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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 September 18 - 24  > Welfare recipients nationwide file complaints against cuts in benefits
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2013 September 18 - 24 [WELFARE]

Welfare recipients nationwide file complaints against cuts in benefits

September 18, 2013
Welfare benefit recipients in 25 prefectures on September 17 filed with their local government offices complaints against cuts in their benefits implemented this summer in line with the central government policy.

The number of recipients who filed complaints reached 7,033 on this day, including 1,287 in Hokkaido, 702 in Tokyo, 454 in Kyoto, and 1,622 in Osaka. It is expected that a total of 7,671 people in all 47 prefectures will join this action by the end of this month.

The Abe Cabinet plans to reduce 67 billion yen from the budget for the livelihood protection program in three years by lowering the welfare assistance standards by 6.7% on average (10% at maximum).

Agata Yoshihiro, chair of the All Japan Federation of Organizations for the Protection of Life and Health (Zenseiren), at a press conference in Tokyo held on the same day stated that they seek to expand this action in order to block further cuts in the welfare benefit payments scheduled for next April.

Lawyer Utsunomiya Kenji, representative of the Anti-Poverty Network, said, “This unprecedentedly large cut in the public assistance allowance was implemented without giving any consideration to the actual conditions of the recipients. It will undermine their right to live guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.”

Inaba Tsuyoshi of the non-profit organization Moyai (Independent Life Support Center) said, “According to our survey, around 60% of welfare recipients had to reduce food expenses and the use of utilities due to cuts in benefits. This may threaten their health and even their lives.”

A 77-year-old man, one of the complainants in Tokyo, said at the filing that his annual benefit was decreased by 30,350 yen. He stated, “The national government introduced the consumption tax “because social welfare programs cost a lot of money.’ Then, why does the welfare payment need to be reduced? If my pension benefit is decreased and the consumption tax rate is raised, I will have even less hope for my future.”
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