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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 14 - 20  > Elderly livelihood protection benefits recipients sue demanding minimum protection of healthy and cultured living
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2007 February 14 - 20 [WELFARE]

Elderly livelihood protection benefits recipients sue demanding minimum protection of healthy and cultured living

February 15, 2007
Thirteen senior citizens who receive livelihood protection benefits in Tokyo on February 14 filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court, demanding that welfare offices reinstate the additional benefit for the elderly in the livelihood protection program.

Plaintiffs argue that the national government’s abolition of the additional benefit for recipients 70 years or older has made them unable to maintain “the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living” as guaranteed in Article 25 of the Constitution, making the measure illegal and unconstitutional.

In a rally held in front of the district court earlier in the day, the plaintiffs said, “We want this case to be a milestone for the right to the minimum standards of living to take root in Japan.”

That day marked the 43rd anniversary of Asahi Shigeru’s death. Asahi filed a suit from his sickbed in 1957 to question what the livelihood protection program is for. The lawsuit became widely known and contributed to the betterment of the programs.

Legal actions calling for the cancellation of the abolition of additional benefits for elderly people and single-parent families have already been heard in courts in Kyoto, Akita, Hiroshima, Niigata, and Fukuoka prefectures along with Tokyo. Regarded as fights taking over from Asahi’s suit, these lawsuits are gaining public support across the country.

The amount of the additional benefit is about 18,000 yen in large cities. About 314,000 people received the additional benefit in FY 2005. Claiming that there is no reason to provide the additional benefit, the government completely abolished this system in FY 2006.
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