03 March 2008

Japanese legislatures launch a parliamentary group for establishing internatinoal solidarity levy

*Click the title above to read the Japanese verison of this release.

February 29, 2008

Office of Senator Tadashi Inuzuka
House of Councillors, National Diet of Japan
Secretariat, the Parliamentary Group on International Solidarity Levy


Japanese legislatures launch an all-party parliamentary group calling for the establishment of an international solidarity levy

28 February 2008) A nonpartisan, all-party parliamentary group calling for the establishment of an international solidarity levy was established in Japan. The Group, calling itself “The Parliamentary Group on International Solidarity Levy”, has launched an inaugural meeting on Thursday where influential legislatures from both the ruling and opposition parties attended. The distinguished attendants included Mme. Yoriko Kawaguchi, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yasuhiro Shioazaki, the former Chief Cabinet Secretary, and Mrs. Wakako Hironaka, the former Minister of Environment. Along with these individuals, Mr. Kenzo Oshima, the former Permanent Representative to the United Nations and now the Deputy Director of the Japan Cooperation Agency, was added to the list of distinguished participants who prepared an inaugural lecture for the Group.

The Group aims to establish a system for international solidarity levy known as CTDL, or Currency Transaction Development Levy that allows procurement of funds for development assistance purposes by way of placing a levy on currency transactions. Specifically, the Group aims to do the following, as stipulated in the finalized prospectus.

February 28, 2008

Prospectus of the Group

2008 is the year of the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit as well as the mid point for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015. In spite of increasingly severe transnational issues such as climate change, poverty and pandemics, there is no prospect that the ODA goal for 2015 will be met. In order to resolve this situation, the airline ticket solidarity levy initiative led by France and the IFF initiative led by the United Kingdom have been implemented. However, these initiatives have not been introduced in other major countries and their revenues are also limited.

Recognizing that the time is ripe to call for an action by the legislature to take the initiative to devise “transnational solutions” that go beyond party or faction borders, we hereby establish the “Parliamentary Group on International Solidarity Levy", an all-party parliamentary group dedicated to address the aforementioned needs and to ensure that Japan will also commit itself to the establishment of innovative financing mechanisms.

1. Organize and provide venues for study group sessions to study relevant systems and to facilitate substantial discussions in the Diet.
2. Push the Japanese government towards participation in the “Leading Group on Solidarity Levies” (LGS).[i]
3. Push the Japanese government to take the role of a lead nation for the “CTDL taskforce”[ii] which was proposed by the LGS.

In order to realize CTDL[iii], it is necessary to create a framework where many countries can participate, including the British All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), the Italian government, the European Parliament, and others in addition to the members of the Leading Group which is led by the French government.

[i] Leading Group on Solidarity Levies (LGS): A 53-member group called on by France and Brazil established during the international conference on “Solidarity and Globalization: innovative financing for development and against pandemics” in Paris (Mar. 2006) to promote the establishment of international solidarity levy or innovative financing mechanisms. Eight (8) of its members have already enacted air ticket levy. Japan is an observer to this group and is a participant to the bi-annual plenary meeting of the LGS.

[ii] CTDL Taskforce: A decision was reached in the Second LGS Plenary Meeting held in Oslo (Feb. 2007) to set up two taskforces to tackle the issues of (1) tax haven and capital flight, and (2) Currency Transaction Development Levy (CTDL). On the Third LGS General Meeting in Seoul (Sep. 2007), Norway volunteered to take on the Tax Haven and Capital Flight Taskforce. However, there have been no volunteers for the CTDL taskforce.

[iii] CTDL (Currency Transaction Development Levy): An international currency taxing system proposed by a coalition of 61 non-governmental organizations led by the British NGO “Stamp Out Poverty”. It aims to place ultra-low taxes (0.005%) on currency transactions to produce additional funds for ODA and to help reduce the burdens on national governments financing the ODA.