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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 September 30 - October 6  > DYLJ provides food assistance to students struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic
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2020 September 30 - October 6 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

DYLJ provides food assistance to students struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic

September 30, 2020
With many university students having financial difficulties due to the coronavirus crisis, the Democratic Youth League of Japan (DYLJ) had launched an effort to provide food assistance to these students. So far, 31 DYLJ prefectural bodies engaged in this activity which also provides students with a good opportunity for socialization. In some prefectures, this activity led to petitioning local authorities to improve their support for coronavirus-affected students.

DYLJ members distributed food donated by local residents to students 213 times at 77 universities and colleges across the country including 37 times in Kochi Prefecture. In Osaka, the DYLJ effort was covered by a local TV news program, attracting public attention.

The quasi-food bank projects by DYLJ locals are often staffed by students who learned of the project on social media or who received food from the project beforehand. One of them, a senior at a Tokyo university said, “Due to the campus closure, freshmen are having difficulties making friends and obtaining information concerning support programs through the university and the government. I think I can give some advice to them if they come to our food pantry.”

Students who receive food often tell DYLJ members how difficult their situation is and what troubles they face amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on these testimonies, the DYLJ is making petitions to universities and local governments for assistance.

For example, the DYLJ Saitama Prefectural Committee visited the Saitama City government office and the Education Ministry on August 25 and 27 respectively to call for a compensation program and a counseling service for students who lost their part-time jobs.

In Miyazaki Prefecture, the DYLJ local on September 11 submitted to the prefectural assembly a written request demanding that the prefecture urge the national government to introduce measures to halve university tuition fees and expand the scope of the existing subsidy program for students.

The DYLJ in Hokkaido on September 24 requested the Ebetsu City government to provide financial support to a wider range of students and extend the application period for the support. In response, the city promised to postpone the application deadline by a month.

DYLJ Chair Koyama Minoru on September 22 at a DYLJ Central Committee meeting said, “The coronavirus crisis has driven young people into a corner, but at the same time, it has created a new trend in which more young people stand up for a better society.” Koyama called on DYLJ members to work to demand better government policies together with young people seeking a new society.
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