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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 May 29 - June 4  > Bill to worsen livelihood protection system rammed through Lower House committee
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2013 May 29 - June 4 [POLITICS]

Bill to worsen livelihood protection system rammed through Lower House committee

June 1, 2013
A bill to discourage the public from applying for benefits from the livelihood protection system passed a Lower House committee on May 31 by the majority vote of conservative parties such as the Liberal Democratic, Komei, and Democratic parties. The Japanese Communist Party opposed it.

The House of Representatives Welfare Committee discussed the bill for only two days. On the second day, the committee rammed it through immediately after hearing opinions from key figures on the issue. JCP Lower House member Takahashi Chizuko said in the debate, “I strongly protest against such helter-skelter steamrolling through of this bill.”

Takahashi criticized the proposal for requiring applicants for welfare benefits to fill in application forms in too much detail, saying that it is intended to legitimate the authorities’ “coastal operations” to reject applications.

The Dietwoman also pointed out that the bill includes a provision for local authorities to conduct an investigation into properties or salaries of applicants’ family members. “Under such a system, people might give up making an application for fear of being a burden to their family members,” she said.

On the evening of the same day, a rally took place in the Diet building in protest against the railroading through of the bill, with the attendance of JCP Chair Shii Kazuo, the party’s Upper House member Tamura Tomoko, and Takahashi.

Shii said, “Worsening the public assistance system is an attack on the whole population and violates the Constitution guaranteeing living rights for the people. Let’s make every effort to reject the proposal in the Upper House.”

A 63-year-old female participant from Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward said, “There are still a lot of people who are living below minimal welfare standards. It is absolutely unacceptable to change the system for the worse.”

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