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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 10 - 16  > Gov’t plan to cut welfare payments will threaten recipients’ right to live
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2018 January 10 - 16 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov’t plan to cut welfare payments will threaten recipients’ right to live

January 10, 2018
The Abe government plans to slash welfare benefit payments by up to 5%. Recipients are angrily criticizing the plan for infringing on their constitutional right to live in dignity.

The Welfare Ministry in its estimate published last month says that the planned change in the livelihood protection program will reduce the payments to 67% of all welfare recipient households. Concerning single-member recipient households which account for 80% of the total, as many as 78% of them will suffer benefit cuts. In the case of persons aged 65 or over living alone in urban areas, their benefits will go down by 4,000 yen from the current 80,000 yen.

A male welfare recipient in his late 60s lives in Tokyo. After graduating from high school, he moved to the metropolis from his hometown and made a living as a day laborer. However, he now has difficulties working due to illness and receives welfare benefits. He eats only twice a day and buys food once every ten days with maybe 5,000 yen or so to pay for incidentals before the next benefit payment is received. The man said, “I have no idea how I will be able to make ends meet with a reduced payment.”

Prior to the latest cut in welfare benefits, the government already revised the welfare program for the worse, cutting down the amounts of payments for heating allowances and housing assistance allowances.

Agata Yoshihiro, the chair of the All Japan Federation of Organizations for the Protection of Life and Health (Zenseiren) which works to safeguard the well-being and rights of low-income people, criticized the government for trying to make further cuts in welfare benefit payments without assessing the adverse effects caused by previous revisions. He stated that the government should withdraw the reduction plan.

Past related articles:
> Poverty influences children’s educational access [July 20, 2017]
> Why the right to life is considered a fundamental human right? [April 23, 2017]
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