive use of armed force as "one option".

Shii said, "What if the United States decides to resort to a preemptive attack? It would take millions of lives in the first few days. You should deter President Trump from opting for a first strike against North Korea."

Abe in response said, "I will not prejudge what the U.S. will do, but I will closely collaborate with the U.S. in regard to the North Korea issue."

Livelihoods

The Japan Business Federation (JBF or Keidanren) immediately after the October 22 general election proposed "reforms that will entail people's pain". In response to this, government panels on medical care, nursing-care, and public assistance services came up with a policy to cut benefits. Shii said, "You say you will transform the social security system to one covering all generations, but what is actually being planned is the curtailment of social security programs for all generations."

Keidanren also proposes an increase in the consumption tax rate in combination with corporate tax breaks. Shii stated that this is extremely selfish and stressed the need to undertake a tax reform cancelling the planned consumption tax hike and requiring large corporations and the wealthy to bear a fair share of tax burdens.

Henoko

Shii criticized the government for having embarked on bank protection work only two weeks after the general election in which the majority of Okinawan voters expressed opposition to the new U.S. base construction in Henoko. He also pointed out that a U.S. military helicopter on October 11 crashed and burst into flames and that the Japanese police was not allowed to conduct an on-site investigation. He demanded a drastic review of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

Article 9 of the Constitution

PM Abe aspires to incorporate a stipulation regarding the Self-Defense Forces into Article 9 of the Constitution. Regarding this, Shii said, "Your proposal will make it possible to allow the SDF to use force abroad without restriction, and thus the second paragraph of Article 9 which declares the non-possession of war potential may become a dead letter." Abe in response said, "Nothing will change in the scope of SDF duties or its authority."

Shii concluded, "What is needed in Japan is a government that abides by the Constitution."
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