Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in “ultra-safe driving” mode, showing no signs of letting his enemies get away with anything. His method is to repeat only safe statements in a set chord progression, with no ad-libs allowed.
Throughout the recent general election, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Kōmeitō have been loudly promoting the “100,000 yen benefit” as a measure to support child rearing. This is a campaign pledge that is unlikely to be opposed. But for Prime Minister Kishida and the New Kōmeitō, it was a “cash-and-carry policy” that they had gotten a taste for after the popularity of the “uniform 100,000 yen allowance” for the Covid-19 disaster.
The cry of the local governments that are responsible for the actual work
On December 9, Osaka City Mayor Ichiro Matsui asked reporters at a press conference for their opinions on the policy, which was supposed to be “safe.
On December 9, at a press conference, Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui asked reporters for their opinions on the policy: “Raise your hand if you would like 50,000 yen plus a coupon worth 50,000 yen. Is there anyone?”
No reporters raised their hands.
No one raised their hands. “That’s right, that’s right. It’s better to get 100,000 yen in cash than a coupon. It’s the same for everyone. I’ve asked other people, and 100% of them say they’d prefer to be paid in cash. It’s a given. Unfortunately, we will only be able to deliver 50,000 yen by the end of the year.
Although the government has decided to provide benefits to children as the first step in what Prime Minister Kishida calls the “new capitalism” of distribution, things are not looking good. From the public’s point of view, the “income limit” was understandable. However, if the 100,000 yen is to be given in cash and coupons, and the coupons are to be provided six months later, it is natural for people to say, “That’s not what we are talking about.
The reason for the staggered payment is that the cash payment will be funded from this fiscal year’s reserve fund and the coupon payment will be funded from next year’s budget.
The reason for the differential benefits is to raise the cash payments from the current fiscal year’s reserve fund, and to secure funding for the coupons in the next fiscal year’s budget. The economically needy are on the verge of a real crisis in their daily lives. Six months down the road is too late. Didn’t Prime Minister Kishida write down the voices of the people in his “People’s Voice Notebook” so that he would not forget them? In the first place, people in dire straits cannot even afford to meet with the prime minister and complain about their plight.
The city of Ota, in Gunma Prefecture, followed Osaka in voicing its dissatisfaction. On April 7, Mayor Kiyoyoshi Shimizu announced that the city would provide 100,000 yen in cash to its citizens.
Vouchers “have no place to be used in the countryside.
As time goes by, we are confronted with the fact that the implementation of the election pledges of the Liberal Democratic Party is so disconnected from the actual situation of the people and local governments. Minoru Toyoda, the mayor of Kitaibaraki City in Ibaraki Prefecture, said, “The 50,000 yen cash transfer is not enough.
Minoru Toyoda, mayor of Kitaibaraki City in Ibaraki Prefecture, said, “The budget for the 50,000 yen cash transfer, 350 million yen, will come from the national government. The remaining 350 million yen will be paid by Kitaibaraki City as a special appropriation. We want to deliver 100,000 yen to the children by the end of this year. In the first place, in a rural area like ours, there is no place to use the coupons even if they are issued. Coupons are useless. There’s no point in giving them to people.
There is no end to the number of such voices from all over Japan. Nevertheless, the Cabinet Office has issued the following notice.
The Cabinet Office, nevertheless, has issued the following notice: “If it is not possible to issue coupons, cash payments are acceptable. However, in that case, a written reason must be submitted.
How dare they look down on us when they use tax money collected from the people. The notice, which seems to imply that the government can do whatever it wants at its own discretion, raised questions from the local governments.
Why is the “distribution” too late?
At the press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno made a “gray” statement: “We would like to base the benefits on coupons,” but “it is possible to adapt the system to the actual conditions of local governments. On the other hand, Prime Minister Kishida said in his Diet speech
On the other hand, Prime Minister Kishida said in his Diet speech, “The coupon benefit is a direct and effective support for child rearing. It is also expected to promote private businesses, create new child-rearing services, and support consumption. I would like you to consider coupon payments in principle first.
I would like to see the government consider coupon payments first in principle. However, he also said, “We will listen to the actual situation in local areas.
Having suggested coupons, is he now unable to back down? The idea was conceived with insufficient consideration, and the operation of the coupons was fudged in a gray manner. If this is the case, the public’s faith in the Kishida administration may be lost. I would also like to reiterate my point.
We will study ways of operating the system so that it can be handled in cash, depending on actual conditions.
In his reply on March 13, Prime Minister Kishida said, “What do you want to do?
In his reply on November 13, Prime Minister Kishida reverted to his previous statement, saying, “We will not examine the issue with specific conditions.
What exactly does he want to do? There are only two weeks left in the year when the government will be in operation. Some people are asking, “What should we do now so that we can provide the benefits before the end of the year?
The child allowance system will be used for children up to junior high school age, but the method of providing benefits to those above high school age will be discussed in the future. There is no denying that the “100,000 yen” program is a bit of a drag.
In response to the “voice of the people,” local government leaders…
In Gunma Prefecture, the cities of Shibukawa, Ota, Maebashi, Numata, and others quickly decided to provide the full amount in cash. There are only two “voices of the people” heard across the country.
“A 100,000 yen cash benefit would be easier to use.
“Coupons require a tremendous amount of time and money to issue.
The head of a local government declares.
If the government says they won’t pay the coupon issue budget if we don’t listen to them, we will file an administrative lawsuit to enforce the budget.
The chiefs are dealing directly with the citizens and putting their sorrowful voices first. Isn’t this the true “voice of the people”?
The Kishida administration’s criteria for allowing “full cash benefits” rather than “50,000 yen worth of coupons” have yet to be determined. One mayor told me the following story.
One of the mayors said, “A member of the New Komeito Party told me, ‘The uniform benefit of 100,000 yen for children was a proposal put forward by the New Komeito Party during the election. However, the proposal has been changed to cash and coupons after the income limit was set, and is no longer in line with the original proposal of the Komei Party. We have already told the supporters of Komei that we will deliver 50,000 yen and coupons to everyone, so we want the government’s proposal to be implemented. If we don’t follow the government’s proposal, we may not receive the budget from the government to issue the coupons. They don’t want that to become a criticism of the Komei Party.
The bottom line is that they are troubled that the support for children proposed by the Komei Party is not being ‘distributed’ as promised.
Another mayor of the village said, “The government will give us money, but it will not be distributed.
Another mayor of the village said, “The national government always says that they will provide the money, but the local government will do the rest. The national government always says, ‘We’ll give you the money, but the local government will do the rest. If you look at it this way, you might wonder if this is a bailout for Japan Post, whose sales of New Year’s cards have been declining significantly. If we just paid in cash, the cost would be less than a quarter.
Although Prime Minister Kishida seems to be managing his administration smoothly, he has been slow to make decisions and has left ambiguities, causing confusion among local governments. The voices of the local governments are the voices of the people. The voices of local governments are the voices of the people, and the prime minister prides himself on his ability to listen.
Reporting and writing by： Shutaro Iwashiro Photo: Yoshio Tsunoda/Afro： Yoshio Tsunoda/Afro