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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 June 1 - 7  > Gov’t promises more education support for Ainu
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2011 June 1 - 7 [POLITICS]

Gov’t promises more education support for Ainu

June 7, 2011
A Japanese Communist Party representative drew a positive response from a government spokesman promising to strengthen assistance in education for the Ainu, an indigenous people who mainly live in northern Japan from Hokkaido to the Chishima Islands.

At an Upper House Audit Committee meeting on June 6, Hokkaido-born JCP lawmaker Kami Tomoko said that many Ainu people are low-income earners and are not entitled to pension benefits, and that the percentage of Ainu families receiving public assistance is twice as high as the national average and the percentage of Ainu going to university is only about 20 percent.

Kami demanded that the government eliminate poverty, provide a special allowance to the elders who recite Ainu history, and improve scholarship programs for Ainu children.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio in response promised that the government will improve educational support for Ainu.

Kami also proposed that the government set a standard for recognition of the Ainu people in an unbiased way in order to fairly grant individual welfare benefits.

Edano answered, “We will consider ways to recognize the Ainu based on objectivity and transparency.”

Furthermore, Kami emphasized the need to arrange occupations for them so that the Ainu people who have learned Ainu culture and tradition in the project the Cultural Affairs Agency launched in 2008 can use their skills and ability in a productive manner with remuneration.

Edano responded, “We will consider expanding job fields, including folk crafts, tourism, and academic studies, in order to enable them to utilize what they learned in the project.”

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