‘I’m so divorced’… Why a freelance writer poured everything he had into opposing “invoice”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

‘I’m so divorced’… Why a freelance writer poured everything he had into opposing “invoice”.

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On September 29, the “STOP! Invoice” petition, with more than 540,000 signatures, the largest number of online signatures ever, was submitted to Fumio Kishida’s National Diet Office.

I have placed a tremendous burden on my husband and children over the past two years. I have not worked and abandoned my home so much that I could have been divorced. With gratitude, I strongly feel that this way of doing things is wrong. We absolutely need a way for citizens to have access to politics without sacrificing anything.”

This was tweeted on X (formerly Twitter) on September 29 by Natsumi Koizumi, a writer and founder of the “Freelance Association for the Invoice System” who launched the online petition “STOP!

September 29 was also the day that the group, Koizumi, and others submitted over 540,000 “STOP! Invoice” signatures, the largest number of online signatures in Japan’s history, to Fumio Kishida, secretary of the Diet office, just before October 1, when the invoice (qualified invoice) system was to begin.

Incidentally, the association independently compiles and analyzes the “number of registration withdrawals and expirations” of invoice issuing businesses each month based on data published on the National Tax Agency’s website. According to the data, there were 7,837 cases in the single month of September 2011, and the cumulative total since May 2010, when the analysis began, has reached 21,820 cases.

With the start of invoicing, the voices of confusion and opposition continue to spread, but what prompted Mr. Koizumi to voice his opposition and launch the online petition in the first place? Once again, we asked him to look back on the path that led him to this point.

He has not received any response from Prime Minister Kishida regarding his signature since then. At the time of his inauguration, he was supposed to have said, “My special skill is that I listen to people very carefully…” (PHOTO: AFLO)

At first, “I couldn’t understand the explanation when I read it… I thought on my own that it wouldn’t affect me.”

When the bill was passed in 2004, I heard from a writer I knew that invoicing was a very difficult system for freelancers, but at the time there were no articles explaining it, and I couldn’t understand it even after reading the explanation.

However, I thought it would not affect me, since I was not famous and did not earn that much money.

Mr. Koizumi and his wife are both freelancers. When a tax accountant calculated the consumption tax burden for both of them as taxable entrepreneurs, he found it to be a staggering amount. Moreover, at the time, there were no special exceptions or other relief measures for small businesses, and if they did not become taxable businesses, there was a possibility that they would be shunned by their business partners.

I thought, “This is a hellish system no matter which way I go. As I did more research, I learned that labor unions and others had been speaking out against the system for some time, and I thought, ‘There are people who feel the same way. So I decided to do something about it, and in November I submitted a petition to the local government, which was my first step.

I felt as if my parents’ way of life had been ridiculed…I cried so hard.

At the same time, Mr. Koizumi began studying consumption tax. He visited the legendary tax accountant, Mr. Kyoshi Koto, who is known as the “God of Consumption Tax,” and had him give a thorough 2- to 3-hour lecture on invoices and consumption tax.

The more I heard about the consumption tax and invoice, the more I thought it was a terrible system that bullied businesses.

My family owns a small grocery store, and I felt as if my parents’ way of life had been ridiculed. I could see the faces of my parents, who sent me to college for tens of yen per cucumber. I cried like a child in my office.

I told Dr. Koto, “The government thinks it is fine for small businesses to disappear. The consumption tax and invoices are an expression of this taxation system,’ and I left the office crying. But I didn’t feel like getting on a train right away, so I walked around for about 30 minutes, thinking in a daze, and then decided that it would be frustrating to just walk away.

So I decided to do something I could do first. I decided to write what Dr. Koto had taught me in a way that anyone could understand using my skills as a writer, and I decided to sign an online petition. That was the beginning.

Incidentally, it was through this system that I learned that my parents had been struggling to pay sales tax and that instead of requiring invoices from the farmers and others with whom they do business, they would raise the selling price of vegetables.”

When the registration process started, I asked a tax accountant about the impact of invoicing, and he told me that it was a very troublesome system for freelancers like myself,” Koizumi recalls.

Why I started with only one person…

Invoice” has now grown to a large mass of about 560,000 strokes, but why did he start it all by himself?

Invoice itself is difficult, and at the time in ’21, it was a t… Invoice itself is also difficult, and at the time in 2009, there were no people tweeting about invoice on Twitter at all.

Also, I think it was a bad idea on my part, but I was afraid to involve my family and acquaintances in my political activities, so I couldn’t ask them to join me. I was afraid that if something happened, I would lose my activities, my family, and my friends all at once.

However, in the end, my family did get involved, and I have been struggling with that.

When I told my husband about it, he got very angry.

Just before the launch of STOP! Invoice, there was a general election for the House of Representatives, and Koizumi says, “I had a vague idea that I wanted to do something good for society from that time. She sometimes helped with election allocations and was asked to make speeches in support of local candidates. ……

When I told my husband about it, he got angry, which was unusual. He said, ‘What would your friends think if they saw you giving a speech in front of the station? What if they think I’m like that?

I am still troubled by the issue of children, but it is also true that it made me angry. I thought that our stance on politics was inviolable, even if we were a married couple, and the mood became quite nasty.

However, my husband, perhaps feeling that he had intruded too much, has since maintained his stance of not speaking out and not touching anything.

Although she started out alone, without the support of her family, friends, or acquaintances, she did find supporters on Twitter.

Before I started signing the petition, I tweeted, ‘Isn’t invoice funny? I tweeted, “Isn’t invoice crazy?

I had no followers at all and was hardly active on Twitter, but suddenly I received 3,000 likes, which surprised me.

I was surprised to see that there were so many people who were concerned about invoicing, and it gave me the courage to get involved.

Within two weeks of the start of the campaign, the number of strokes exceeded 30,000. But, I was told to go collect 100,000 signatures by LDP members…

The number of signatures exceeded 30,000 in the first two weeks, and on December 16, we submitted the petition to the Ministry of Finance and held a press conference. After that, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party who asked for advice told him to collect 100,000 strokes, so he further expanded his activities and decided to hold his first large-scale event “Why I Raise My Voice for STOP Invoice 10.26 Hibiya Meeting” on October 26, 2010, at Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall. Decides to hold the event.

He made a 7-Eleven ATM near Hibiya No Oto for 110,000 yen for the venue rental fee, and signed the contract as it was! There was a possibility that no one would show up. ……

When we held our first demonstration in Ginza on October 1, we couldn’t even get 100 people to show up. I heard, ‘In the case of the Nogane, it will be a painting if 1,000 people gather,’ so we had to gather 1,000 people in three weeks. I was worried that if I couldn’t do that, the opposition itself would end, so I lost five kilograms.

At the time of the October 26th event (last year), there were few reports that delved deeply into the issue of invoicing, and on TV it was straight news for about a minute, such as, “There was a rally by a freelance group against the invoice.

Signature campaigns are gaining momentum, changes at home…

Although there were few reports that delved deeply into the invoice issue, the opposition rally itself was covered by major media, and the crowd-funding raised 1 million yen, with over 100,000 signatures.

Incidentally, the excitement over “STOP! Invoice” has also brought about changes in Koizumi’s family.

Volunteer social activities cost a lot of money and tend to cut into one’s work, family, and personal time. I have also received a lot of slander, but my husband has always taken the stance of watching over me.

Since I started my activities, my work hours have decreased, and I feel guilty that I have not been able to earn as much money as I used to, so I have tried my best to set up meetings after the children are put to bed, and I have taken the children to events on weekends to be interviewed while others are on site to take care of them, I have continued to give speeches.

But when the number of signatures grew rapidly just before the start of the invoice, my husband, who does not follow our activities, naturally started to see a lot of our activities on his social networking timeline. He said he was aware of the change in the public’s perception of us.

When I received information that we might be able to hand over the signatures to Prime Minister Kishida’s secretary on September 29, I had an interview and deadline for my day job, but my husband said, ‘You should go,’ and he wrote the manuscript he was about to write and did the interview on my behalf. I have nothing but gratitude.

Prime Minister Kishida has not responded to any of the signatures since then.

Screams arriving from various industries after the start of invoicing… “objectives” for the future

On the other hand, he says that since the start of invoicing on October 1, there have been screams coming from various industries.

One restaurant and stationery store that have not issued invoices have been told by customers, ‘If you can’t give us an invoice, it means you haven’t paid the consumption tax, so give us a 10% discount. The situation is exactly what we feared beforehand.

Even if a coin parking operator becomes an invoice issuing business, they cannot issue an invoice because they do not have the funds to invest in the equipment necessary to issue an invoice, and users give up because they have to go to the trouble of contacting the coin parking company to ask if they can pay a few hundred or a few thousand yen per transaction. Many people have told us that they have given up because of the hassle of contacting the coin parking company, which is a very unproductive paperwork.

Therefore, STOP Invoice is currently conducting a web survey to investigate the actual situation on the occasion of the first month of the system, and we have received nearly 2,000 responses in just two days since the release of the survey. We feel the impact of this event has had a great impact on our members.

The members have accomplished major events, but they don’t even know each other’s hometowns or what each other likes (laughs). We are a miraculous team connected only by “STOP!

When asked about their future activities, Koizumi said, “The misinformation about the consumption tax has yet to come to light, but we are still working on it.

There are still many incorrect ways to report the consumption tax, and our challenge will always be how to get our voices heard in politics and the media, but this time we will aim for one million strokes and gather many voices again to once again deliver our intention to cancel or abolish the tax.

Influencers like Takafumi Horie made fun of our activities on social networking sites, but if you think about it, we have become a movement big enough to get out of the mouth of Horie, and there is something about consumption tax and invoice that compels us to say a few words. That may be the key to the future of the movement.

The invoice system is not a seasonal story like “the hydrangeas have bloomed,” but a very serious taxation system that affects people’s lives.

Encouraged by Dr. Koto’s words, “We can always stop invoicing even after it has begun,” and by your support, I will continue to work to spread the issue of consumption tax invoicing as much as possible.

Also, personally, I hope to do something to support those who want to raise their voices, so to do that, I first need to make sure that I can balance my family, work, and activities (smiles).

Click here for the “One-Month Emergency Awareness Survey on the Start of the Invoice System

  • Interview and text by Wakako Takou

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