Let us make the government change policy of cutting medical resources and raise voice for “safe and secure medical services”
Jichiroren calls on citizens nationwide to sign petition
In its effort to achieve safe and secure medical and nursing care services, Jichiroren is now calling on citizens to sign a petition to be delivered to the Japanese government. This signature campaign demands that the Japanese government, which has failed to take effective measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 infection, increase the number of medical and public health workers, subsidize medical and nursing facilities, and thoroughly change policies it has pushed forward with to reduce the number of medical facilities. Jichiroren is promoting this campaign in collaboration with citizens’ groups and other labor unions working for better medical and social security programs.
Govt’s neoliberal policy neglecting to expand medical resources responsible for resurgence of coronavirus cases
Since the end of the last year, Japan faces the surge in Covid-19 cases in an unprecedented level. The government declared its second state of emergency, following its first one in April last year. As of mid-January, more than 35,000 infected patients across the country who need to be hospitalized or quarantined are compelled to stay at home as a result of the government’s failure to expand medical resources during the second half of the last year when the number of cases decreased temporarily. The root cause of this problem is neoliberal policy management by the government, which for years has underrated the importance of medical and public health services and reduced their facilities and staff under the pretext of cutting waste in public spending.
In order to collect a large number of signatures as the voice of the people, Jichiroren printed petition postcards and distributed them to its affiliated labor unions, which delivered the postcards to residents’ houses throughout Japan. With signatures written, postcards have been sent back to Jichiroren’s national office one after another. Messages are also written on some of them, such as, “This year I strongly felt that our health is protected by those working at hospitals and public health centers. I hope that the government will increase the number of staff as soon as possible,” and, “It is the time that our tax money should be used for the lives and livelihoods of the people.”
“Keep up the good work”: Campaigners receive positive responses from passers-by
While taking countermeasures against the infection, workers and citizens are collecting signatures at workplaces and on streets. In Aichi Prefecture, which is home to Toyota Motor, 10 people held a signature collecting campaign near the Kurokawa subway station on January 8. In an hour they collected 24 signatures and distributed 73 petition postcards.
Various people signed the petition there, including a person whose relative is a medical worker, a mother with children, and a part-timer at a public health center. The campaigners received many words of encouragement from them: “Keep up the good work,” “I will ask my neighbor friends to sign this,” “My relative works at a hospital which recently found infectious cases,” “I am so worried about my sister, who is a nurse. She could not attend our parent’s funeral,” and, “I want to have five postcards to give to my friends.”
Receiving such favorable responses from many citizens, union members who participated in this action were encouraged to continue this campaign.