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JCP in Diet underlines hardships facing 100,500 single-mothers

The Japanese Communist Party in the Diet demanded that "additional welfare benefits to single-mother families" be restored.

At a House of Representatives Health, Labor and Welfare Committee meeting on April 1, JCP representative Takahashi Chizuko pointed out that the abolition of the program of extra welfare benefits from April 1 will adversely affect 100,500 single-mother households.

The program has given additional benefits to low-income single mother households on welfare assistance if they have children under 18.

Takahashi said, "Single-mothers throughout the country, who are always striving to make ends meet by cutting their expenditures to the bone, will be battered by the abolition of the additional benefit program."

The government has said that "job assistance benefits" will be instituted in place of the abolished program of additional welfare benefits for single mother households.

However, Takahashi said, the "job assistance benefits" will not be applied to single mothers who are not working due to health problems, including mental or physical disabilities, or due to their being in the middle of infant-rearing period.

An official of the Welfare Ministry Social Welfare Bureau admitted that about 30,000 households will be forced out of the "job assistance benefits".

Takahashi said, "How merciless it is for the government to abandon these households. They are in need of not only job assistance but also financial support in their everyday lives."

Health and Welfare Minister Masuzoe Yoichi in reply justified the abolition of the additional benefits on the grounds that it is necessary to maintain the equity between single mother households in general and those households with children under 18.

- Akahata, April 2, 2009

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