|We Are Against the Government's
Pension Reform and
Advocate to Incorporate Minimum Pension into the National Pension
Scheme as well as Improve Gender Inequality in the Pension Benefits.
|The concluding observations
of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recommended
to the Japanese government that it should take measures to secure
income of the older persons who lose pension benefits due to drawing
up of the age of eligibility for the public pension system, and
that it should incorporate a minimum pension, which would improve
women's pension benefits. These recommendations accurately point
out the serious issues relating to the public pension system in
Japan, and we strongly agree to those recommendations.
Japanese government is going to reform public pension systems,
revising the pension laws in the coming session of the Diet starting
in January 2004. The major points of the reform are as follows.
We are campaigning against the reform.
1. The premiums of the employees' pension are going to be raised
up till 18.35% of the wage, splitting half and half between employers
and workers, while currently 13.58% is the premium rate.
2. The benefits is going to be automatically adjusted to the decrease
of work force, cutting down the benefits approximately unto 50%
of the worker's average wage (the amount of pension benefit being
workers' and their wives' benefits added), while currently the
approximate level of pension benefit is 59% of the worker's average
3. The government is going to levy more taxes on pension benefits,
decreasing the amount paid as pension as a result.
We, Japan Pensioners' Union, are against these reforms because
they will put heavier burden for workers as well as older persons.
We advocate to reform the pension systems not for the worse but
for the better for people because of the following reasons.
1. In Japan the situation of employment is getting worse and worse.
As the government encourages big businesses to dismiss workers
as restructuring, more and more workers are losing their jobs.
The raise of this kind of unemployment rate is putting a bad effect
on the financial situations of pension schemes.
2. Another serious problem is that the national pension scheme
is getting "hollow" inside year after year. In Japan,
there are more that 600,000 older persons over 65 who get no pension
benefits at all. Among 21 million people who are supposed to pay
premiums of the national pension scheme, around 9 million people
(amounting to 40%) are actually not paying premiums, either because
they are exempted due to low income, or because they simply fail
to pay. When these people get old, they are most likely to get
no pension benefits or only get very low benefits. We advocate
there should be established universal national minimum pension
funded by national treasury.
3. The issue of gender gap in pension benefits is also serious.
Regarding employees' pension, the average benefits of women amount
to 110,000 yen, while those of men amount to 190,000 yen. Adding
to this gap, most women only get national pension benefits, which
are most likely to be 30,000 yen or 40,000 yen. The gap is mainly
due to the gender discrimination in employment in general. Women's
benefits are hardly enough to support their independent existence
in old age. We call on the government to reduce the actual gap
in pension benefits as much as possible.
The budget is tight, the government says. But the government has
money. We maintain that the change of social security systems
for the worse is closely connected to the governments' policies
to favor big businesses and its efforts to make Japan warlike.
So, we have to make campaigns against the government's sending
Self-Defense Forces to Iraq as well as campaigns against the pension
reform for the worse.