INTERVIEW: Kato Wants Talks on Future of Social Security System

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Sept. 13 (Jiji Press)--The government should discuss how Japan's social security system should be reformed before talking about how to ask taxpayers to accept a larger burden, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato has said.

"It would be difficult" to win public understanding "if the government takes up (the burden issue) alone without discussing what the system should be like in the future," Kato said in an interview with Jiji Press and other media organizations Thursday.

The government must study reform options based on various ideas of what to do with the country's medical services and the roles of hospitals and homes in five to 10 years, said Kato, who came back as health minister as part of Wednesday's cabinet shakeup by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Asked about a possible additional hike in the consumption tax after the planned rise, Kato said the government first needs to raise the tax to 10 pct from the current 8 pct Oct. 1 as planned and implement policy measures financed with the increased tax revenue.

The advisability of an additional hike should be considered as part of discussions on how to reform medical, elderly care, public pension and childrearing assistance services and related benefits, he said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press