The basic role of social security in the 21st century should be to provide “security” for people’s living. Only if a person is assured of security can he or she be motivated to take on challenges and can society exert its vigor. The social security-based “society that we aim for” should be formulated based on the three following pillars.
(1) A society that eliminates employment insecurity and concern about retired life, and that guarantees the “security” of living for everyone
We are striving to eliminate insecurity regarding “employment” and “retired life,” which are two major concerns for people; and moving away from “Japanese-specific welfare” that has depended on families and corporations, we are aim for a society that guarantees “security” of living for everyone, based on social safety nets that are equally open to all.
We aim for a society that ensures full employment and the full application of social security to employed workers.
(2) A society where people recognize and respect the significance and value of each other’s labor
The source of society’s vitality is labor, and through labor, individuals can recognize their own involvement in society and their sense of accomplishment. We aim for a society where “people exist not for the sake of the economy, but where the economy exists for the sake of people” and “the humanization of industry and labor.” We aim for a society where people recognize and respect the significance and value of each other’s labor (work), even though their working pattern may differ.
(3) A society where people can raise children with a sense of security, and where children can grow up in good health and freedom
In order to ensure that people can raise children with a sense of security, we are striving for the adoption of effective measures on a nationwide scale to reverse the declining birthrate. The shape of the children who will form the next generation is a reflection of that of adults, and children today are losing their way as people. We aim for society where adults can escape from the situation where they are overcome by concerns about their future and competition, revive “working” in their lives, and regain self-confidence and goals, and where children can grow up in good health and in a carefree way, with the support of their families, schools and local communities.
Strategic Agenda for the “Society We Aim for”
In order to achieve the “Society We Aim for,” we must address the strategic tasks described below, and need to take specific steps and change our sense of value.
(1) Change time-budget
While taking into consideration the specific values of various forms of time -- working hours, hours used for self-improvement for work, hours spent with family and community –we must secure the space to allow people to determine how they will allocate their time over their lifetimes (lifetime working hours).
(2) Change living space
Living space can be both “physical space” and “people space” (communication space). Our aim is to re-knit this living space into “space for self-determination” which can be governed cooperatively by people living in local communities. The socialization of child raising and nursing care can be achieved within this living space (voluntary activities of the local community).
(3) Free land from private interests into public assets
Land speculation has transformed houses and public investments into private concessions (rights and interests), forced people to bear the burdens, and destroyed the environment. We aim to protect land from speculation and vested interests, and define land in society as public and social assets. With land as a public asset, we can work to develop a social infrastructure and housing policy that support our livelihoods, and rebuild local communities through “community development focused on welfare.”
(4) Put an end to the “supremacy of competitiveness”
Excessive cost competition and the pursuit of profits has hampered the improvement of working conditions, caused a stagnation of consumption and led to a vicious cycle of a rising yen and pressure to further reduce costs. To put an end to this excessive “supremacy of competitiveness,” we should make Japan’s technical prowess and competitive edge provide support for a more relaxed and well-balanced society and lives.
(5) Put an end to “male-centeredness”
The system that has alienated children, the aged, women and the disabled as “the weak” and forced long working hours on men in their young and middle ages, which has in turn alienated these men from their families and local communities, has now developed serious cracks and distortions. We need to change working patterns, institutions and practices under this “male-centered” system, and re-weave the system into relations where men and women can choose their own lifestyles, while helping each other.