On April 7, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda attended a “Tomorrow’s Peace of Mind’ Town Meeting in Hyogo”, held in Nishinomiya, Hyogo prefecture, to consider the government’s integrated social security and tax reform. Noda carefully explained his administration’s plans for integrated social security and tax reform to 188 participants chosen after applications had been solicited from the general public. He said, “Now is a crucial period for the Japanese social security system. I would like to hear your honest opinions and voices”.
Prime Minister Noda said, “We must undertake reform in order to maintain our social security system. We cannot rely on the working generation anymore, nor postpone dealing with the issue to future generations.” He called for understanding for a consumption tax rise in order to share the burden among the whole nation, stressing this would take place after undertaking thorough reduction of administrative waste and reducing the number of Diet seats.
Participants voiced various opinions and questions regarding the pension system, such as “Instead of considering the maintenance of the social security system, it may be a good idea to discontinue the current system”, “Will pensions for bereaved family members be reduced?”, “Aren’t pension premiums being wasted”, “I think the current amount of remuneration needs to be reduced”, and “What will become of pension provisions for full-time housewives”.
Noda commented that “the entire amount of money generated by the consumption tax increase will be used for social security and thus it will all be returned to you” and strongly called for understanding for the integrated reform.
After the town meeting, Noda stated, “Many people participated and, I believe that we enjoyed a productive exchange of opinions and had a fruitful discussion. I felt that the atmosphere of the meeting was also positive.”