We protest against and call for withdrawal of proposal to return reserves of independent administrative agency hospitals early as resource for major defense spending increase

December 5, 2022
Tsuyoshi Masuda
Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions

The Expert Council on Comprehensive Defense Capability as National Strength on November 22 proposed an early return to the treasury of 150 billion yen in reserves of independent administrative agencies, the National Hospital Organization (NHO) and the Japan Community Health care Organization (JCHO), as a resource for a major increase in defense spending proposed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
At a press conference on November 25, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki expressed his intention to consider the proposal, saying, “We would like to discuss it with relevant ministries and agencies.”
The two organizations are medical institutions that have been struggling to protect citizens’ lives on the front lines of the fight against Covid-19 for more than two and a half years.
The proposal is spreading strong anxiety about further deterioration of working conditions among medical workers who have been forced to work excessively during the pandemic.

Years of government cutbacks in medical costs have thrown medical institutions nationwide into management difficulties and labor shortages as well as weakened healthcare delivery systems. The spread of the Covid-19 infection has led to the collapse of medical care services, making it impossible to save lives that could have been saved.
Without any reflection on the policy to cut medical expenses, the Finance Ministry is pressing the Health Ministry, which has jurisdiction over the two organizations, to return the reserves as soon as possible. However, what is needed now is not a large increase in defense spending but to build medical services that can prepare for future pandemics.
The reserves of the NHO and the JCHO should be used to strengthen medical care delivery systems to protect people’s lives.

The Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions firmly opposes an increase in defense spending that threatens human lives. It protests against the proposed early return of the NHO and the JCHO reserves as a source of funds for the increase and demands the withdrawal of the proposal.