Now is the time of “Upper vs. Lower”, not “Right vs. Left”
This bold phrase written across the front cover of Brady Mikako’s new work “Europe Calling” beautifully illustrates the ever worsening societal divide. Not only the ever present disconnect of the political spectrum, but the far more harmful separation of class. Mikako’s book attempts to document the development of the european anti-austerity movement; and lends fantastic insights which can be adopted here in Japan.
Despite the desire of many including myself to launch a movement fighting austerity for a long time, Japanese government has continued its policy of decreased spending and inflated taxes. However, the Japanese anti-austerity movement has emerged and is finally garnering true support.
The movement, self evidently opposed to neoliberalism that instigates austerity, consumption tax increases, social reform, deregulation, and privatization, has committed itself to protesting and dismantling these dangerous policies. And as stated in Mikako’s book this promise has been supported internationally and on both sides of the political divide.
As such, allow me to introduce a new publication “The Criterion: Suspend the Consumption Tax Hike” as an additional volume, published in December 2018.
This magazine was compiled by Prof. Satoshi Fujii, a professor at Kyoto University and a former Special Advisor to the Cabinet of
Japan. Along with many individuals across the political spectrum he has created the magazine as a place to discuss a wide range of political topics.
All contributors are unified in our belief that:
• Consumption tax is used to compensate corporate tax cuts.
• This economic policy favours corporations over ordinary people.
• This policy has continued for decades. It is ineffective and in some cases deeply harmful.
• The additional consumption tax increase is the worst in economic countermeasures, and it is nothing but an additional mistake.
We could say that the policy contributed in not only increasing inequality but deepening class division, - division between capitalists and citizens/workers.
The government and ruling parties repeatedly said that consumption tax is used for social security. But, according to the research result, this revenue is used primarily as subsidizing corporate tax cuts. If the Japanese public was aware of this, it would spark major protest activities such as the yellow vest protests in France. These facts may eventually lead to a policy shift and finally a stop to increased consumption tax.
In the current situation however, a consumption tax hike seems to be inevitable, and “social reforms” such as the neoliberal privatization of water supply and increase of foreign worker’s intake is continuing.
The journalists working on the magazine are unwavering in their view that such reforms are outdated, and they will achieve a victory through truth and reason. The Japanse public deserve the all facts, and with this the spirit of the vox populi can echo through its pages.
Mr. Taro Yamamoto, a brilliant young politician has recently been causing a storm in National politics.
He is the only member of the House of Councillors brave enough to stand up to the establishment and employ Ox walk tactics to derail motions that would hurt the majority of Japanese people.
Mr. Yamamoto is as ambitions as he is fearless, he constantly risks his position not voting in line with standard political procedure, and has recently stated his intention to run for Prime Minister.
This boldness and honesty are a breath of fresh air in the stagnant pool of contemporary Japanese politics. Personally, he can count on my vote.
It is no longer enough to discuss these problems in the abstract, we can no longer silently analyze political reports and read economic textbooks dealing in hypotheticals. Now is the time to act.
I can see many people reaching their hand across the aisle to improve the situation for those struggling the most in Japanese society. Japan has and always will be stronger as a unified people, but each individual must strive to achieve an ideal society that all of us deserve.
Every step forward is counted, even the smallest ones.
This text was written by Akiko Oishi in Japanese and translated