On April 21, DPJ Acting Secretary General Shinji Tarutoko attended a dialogue meeting entitled “Responsibility for Tomorrow” in Ozu town, Kumamoto prefecture. He stressed strongly to the more than 100 participants the importance of the comprehensive reform of social security and taxation systems and asked for further understanding on the issue.
The meeting was also attended by DPJ Diet members elected from Kumamoto Prefecture, Yorihisa Matsuno from the House of Representatives and Nobuo Matsuno from the House of Councillors. Koichi Honda, Chair of the DPJ branch headquarters in the Kumamoto 3rd district, which includes Ozu town in its constituency, was also present at the meeting and requested further support from the participants through an explanation of the DPJ’s policies.
At the start of the meeting, Honda stated, “Japan has experienced great turning points three times: first, during the Meiji Restoration; second, about 70 years after the restoration, when Japan was defeated in World War II; and third, after another 70 years had almost passed, when the change of government was realised by the DPJ. The establishment of the DPJ government was historically determined, and we should not turn back the clock.” He proposed that the DPJ move further ahead in this time of transition.
In addition, Honda referred to “the implementation of individual household income support for farmers” and “movements to shift agriculture toward becoming a ‘sixth-order industry.’” He commented, “The DPJ has realised measures to revitalise Japanese agriculture. Even though these measures are just being carried out, they have already brought about positive results.” Honda requested participants to give the DPJ administration a long look and support, remarking, “Although 6% of the issues of the Manifesto have not been addressed yet, for 60% of the Manifesto issues, work has already started.”
Tarutoko in turn explained the need for integrated social security and tax reform, stating, “70% of the budget for social security and related issues is being expended for pensions, medical care, and nursing care, while another 1 billion yen is compounded every year. The government has injected consumption tax into this system for its maintenance, but we are approaching the system’s limits.” Tarutoko continued, “In order to sustain the system, consumption tax should be dealt with as a special-purpose tax.” He clearly stated that the government ought to use the revenue from the tax only for the purpose of social security.
Tarutoko also commented, “The comprehensive reform will take place after undertaking a thorough reduction of the number of Diet seats and the salaries of Diet members.” He promised to make every effort on these issues, and asked for the understanding and support of the participants.