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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 24 - 30  > Court dismisses welfare recipients’ demand to maintain minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living
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2020 June 24 - 30 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Court dismisses welfare recipients’ demand to maintain minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living

June 26, 2020

The Nagoya District Court on June 25 turned its back on the plaintiffs’ demand pertaining to a minimum standard of living, issuing a ruling in favor of cuts in welfare benefits by the government.

The lawsuit was filed in 2014 and 2016 by the total of 21 plaintiffs (three died before the ruling) who live in Aichi Prefecture. This is the first ruling among similar lawsuits being fought across the nation.

The Abe government in 2013 implemented its policy of slashing welfare payments under the pretext of the need to keep a balance between households on welfare and low-income households and to adjust for falling prices. Since then, the level of welfare payments has been lowered three times by 6.5% on average or up to 10%.

Seeking to win the withdrawal of the cuts in social security benefits, more than 1,000 welfare recipients began waging legal battles in 29 district courts, including in Nagoya. In their court battles, they claim that the government measure to impose benefits cuts on welfare recipients goes counter to Article 25 of the Constitution requiring the government to ensure “a minimum standard of wholesome and cultured living” for all people.

At a rally held in Nagoya City after the district court ruling, the plaintiffs’ group and their legal team expressed their intent to appeal to a higher court. A female plaintiff said in tears, “I’m really disappointed about the court ruling. I can’t cut back on my food expenses any further. It seems to me that with the benefits cut policy, the government intends to push welfare recipients to give up on relying on public assistance.”

In reaction to the Nagoya court ruling, the All Japan Federation of Organizations for the Protection of Life and Health (Zenseiren) issued a statement criticizing the court for making such an unjust decision. Pointing out that people on welfare are not able to afford necessities, such as food and medical care due to continuous cuts in welfare benefits, Zenseiren expressed its determination to increase public support for their demand for restoring the previous level of welfare payments.

Past related articles:
> Gov’t plan to cut welfare payments will threaten recipients’ right to live [January 10, 2018]
> Welfare benefits recipients barely able to survive [January 25 and 27, 2013]
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