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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 27 - July 3  > 'Household separation' policy in Japan's public assistance hampers children from going on to higher education
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2018 June 27 - July 3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

'Household separation' policy in Japan's public assistance hampers children from going on to higher education

June 27, 2018

The "household separation" measure in Japan's public welfare assistance program has been affecting the educational advancement of more than 60% of college students with families on welfare.

Under the current program, if children in welfare-recipient families enter higher institutions of education, these children will be separated from their family on paper regardless of whether they keep living with their parents or not. Accordingly, the amount of livelihood protection benefits their families receive will decrease.

The Welfare Ministry on June 25 released the results of a survey it had conducted with students of universities, junior colleges, and advanced vocational schools who are from families on welfare regarding the impact of cuts in their parents' welfare benefits associated with the household separation measure.

According to the survey results, 40.4% of respondents said this measure influenced their decision whether to go on to higher education "to a great extent" and 21.5% said "to a degree". The combined 61.9% means that the policy of household separation is a major obstacle to children's access to higher education.

After entering higher education institutions, 57.1% of respondents said they began "spending less on food" and 55% said "forwent new purchases of clothes". In contrast, only 4.7% answered that the impact of the household separation "is not that much".

Out of families on welfare, students going to the next level of education after high school accounted for 35.3%, as of April 1, 2017. Compared to the 73% among all households in Japan, this percentage is very low.

The united opposition party force, including the Japanese Communist Party and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, has submitted a bill to the Diet to improve the living standards of children. They have also been calling for removal of the household separation policy from the government's public welfare assistance program as it hampers children's access to high education.

Past related article:
> Livelihood assistance program obstructs recipient children’s path to higher education [November 16, 2017]
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