bill to revise the Water Supply Act was approved coercively in the House of
Representatives in the midst of parliamentary disarray in the extended session
of the Diet July 5. The move followed the school scandals involving the leading
government officials, the controversial work style reform and enactment of the
casino law. Further debates on the bill will be made in the Upper House during
the current extraordinary session. The point lies in privatization of clean water
service. Water is a common asset of citizens.
SUPPORTING LINE OF WATER SHOULD BE OPERATED PUBLICLY
falls economically and infrastructure gets older
water supply network was arranged in the area of 26% of the entire territory of Japan in the decade of 1950. In the 1960s
the rate surged over 50% along with the rapid economic growth. In the decade of
1980 it reached 90%, and at present it attains 98%.
water service is usually operated by local governments with some exceptions.
Therefore, excluding big cities, managing foundations are not so strong. In
some municipalities whose population counts 10 thousand only three people on
the average are in charge of operation.
these circumstances water pipeline infrastructure faces expected lifetime as
these facilities were intensively built in the 1970s. Several obstacles must be
overcome, including costs to renew utilities and succession of technologies. For
these reasons discussions have been made to review the Water Supply Act to
foster the management basis with an objective to incorporate public
proposed bill, however, contains ‘links of public authorities with business
entities’. The agenda provides ‘a concession method’, which is to transfer the
right of management to the private sector. This is a mechanism that allows
private companies to operate publicly-owned facilities.
in compliance with the PFI (= Private Finance Initiative) laws, local
governments can transfer water services to private entities; a municipal
authority abandons the status to permit water services, while a business entity
should be authorized anew to engage in the services. In this framework
municipalities are not able to cope with situations produced by natural disasters
and accidents. Therefore, the current revision suggests that local government
should retain the permission status while private companies should be in charge
the policy right?
people claim merits of privatization: a big cost reduction in operation thanks
to market competitions. It is hard, however, for smaller local authorities to
make profits, with exception of big cities.
decreases in many cities and villages, in which collection of water rate
declines, impacting negatively on management. Water service technologies of Japan are said
to be of the world’s top level. Municipalities will unable to accumulate and inherit
these technologies to coming generations and will have to respond vulnerably to
natural disasters that happen frequently.
is vital not only to sustain lives of people but also to keep up human life
itself. It is extraordinarily important infrastructure. Its maintenance,
control and operation, including budgets, should be carried out publicly by the
state and local governments.
at the world!
of water supply was implemented in the United
Kingdom and in the cities of Paris
But today the authorities have made decisions to return to the previous public ownership
system. People of Japan
are not informed of these facts.
do these cities have taken the policy? It is because private entities seek the
biggest profit, which has led to an obscure rating system to bring about higher
rates and to reduction of personnel to ruin quality of water and services.
key lies in mass struggles of workers and citizens.