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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 December 23 - 2021 January 5  > Hardships heard in life-counseling action conveyed to gov't
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2020 December 23 - 2021 January 5 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Hardships heard in life-counseling action conveyed to gov't

December 23, 2020
Organizers of a life-counseling action held in Tokyo's Hibiya Park submitted a petition to the government on December 22, demanding that wrongful dismissals and unreasonable termination of job contracts be regulated, places to live be ensured, and requirements for public assistance be eased.

The organizers including trade unions, civic groups, and welfare organizations provided the counseling service in Hibiya Park on December 19 in order to connect people in need to public assistance programs. In parallel with this action, free telephone consultations also took place at many locations in Japan. They provided consultations to 52 people in the park and 522 over the phone. Based on information obtained in these consultations, they demanded that the government take swift measures. Free telephone counseling will be available between December 31, 2020 and January 3, 2021 as all administrative services are closed and job offers stop during the holidays.

After submitting the petition, lawyer Inomata Tadashi held a press conference and said that forcible retirements are increasing and that many municipalities reject applications for public assistance. He warned of growing instability in employment/living conditions primarily among non-regular workers.

Severe situations described in the consultations include: "I live with my child with a disability and a jobless mom in bad health. I'm worried we might be found dead someday. I once called a city office for assistance but they didn't help us" (woman in single-mother family, Saitama Pref.); "Until recently I was a food deliverer but quit for health reasons. The income I received in November was only 10,000 yen. I don't want to apply for public assistance because the municipality will make inquiries to my relatives who I've been out of touch with for more than ten years to see if they can support me" (man in his 30s, single, Saitama Pref,); "I haven't worked since spring and have no savings at all. I have next to nothing to eat. I went to the municipal office to apply for welfare benefits, but I was told, ' You are not the only one who is suffering. There are many night-time jobs with good pay if you are not picky.' Then I was told to leave" (woman in her 40s, parttime waitress, Osaka Pref.); "I was a taxi driver but I had to quit the job because I was told by the doctor to stop working since the cancer spread to my brain. The taxi company told me to leave the dormitory by the end of January 2021. I don't know what to do and am very worried what will happen to me after February" (man in his 50s, Aichi Pref.).

Past related article:
> Action to connect needy to public help takes place in a Tokyo park [December 20, 2020]
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