Soka Gakkai Representatives Outline Priorities to New Komeito

    TOKYO, Jan. 17 /CNW/ - The New Komeito party and the Soka Gakkai Buddhist
association, its main endorsing body, held an official liaison meeting on
January 17 at the party's headquarters in Shinjuku.
    New Komeito Secretary-General Kazuo Kitagawa and Policy Research Council
Chair Tetsuo Saito and Soka Gakkai Vice General Director Koji Harada and
Women's Division Advisor Ikuyo Sakaguchi were among the attendees.
    The New Komeito introduced the party's achievements during the recent
extraordinary Diet session:

    -   Succeeding in delaying the implementation of a law which would have
        increased the proportion of health care expenses paid by elderly
    -   Helping revise the Political Funds Law in order to require receipts
        for all political outlays.
    -   Taking the initiative toward the legislation providing universal
        relief for those suffering from hepatitis as a result of tainted drug
    Concerning the next House of Representatives election, the party
expressed its determination to remain prepared for an election at any time and
do its utmost to ensure victory.

    The Soka Gakkai representatives requested the party to:

    1.  Provide more information to the public on its policy direction and
    2.  Strive to play a pivotal role in building consensus between the
        ruling and opposition parties in the current split Diet.
    3.  Make further efforts to promote the true interests of the public as
        the leading advocate for the vulnerable in Japanese society.

    The Soka Gakkai then raised questions regarding the party's plans for
addressing geographical inequalities in health care provision and employment
    New Komeito stated its commitment to addressing the serious shortage of
medical practitioners in rural areas. One proposal is to encourage regional
medical schools to give priority allocation to students who agree to work as
hospital doctors in the same region after graduation.
    The party also confirmed its intention to help stabilize the employment
situation by increasing the minimum wage, and improving working conditions for
women, young people and the elderly through revision of the Labor Standards
    In addition, Soka Gakkai representatives expressed concerns about the
social impact of high oil prices and the missing pension records, and
requested the party to take appropriate action.
    Official liaison meetings between New Komeito and the Soka Gakkai are
held at least twice a year.

For further information:

For further information: Joan Anderson, Office of Public Information,
Soka Gakkai International, Tel: +81-3-5360-9482, Fax: +81-3-5360-9885,

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