House of Councilors debates on a draft budget for Fiscal 2018, in which a
policy to reduce welfare payment is included: a 1.5% decrease on the average to
recipients of the Life Protection Service benefits, and the maximum is 5%. The
shrink, consequently, totals 21.3 billion Yen, which represents expenditure of
the state’s government of 16 billion Yen on the annual basis and that of local
ISSUE IS NOT SOMEBODY ELSE’S PROBLEM
qualification standard for the Life Protection Service is reviewed every five
years. The Committee on Life Protection Standard of the Social Welfare Council,
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, has discussed the theme since the spring
season in 2017.
report was released by the ministry December 14 last year in which the council
pointed out a fact that the current standard exceeds the protection level by
13.7% in the maximum for a case of a household of parents with two children in
the urban areas.
of 60% of Average People should be maintained
organizations advocating welfare beneficiaries protested the announcement, and
the government was, as a result, obliged to cut the budget by 5% in the maximum.
is important to point out here a verification method worked out by the
committee. In the circumstances where only about 20% of applicants for welfare
service are certified as recipients, the qualification standard should rely on
a level of consumption activities of those people in the minimum income strata
(below the poverty line) including the recipient families of life protection
committee member Iwata Masami (Professor, Japan Women’s University) told: ‘the
protection norm is set originally on the basis of the average consumption level
of Japanese people, which used to be 60%. It is necessary to review the current
way of verification’. The report, however, does not reflect her advice. It is
imperative to set out a contemporary, realistic criterion which represents a
minimally healthy and cultural level of livelihood.
ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) began bashing, targeting the welfare
system, in the days when the Democratic Party was the government, and
immediately after the LDP’s Abe government regained the state’s power, it brought
down the norms of eligibility.
livelihood assistance benefits decreased by 7.3% on the average in three
occasions from 2013 August to 2015 April, the housing benefits were rearranged
in 2015 July, and the additional winter season benefits were suspended partially
in 2015 November.
livelihood assistance for the elderly (older than 70 years of age) decreases by
\22,950 from \93,850 to \70,900 (24.5%) for a household of a single person in
the current review, if the additional payment for the elderly, which had been
abolished during the Koizumi government days, is added to. A household of
parents and two children will receive \196,010 monthly, a decrease by \24,040
from \220,050 (10.9%).
number of welfare recipient families counts approximately 1.64 million,
covering 2.12 million people as of the end of December last year (announced
March 7, 2018). The elderly households count about 870 thousand of them, which
increases steadily. Many of the senior citizens have a low level pension
payment, or, do not have any pensions. They apply for welfare as they cannot
continue working, the number of which increases but never decreases.
of War and Social Inequality
has been criticized by fingering to a small number of illicit recipients. However,
‘dishonest beneficiaries’ do constitute about 0.5%, not occupying large portion
(which includes cases caused by omission of duty on the side of case workers).
writer of this article has worked as a case worker for 21 years to find that
most of the recipients were those who had no income due to multiple reasons
(they were victims of the wars and capitalist exploitation). We must not
deceived by media propaganda. Let’s fight for improvement of the welfare system
so that every one of people is respected as a human being.