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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 April 30 - May 13  > Plaintiffs, lawyers, supporters resolve victory in ‘right to life’ lawsuits
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2008 April 30 - May 13 [WELFARE]

Plaintiffs, lawyers, supporters resolve victory in ‘right to life’ lawsuits

May 11& 12, 2008
An association of plaintiffs, lawyers, and supporters of the “lawsuits over the right to life,” who are demanding that welfare benefits once denied to people in need be restored so that they can live with dignity, held its general meeting in Tokyo on May 10.

They are claiming that cutbacks or abolition of extra welfare benefits for needy senior citizens and single-parent families are a violation of Article 25 of the Constitution stating, “All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living.”

A total of 115 people filed lawsuits in ten district courts throughout Japan.

At the meeting, they discussed their determination to win in all these lawsuits and pave the way for overcoming poverty.

The first ruling will be issued at the Tokyo District Court on June 26, followed by the Hiroshima Hiroshima District Court in September.

A supporter in the Kyoto suit quoted an 82-year-old plaintiff as saying, “I want a society in which every elderly citizen can live with smiles on their face. This is why I decided to join the plaintiffs’ group as the last responsible duty of my life.” The supporter added, “This is our collective feeling.”

A 44-year-old plaintiff in the Sapporo suit complained that as soon as her son enrolled in high school, she was denied the extra benefits for single-parent families. Since then, she said, she has endured hardships and is afraid that she cannot afford to pay for her son to go on the school trip.

She said, “I don’t think I’m not asking too much. I just want to live in peace with my son. Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees ‘the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living.’ I want the right to life returned to us.”

The government had been providing the extra welfare benefits to the elderly people in need but it abolished the program in 2006 and cut the extra benefits provided for single-parent families. The government is planning to abolish this program in 2009. - Akahata, May 11& 12, 2008
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