Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s fiscal reform drive is an example of “historic misgovernment,” according to former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori.
Mori said: “It seems like (Koizumi) does not trust the LDP. But if he attaches importance to the next two years (until his term expires in 2006), he should act more humbly.”
Mori criticized Koizumi’s three-pillar fiscal reform plan, which involves state subsidies, the allocation of central government revenues to local governments and the sharing of the central government’s authority to collect taxes.
Koizumi has asked local governments to submit their own reform ideas instead of waiting to be told what to do by the central government. Mori disagrees.
“It was wrong (for Koizumi) to let the local governments voice their specific ideas on the reform plan” before a plan came out from the central government or the ruling parties, Mori said.
It is unusual for Mori, who leads a Liberal Democratic Party faction to which Koizumi belonged before taking office in 2001, to criticize his successor on policy matters. Koizumi heads the LDP.
The report, compiled by six major local governmental bodies and submitted to Koizumi in August, called for a 3.2 trillion yen cut in national subsidies through fiscal 2006 in exchange for giving local governments the authority to collect 3 trillion yen in tax revenue sources.
The proposed cuts include 850 billion yen in the state-funded compulsory education program for junior high schools — mainly teachers’ salaries — as well as cuts to programs to finance public works projects and social security.
The six local governmental bodies include the National Governors’ Association, the Japan Association of City Mayors, and the National Association of Towns and Villages.
The government set up a panel for representatives from the central and local governments to discuss specific plans. The local representatives asked the government to come up with an alternative proposal if it is opposed to the local governments’ plan.
Referring to the proposed cuts to the state-funded education program for junior high schools, Mori said: “The education ministry should refuse to propose an alternative plan. The content of the compulsory education program should not differ with each prefecture.”
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