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Jun 29, 2012

[Mr.Hatoyama] On Vote on Bills Related to Social Security and Tax Reforms

Whatever he may say, Mr. Hatoyma is always made fun of.  But I place my hopes on him.
Masatoshi Takehsita

* Information from Mr. Takeshita posted on his blog – June 27, 2012 

English translation of a Japanese article from Yukio Hatoyama’s Official Website – June 26, 2012 -

On Vote on Bills Related to Social Security and Tax Reforms

I voted against the bill for revision of the consumer tax rate submitted by the government, which will be urgently submitted to a plenary session of the House of Representatives.

I think that it was change of Japan’s politics that the public hoped for most when a change of administration took place three years ago.  And what we should have had to do most to live up to their expectations was to fight against vested interests.  We insisted that we make a better society in which each citizen can feel affluent with no sense of unfairness, by changing the politics and economics trapped by vested interests.  We also insisted that we shift from the politics left entirely up to bureaucrats to the politics in which politicians take the initiative in policy-making, and more importantly the politics led by the people.

Then I was raised even to the position of prime minister to achieve this mission and made efforts to rework the groups spoiled by vested interests with overwhelming support of the people.  However, bureaucrats, Finance Ministry officials and major mass media which surmised the intentions of the U.S. fiercely resisted our efforts.  I am deeply sorry for my fault that I failed to survive such resisting forces.

I still believe the direction I tried to go to was not wrong.  However, subsequent administrations made an about-face on the party’s stance, for they took me as a negative example and thought “Mr.Hatoyama failed because he resisted bureaucrats and the U.S.  We will have no trouble as long as we get along with them.”  For what did the change of administration take place?  I am strongly indignant with them.  They had the same way of thinking about the issues on nuclear power plants including their restart, and TPP.

And this time the consumption tax hike bill!  The consumption tax hike is a long-cherished desire of the Treasure Ministry, the biggest bureaucratic organization.

I asked voters in my constituency about this consumption tax hike bill.  Seventy-nine percent of them opposed to it.  There are many people who think it is necessary to raise the consumption tax at some future day.

However, people, especially those living in rural areas will have difficulty managing the household budget with a tax increase of one hundred thousand yen per person.  The top priority should be given to economic recovery.

I am the very person who fought in the campaign with a manifesto that “it is not necessary to raise the consumption tax for four years.”  As Prime Minister had said, we should exterminate white ants during the years.  Implementation of a consumption tax hike without exterminating white ants will attract a swarm of white ants taking the lion’s share of it.

Though social security and tax reforms are murmured, we cannot get clear image of social security.  If the guaranteed minimum pension program and medical care system for people aged 75 and over, which DPJ strongly appealed to the public, is submitted to the National Council, it is not late to discuss from what source of revenue to finance them after conclusions have been reached.

What is needed most for DPJ is its philosophy and policies as the ruling party, which should return to the starting point.

Now we Japanese must be in the midst of working together as one under the slogan of unity and ‘kizuna’ to recover from the unprecedented disaster which hit the Tohoku district.
In reality, however, the lesson we should use for future is going to be forgotten as the past incident.  Politicians are responsible for never having the March 11 forgotten.  The current DPJ executives have forgotten the mission as the ruling party and appear to have been reduced to the old-fashioned LDP, of which the people showed disapproval in the last election.  

Even now as many as one hundred sixty thousand people are forced to live the lives of refugees away from their homes which have not been decontaminated.  In spite of this fact, with the firm commitment to economic activities, the Noda cabinet has decided to restart nuclear power plants while many people question their restart because the cause of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident has not yet determined.  It is inexcusable to try to implement a consumption tax hike by talking among LDP, New Komeito and DPJ behind the closed door.  What should DPJ as the leading party do to live up to the expectations of the people?

Mass media is also of a problem.  Their news coverage is focused on counting the number of votes for and against the bill on consumption tax hike.  They should realize what to discuss with the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident as a lesson because we are in the midst of restructuring the Tohoku areas.  It is not the time for mass media to forecast the political situation.  We should not forget the fact that many people all over the world were impressed by the Japanese seriously working for the recovery.

Some members within the party have asked me to behave confidently as the founder of the party.  I love DPJ more than anyone and I have intended to work for the party.  Now, my role is to have the party return to the right direction.  I’d like to work with a strong resolve to do nothing wrong.

June 26, 2012    Yukio Hatoyama

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