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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 December 5 - 11  > Japan swimming against global tide of return to public management of water services
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2018 December 5 - 11 [POLITICS]
column 

Japan swimming against global tide of return to public management of water services

December 6, 2018

Akahata ‘current’ column

How to secure water resources is a life-and-death matter for many countries as shown by the fact that the United Nations has calculated a risk that two thirds of the world’s population will face a water scarcity by 2025.

Water is vital to life. This finite resource has become a profit incentive for business and the private water market is growing worldwide. With an increase in the number of nations which pushed water privatization, multinational water giants have expanded their business ventures to these nations.

In Japan, at present, a bill to enable local governments to contract out water supply projects to the private sector is being discussed in the Diet. The Prime Minister Abe-led government intends to bypass thorough discussions and bulldoze through the bill by using the majority force of the ruling parties. However, in nations which promoted private sector participation in water services and sanitation, an increase in water rates, water quality deterioration, and other problems have occurred after the privatization. As a result, many nations began a return to public management of water services.

Between 2000 and 2015, 235 water service projects in 37 countries were brought back to the public sector. The trend of taking privatized water services back into public hands has accelerated. Japanese Communist Party parliamentarian Kurabayashi Akiko urged the government to withdraw the bill, saying, “Water is a basic human right. Water supply systems should be operated by local public authorities. This is a lesson learned from the failure that 37 nations experienced.”

The need is to join together with others to protect water, which is vital to life, in order to make safe drinking water available to all and prevent water from becoming a target for a scramble to profit private entities at the expense of the welfare of the general public.

Past related articles:
> Public water service is vital to safeguard people’s right to water [September 22, 2018]
> Opposition parties oppose water privatization [July 6, 2018]

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