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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 March 11 - 17  > JCP Shimizu: plan to pay welfare benefits with prepaid cards only benefits credit card companies
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2015 March 11 - 17 [WELFARE]

JCP Shimizu: plan to pay welfare benefits with prepaid cards only benefits credit card companies

March 11, 2015
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Shimizu Tadashi on March 10 at a Diet meeting demanded that Osaka City give up its plan to provide welfare benefits with prepaid cards as this will only benefit credit card companies.

At a subcommittee meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, Shimizu cited the fact that the Osaka City government uses 100 billion yen to cover the living expenses of people on welfare. He pointed out that the introduction of a prepaid card payment system will enable credit card companies to earn a huge amount in commissions.

The JCP lawmaker referred to the Japan Federation of Bar Associations president’s statement stating that Osaka’s prepaid card plan is illegal because the livelihood protection law stipulates that public assistance for daily necessities should be made in cash.

In addition, regarding Osaka’s plan Shimizu raised various issue of concern: the prepaid cards can only be used at stores and shops that accept VISA cards; the project could fuel discrimination against welfare recipients; and the city government could check the purchase history data of the card holders without obtaining recipients’ consent.

Criticizing Osaka’s plan for taking advantage of the needy, the JCP Dietmember urged the national government to instruct the city to abandon the plan.

Refuting the argument that the prepaid card plan will prevent welfare recipients who are addicted to gambling or alcohol from misusing their benefits, Shimizu stressed that the need is to increase the number of caseworkers to support those people. He added that in Osaka, the number of caseworkers stood at only 67% of the required number needed.
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