Cuts in pension benefits

As the first payment of public pension in this year took place on February 15, many pensioners were surprised to find cutbacks in their pension benefits.

The Social Insurance Agency on this day was flooded with telephone calls from pensioners asking why their pension benefits were cut. It is because of the fact that the amount of income tax deducted from pension benefits was increased as part of the Koizumi Cabinet's plan to force people to shoulder an extra seven trillion yen.

About 5 million out of 20 million pension recipients were subject anew to income tax or forced to pay higher income tax. With this alone, the government will increase its yearly revenues by as much as 240 billion yen in total.

A case of a couple: a husband who worked in a subcontract factory making car parts receives pension benefits of about 186,000 yen a month. He did not have to pay income tax up to now, but about 3,800 yen was deducted from his pension benefits this time as income tax, which amounts to 45,900 yen a year. Even from his wife's pension, who was a licensed cook for a school lunch program, the government withheld income tax. That means this couple will have to pay about 69,000 yen of income tax a year of their pension benefits.

The Koizumi Cabinet's plan to impose heavier taxes on people goes further than that. Up until now, pensioners whose pension benefits are less than 1.25 million yen a year do not have to pay residential tax. The government, however, abolished this system and will target even these low benefit pensioners for the tax.

The aforesaid couple is now active in informing other pensioners of the Koizumi Cabinet's maladministration, telling them "Do not remain in a daze!" (end)

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