Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like first to express my gratitude to the established
Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan for once again giving
me an opportunity to speak before you for the fifth time.
I was 25 years old when you invited me for the first time
16 years ago.
You have with you a brochure which says eNew Japan Declaration
2007,f in which details of our ideas for the upcoming Upper
House election are written. We chose not to use a word eManifesto,f
and instead we call it a declaration. The English version
of our New Japan DeclarationchWhatever is wrong, letfs make
it right. A mission, a decent society.h my personal history
as well as past speeches at FCCJ, eNo-more-dam declaration,f
eDeparture from the press clubf and other declarations in
English are accessible at URL.
New Party Nippon was inaugurated 2 years ago, when I was still
Nagano governor. In fact, the party was established only 2
weeks BEFORE then the general election, and fielded candidates
in 5 out of 11 election blocks, the number of votes we won
levels that of the Social Democratic Party, which garnered
330 thousand votes per one election block. New Party Nippon
garnered 320 thousand votes.
In the upcoming upper house election, I, Yasuo Tanaka, the
party leader, and Yoshifu Arita, the deputy party leader will
be running under the proportional representation system. Arita
is 55 years old, 4 years senior to me. Arita, who was once
was a magazine editor, received a good reputation as a free
lance journalist investigation a dubious, manipulative sales
scheme involving the Unification Church.
As he took on a probe into the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas
attack committed by the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult, Arita
began appearing on television first as a commentator of the
Wide of Nippon Television Network(NTV). He has also been active
in pursuing the North Korean abduction issue. In 2002, he
campaigned for launching an opinion ad on the New York Times,
calling on action to resolve the abduction issue.
Just as I rushed to help quake victims at shelters and tent
villages, riding on a 50 cc motorbike during the Great Hanshin
Earthquake, Arita, not only spoke on television and in print,
but took action in problem-solving. Both he and I had pursued
French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartrefs notion of gengagement.h
As you probably all know, last Thursday (on July 5th), upper
house diet member Hiroyuki Arai, who served as our party secretary-general
and Minoru Taki, lower house diet member who served as general
affairs chairman, sought disbanding of New Party Nippon. But
I have to make it clear. Two years ago in the general election,
Taki failed to win in the election, having only garnered 29
thousand votes in Nara number 2 district, running under the
single seat constituency system. But because over 420 thousand
voters in the Kinki block voted for New Party Japan under
the proportional representation system, Taki was resurrected,
or revived, as a zombie. And calling for the disbanding of
public party New Party Nippon, which enabled him to become
a diet member, is tantamount to eblasphemyf to voters.
Incidentally, this week edition of Shukan Bunshun is reporting
that Arai is desperately seeking to become the White Knight,
or the savior for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party expected
to lose the majority in the election. On the other hand, under
the public office election law, Taki will not be allowed to
join another political party, unless New Party Nippon is disbanded.
The pair may have their own agenda. Who knows. I did not allow
the party to be disbanded. They left the party and become
When I have to define the upcoming election, I would define
it as calls to rid constraints, rid collusion. Renewed New
Party Nippon will be a party of no fetters, no back-scratching,
with Tanaka and Arita leading a new team.
Polls show over 50 percent of eligible voters have no specified
party affiliation, or party to support, while nearly 80 percent
of them have no hopes for the future politics. But even those
despondent voters arenft willing to allow Japan to remain
as is, a nation in disguise, or a society of bid-rigging.
If that is the case, as we wrote in the very beginning of
New Japan Declaration, we should breaking away from a mindset
buried in past successes, we must take steps towards a political
system that offers hope to people who are earnestly working,
studying, and living in this country.
Five thousand cases of pension in limbo. Nursing care business
fiasco involving Comsn-GoodwillcBeef false labeling by Katokichi-Meat
Hopecjust naming a few. Irresponsible education, irresponsible
diplomacy, irresponsible appointment of cabinet posts by prime
minister Shinzo Abe, resulting in scandals after scandalscJapan
is turning to be a nation of deception, a flawed nation. What
the government is doing is the opposite of a team spirit working
and competing to resolving problems. Eliminating outsiders
and colluding among buddies and back-scratching relations
of never solving problems and postponing them all the timec
thatfs an insular Japan we are in today. Those what they call
past successes are already experience of failure in the past.
New Japan Declaration consists of the following 4 ideas.
1. Introduction of pension passbooks allowing for quick verification
of past premium payments and future benefits.
2. To prevent a slowdown in consumption and economic growth,
fiscal reconstruction without tax increases is needed
3. Break away from a construction-obsessed government and
utilize what we have
4. Improved food self-sufficiency to protect our children
and attain glife securityh
These are different from other partyfs pledges. The four ideas
link to one another closely. They are all part of a story
of challenging to change the mindset, to make different choices
and revising the system itself, to make Japan a better nation.
On the pension fiasco, there will be no problem solving unless
the pension system itself is reformed. The point is not reforming
the social insurance agency. New Party Nippon has always been
calling for the introduction of the pension passbook system
for the past 2 years. At present, pension handbooks consist
of only the date of enrollment, so people would not possibly
know when they can start receiving benefits and how much.
The pension passbooks we are proposing will state monthly
premium payments and future monthly benefits that one is guaranteed
to receive at retirement, It will bind the government and
people through a contract of trust.
During a televised party presidential debate on Sunday, the
opposition DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa also spoke of the need
to introduce pension passbooks. But the government and other
political parties are blurring the issue by using abstract
terms such as gestimates,h with no guarantees.
The pension passbook we, New Party Nippon, are proposing is
our original. It will state monthly premium payments and future
monthly benefits that one is guaranteed to receive at retirement,
including additional benefits paid from the state treasury
at the end of the fiscal year, which will be calculated at
a rate of 1.7 times.
Why does it have to be so specific and in details? Because
many people are skeptical about the inconsistent, flip-flopping
government policy on pension.
Seven years ago, the government pledged to reform e100 year
pension safety,f promising to pay out 60 percent of a retireefs
after-tax earnings. However, only 4 years later, this target
was further reduced to 50 percent. With this uncertainty,
how will the unpaid premium rate already exceeding 30 percent
can ever be reduced?
Itfs not the benefit estimates people need. Itfs the introduction
of pension passbooks verifying the amount of future benefits
at the end of each fiscal year that we are proposing. The
book lists the pension fund balance as totaling 150 trillion
yen. But how much is actually left intact? The government
has no intention or whatsoever to reveal that. And the passbook
system we are proposing will serve as catalyst in holding
the government accountable and pressuring it to disclose the
We should also not forget the fact that the 59 trillion yen
pension fund has been injected into special public corporations
including former Japan Railway and former Public Highway Corporation
and most of the fund has become irrecoverable. Unless the
structure of runaway money drain, so-called Zaito, treasury
investment, is drastically transformed, the problem will not
be solved, but simply postponed.
Of course, itfs urgent to verify the 5 thousand pension records
unaccounted for. But identifying stops short of solving the
entire problem. Itfs just an emergency paving work to fill
up 5 thousand gaps or cave-ins on pension roads. The truth
is underneath the pension roads, the underground is liquefying.
The pension system as a whole has to be reconstructed in a
Despite all the problems, the Article 74 of the National Pension
Law of the Social Insurance Agency Reform law craftily states
that a portion of pension reserves can be used to fund pension
education, public relations and consulting activities. Crafting
into the bill phrases like erelatedf and eetcetera,h and stretching
further the interpretations to allow for wasteful spending
is a typical tactic of bureaucratic politics.
The government may set up a luxry pension tea lounge outside
the Kyoto Station, serving tea to the elderly free of charge
and providing free tours to the youth in the name of education
and public relations activities to reduce unpaid pension premiums.
The present government is a group coming up with projects
packed with jokes and draining taxes and reserves unscrupulously.
Even if the signboard of the Social Insurance Agency is replaced
by that of the gJapan Pension Organizationh, bureaucrats wonft
lose anything but get richer. They say making public servants
non-public, but the truth is their salaries will be paid by
taxes. We did a research on this when I was governor, serving
as the chairman of the Association of prefectural governors,
the employees at special administrative corporations are set
an average 10 percent higher than those of public servants.
What makes it worse is that the revised law which calls for
the renaming of the Japan Pension Organization states nothing
about internal control or auditing methods. Just the rhetoric
of dismantling or abolition is dancing around and itfs simply
the replacing of signboards. Bureaucracy will live in security.
The 6 years of my governorship were spent on battling these
bureaucratic organizations. In that sense, public servant
system reform for whose passage the prime minister extended
the diet session in itself is a false advertising. The government
officialsf golden parachuting which had long been arranged
in the ministry and agency level will be unified and arranged
by the government. Thatfs what the current law revision is
all about. In short, itfs the legalization of public golden
parachuting. And therefs more.
Before the revision is made, there had been a set cooling
off period for a job transfer, meaning between retiring from
a government agency and landing a new job. So immediate parachuting
However, with the revision of the law, parachuting into universities
or research institutes that have been made into independent
administrative public corporations has been made possible
immediately after retirement. There sill be a countless number
of not only professorial posts but trustee posts at those
universities and institutes. For example, officials from the
Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry, the Agriculture,
Forestry and Fishery Ministry and the Health, Labor and Welfare
Ministry will find post-retirement jobs at universitiesf engineering,
agriculture and pharmacy departments as trustees. And thatfs
not all. They will later have another chance of golden parachuting
into construction companies, agricultural organizations and
pharmaceutical companies. And all this will be legal by the
So called ethe public and private human resources centerf
which in fact is the legitimatized golden parachuting agency
is not in charge or, in control of second time parachuting
from independent administrative public corporations to private
enterprises. Itfs virtual human laundering as opposed to money
Every year, Japan is losing 800 thousand people, equivalent
to residents in in Tokyofs Setagaya Ward. In 25 years, one
out of three people in Japan will be 65 years old and over.
We need to .move from quantitative expansion to qualitative
fulfillment and through the course, yields have to be improved.
This sort of a dramatic change in the mindset is called for.
Making excuses by saying eYou canft do it because therefs
no precedentf canft be tolerated. We need to tear down the
walls of bureaucracy. We need to say No to whatfs wrong. Whatever
is wrong, we need to make it right.
Please take a look at our party logo. New Party Nippon logo.
On the right shoulder of the rising sun with a message saying,
eChange your view, Re-examine Japan,f therefs another tiny
rising sun. The history shows a good apple can be spoilt in
a rotten barrel. What Ifm trying to say is a small party with
a resolve tends to end up playing up to the big. So itfs important
to have our own view and philosophy and to make objective
judgment on societal matters. The idea has a dialectic implication.
At the same time, itfs a dire warning against the Japanese
government incapable of dealing with problems logically, as
is evident in the pension problem.
Just taking an example of Nagano prefecturecduring 41 and
a half years before I became governor in 2000, there were
only two governors. Both of them were former public servants.
During that time period, no budget requests, personal appointment
or ordinance had been voted down or modified, even not once.
But this happy-friendly back-scratching club with plenty of
oppressive fetters whose members are the governor, the employees
and assembly members was constantly producing a financial
state, ranked the worse second in Japan.
With other prefectures incurring increased debts, Nagano was
the only prefecture to reduce its outstanding debts for 6
consecutive years by a total of 92.3 billion yen and achieved
primary surpluses for 7 straight years since I took office.
In the final year of my governorship, the fund balance even
Unless we retool our mindset and choices based on our current
reality, and restructure the existing system, we will be unable
to overcome the challenges of a rapidly declining and aging
society. The simplistic and bureaucratic approach of responding
to budget reductions by decreasing the size and number of
projects must be replaced with the more corporate approach
of cutting costs while maintaining those projects. Four years
ago, Yasuo Tanaka, known as the gAnti-Bid-Rigging Governorh,
implemented an open and transparent competitive tendering
system in various fields.
The unprecedented move made it possible for local companies,
which were previously sub-subcontractors of major corporations,
to participate directly in public tenders. This resulted in
pushing down the average successful bidding rate of over 97
percent before I took office, which was clear evidence of
bid rigging, to the lowest nationwide of less than 80 percent.
By eliminating discretionary contracts and selective tendering,
which was the breeding ground for rigged bids, the cost of
one project was cut from 1 million yen to 800,000 yen, allowing
us to stop the opaque flow of tax funds.
The cost savings of 20 to 25 percent from these public tenders
were then redirected to welfare, medical, educational, environmental
and tourism industries that benefit the public and help create
community-based jobs, as is vital in the 21st century. Nagano
was the first nationwide to introduce elementary school classes
limited to 30 students. This was made possible as we secured
independent revenue sources by implementing fiscal and bidding
Public office spending called the government final consumption
expenditures was 9 percent of the GDP 19 years ago in 1984.
The figure doubled to 18 percent in 2005. If only a half of
the increase, thatfs 4 and a half percent, is saved, thatfs
23 trillion yen in savings. Then, 14 trillion yen in revenues
necessary to cover basic pension by government coffers can
be secured and there will even be a surplus.
But such reform has never been implemented, because the effort
is certain to threaten vested interests held by bureaucrats.
So a true political leadership is strongly been called for.
Reduction by 50 percent in expenditure increases...meaning
25 percent cuts in public office expenditures as a whole is
tantamount to what we achieved in Nagano by implementing an
open and transparent competitive tendering system, resulting
in the lowering of the average successful bidding rate down
to 75 percent. So, itf s feasible and fully achievable.
Here is a photo of the Shinshu-style gwooden guardrailsh set
up in Karuizawa. Itfs an example of community-based cyclical
There are only five companies producing steel guardrails across
Japan. All of them are based in Tokyo. As is the case with
mega public works projects represented by dam construction
whose project cost flow largely to general contractors in
major cities, over 90 percent of project cost goes to major
cities. What makes it worse, no government subsidies are allotted
for installing guardrails.
As we increased the budget for preservation of forestry which
covers 80 percent of the prefectural land by 250 percent,
we came up with the idea of developing strong and durable
wooden guardrails using thinned wood. We invited local civil
engineering contractors and three group companies responded.
Collision tests using a heavy truck at a testing ground in
Tsukuba city were carried out and the products passed the
state-sponsored durability tests.
The guardrails have the strength of steel but have warmth
because itfs made of wood. Logging, lumbering, manufacturing
and installation of our self-developed gwooden guardrailsh
were all done by local companies. The project boosted local
employment by 5 times while maintaining the same project cost.
Why does the government continue spending on new public facilities?
The reason is that government-issued bonds can only be used
to fund the 3 areas of roads, buildings and parks.
Arrests were made and suicides were committed in a fiasco
involving the Japan Green Resources Agency. In contrast to
its name, the agency has deforested mountain slopes and destroyed
the environment to build roads. The Forest Ministry actually
spends less than 3% of its budget on forestry development,
with the remainder going to public works that put cement walls
and steel piles into mountains. Such structure has to change.
The same situation prevails with public day care services
for the elderly, with the government providing generous aid
only for the construction of new facilities. This is why new
buildings crop up in the middle of paddy fields far from villages,
unsuitable with the natural landscape.
In Japan, even welfare is a target for a government obsessed
with public works projects, which is why national debt continues
to rise at an alarming rate of 6.6 billion yen every hour
to 1,000 trillion yen now. In the 5 years since 2001, when
former prime minister Jun-ichiro Koizumi called for structural
reform, national debt actually increased by one quarter to
250 trillion yen.
The population of Japan is about 10,000 times that of Yubari
City. Multiply Yubari Cityfs debt by 10,000 times and the
figure is equal to the national debt. The financial collapse
of Yubari city is not a story limited to sparsely-populated
autonomies, but mirrors the country as a whole.
Income earned by salaried workers continue declining for 8
consecutive years, while tax burden on them have increased
by 3 point 9 trillion yen.
Last month, flat tax cuts were repealed, adding a burden of
3 point 2 trillion yen, which amounts to a 2 percent hike
in consumption tax. That is certain to result in a deflational
spiral, leading to the slowing of consumption and the economy
itself. Without fiscal reconstruction without tax increases,
young people with Japanese passports will be leaving to Canada
or Australia. Japan will be more graying and its population
will be shrinking rapidly with low birthrate. Change in the
mindset and views is urgent.
The outcome of fiscal reconstruction and tender system reform
Ifve just laid out presents evidence that fiscal reconstruction
without a reliance on tax increases is fully achievable.
And yet, bureaucrats in Kasumigaseki are adamantly resisting.
Let me explain how silly that is, by giving you the details.
First, I will take an example of the significance of No-more
dam declaration, which prompted conservatives at the prefectural
assembly to level a no confidence motion against me.
When I became governor in October, 2000, Nagano prefecture
was on the verge of financial collapse and had 9 planned dam
construction projects in the making. Despite of the fact that
nearly 70 percent of area residents were opposed to the plans,
conservatives at the prefectural assembly were adamant, saying
mega public works projects would stimulate and enrich the
Our investigative research has unraveled the fact that 72
point 5 percent of the total project costs was shouldered
by the government, but 80 percent of it had been paid to general
contractors outside the prefecture. Thatfs in short is a money
drain or outflux of it, outsourcing to other prefectures.
So, local community-based contractors, which had to reconcile
working as sub-subcontractors were in dire financial state.
Then itfs much better if we can create jobs in the local communities
with flood control, bank protection and forestry preservation
at much lower cost
The area of rice paddy fields to which water is drawn from
the rivers is on the decline, almost been halved that in 1950fs.
To anyonefs surprise, the land, infrastructure and transport
ministry and the agriculture, forestry and fisheries ministry
have never reviewed irrigation rights for the first time ever
in one-hundred and eleven years since 1986. They have no intention
of reviewing irrigation rights that are dormant. Therefs no
doubt they would not want to do it in order to keep constructing
dams forever and more.
The article 33 of the urban development and planning law bans
building homes on land prone to landslides. However, the article
29 of the same law says the ban will not be applied when it
comes to developing social welfare or medical facilities.
In this country, luxury hospitals and nursing homes are being
built one after another on desolate land, far from human habitation,
but owned by agricultural cooperatives or construction companies.
More and more mega-sized special nursing care facilities are
being built, while few group homes for the elderly close to
town are seldom built. As you can see, the number of community-based
employment at special nursing homes where one caregivers take
care of 6 people is double that of group homes where 2 caregivers
take care of 6 people. The construction cost of group homes
per bed is one-third. With the same care given, the monthly
care fees at special nursing homes are 320 thousand yen while
those of group homes are 230 thousand yen. 90 thousand yen
is a big difference. Donft we think itfs much better to have
group homes nearby than special homes far away, with the difference
During my tenure, shopping districts and vacant homes in villages
were refurbished to provide joint daycare services for both
the elderly and children aged up to 3 years old, with 300
such facilities set up in elementary school districts.
Having children close by, the elder people apparently gain
strength from them, while in turn, children can learn wisdom
from the elderly. Itfs welfare by community inclusion and
not by generational divide.
The government provides generous aid only for the construction
of new facilities. This is why new buildings crop up in the
middle of paddy fields far from villages, unsuitable with
the natural landscape.
In Japan, even welfare is a target for a government obsessed
with public works projects, which is why national debt continues
to rise at an alarming rate of 6.6 billion yen every hour
to 1,000 trillion yen now.
Critic Soichiro Tawara once told me. Governors who chose to
become a part of the interest-pie-sharing pyramid scheme,
which had been built over a long time by collusion among politicians,
bureaucrats and businessmen, are on velvet, meaning they could
live in security, happily ever-after. And governors who attempted
to build thier own pyramids together with industry newcomers
have been busted, after tips from jealous whistle-blowers
with vested interests.
And you, Mr. Tanaka, you have rid the prefecture of collusion
and never established special interests, and in the end were
booted out ALL because of that.
Wellche may be right.
The Chinese character meaning I in Japanese consists of two
small characters. The left means egrainsf, while the right
means elbowing someone out of the way. The primary meaning
of the character is We are not going to share grains with
villagers in the neighborhood.
On the other hand, the Chinese character meaning Public in
Japanese means blanketing the egoism (of elbowing) and embracing
the awareness to the level of serving in communities.
Ifve always been saying, whatfs in need is not a transfer
from bureaucracy to eme-ismf but from the bureaucracy to the
public, and from the private to the public. Engagement, tolerance,
generosityc.is what I believe is the most important.
Celebrities running in the election with party endorsements
are calling on voters to vote for them because they are celebrities.
They are demanding blank power of attorney, saying, eBecause
I am famous, I deserve your vote, so write my name on a ballot.f
New Party Nippon is different. Yasuo Tanaka and Yoshifu Arita
are not men of lip service who make statements from a safety
zone. We are always friends of little people without backings.
We are men of actions, we have a trusted record of producing
We are running in the election, hoping voters will cast their
votes in hopes for the future , making valid assessment on
our past records and visions for the future. News Volume one
wefve handed to you talks about New Party Nippon visiting
Yubari city for the first time, and News Volume two talks
about what we did in expressing concern earlier than anyone
else, over the proposed relocation of the Tsukiji fish market.
New Party Nippon, totally free of constraints, ball and chain,
will be like you, highly-respected journalists. We will expose
what is wrong, and work together to make a change and make
it right. We will be a catalyst to make that happen.
In fact, this collusion-prone nation in disguise will be tested
in the upcoming election. The nationfs ability to breakaway
from constraints and collusion will be called into question.
We, New Party Nippon, are determined to do BEST for Japan,
by taking steps towards creating a political system that offers
hope to people who are earnestly working, studying and living
in this country.