The bills relating to the comprehensive reform of the social security and taxation systems were passed by the plenary session of the House of Representatives on June 26, following partial revisions to the draft bills that had been agreed by the three parties of the DPJ, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito.
The plenary session was convened at 1:00pm, and Kansei Nakano, Chairman of the Special Committee on Comprehensive Reform of Social Security and Taxation Systems provided a report concerning the processes and results of the almost 130 hours of deliberations in the abovementioned committee. After this report the various parties engaged in debate, stating their support or opposition to the draft and revised bills and their reasons. The plenary session then moved to vote on the bills.
Voting was conducted in the following manner, and all bills were passed by a majority of the ruling and opposition parties, including the DPJ, the LDP and New Komeito.
1. Bill to strengthen functions of national pension system (Submitted by Government, revised); Bill to integrate employees’ pension schemes (Submitted by Government, revised): Passed by standing vote
2. Bill to promote reform of the social security system (Submitted jointly by the three parties): Passed by open ballot
3. Bill to assist children and support child raising activities (Submitted by Government, revised); Bill to develop related legislation (Submitted by Government, revised): Passed by standing vote
4. Bill to revise Act relating to authorized childcare facilities (“nintei-kodomo-en”) (Submitted jointly by the three parties): Passed by open ballot
5. Bill to revise Consumption Tax Act (Submitted by Government, revised): Passed by open ballot
6. Bill to revise the Local Tax Act and Local Allocation Tax Act (Submitted by Government, revised): Passed by standing vote
Yoshio Hachiro, Senior Director of the abovementioned special committee spoke on behalf of the DPJ in support of the bills, calling for all parties to support their passage. Below is an excerpt from his statement. “Half a century has now passed since Japan achieved universal healthcare and pension systems that are then envy of the world. Now society and the economy is facing a situation in which significant changes are occurring, including the progression of a declining birth rate and aging society, coupled with an increase in non-regular workers. In order to ensure that the social security system remains sustainable in the future it is unavoidable that we engage in integrated and fundamental reforms in terms of both benefits and burden, namely the comprehensive reform of the social security system and the reform of the taxation system, including consumption tax. Although it is incredibly difficult as a politician to ask the public to accept a tax increase, no matter how difficult it may be we must explain the situation honestly to the people and come to a conclusion.”