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No more death from poverty: national rally held in Kitakyushu


   Calling for the eradication of death from poverty, a national rally was held on October 13 in Kitakyushu City.


   Lawyers, scholars, and residents agreed to launch a national movement demanding that the government properly manage the livelihood protection administration and take active measures to assist heavily indebted people.


   In Kitakyushu City, with a population of one million, residents living alone have recently died from hunger or killed themselves due to the city government policy of turning down their applications for livelihood protection assistance.


   In the rally, a resident talked about his experience in which he considered committing suicide because of the city government rejection of his application for livelihood protection, but with the help of rally organizers he was able to receive benefits and continue to live. gI ask governments, please help the needy,h he said.


   Lawyer Utsunomiya Kenji reported that among the more than 30,000 suicides that occur every year in Japan, 7,000 are attributable to economic hardship. Concerning deaths from hunger in Kitakyushu City, he said, gThe city governmentfs proper response would have saved those lives.h


   A citizenfs group supporting homeless people in the city reported that every year about ten homeless people die on the streets but that the number already reached ten in the first half of this year alone.


   Japanese Communist Party House of Councilors member Nihi Sohei in his greetings said, gOur efforts have forced national and local governments to admit that residentsf right to apply for livelihood protection assistance should be respected. Let us make further efforts to have the governments fulfill their responsibility to sustain the constitutionally guaranteed minimum standard of living.h                                                                         - Akahata, October 14, 2007


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