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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 March 19 - 25  > Court unfairly rejects claim for extra benefits for the elderly on welfare
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2014 March 19 - 25 [WELFARE]

Court unfairly rejects claim for extra benefits for the elderly on welfare

March 25, 2014
The Tokyo High Court on March 24 unjustly turned down a claim for the reinstatement of additional welfare benefits to senior citizens receiving public assistance.

The case was one of the lawsuits filed throughout the country by needy elderly people arguing that the abolition of the extra benefit program violates Article 25 of the Japanese Constitution.

The high court ruled that it is unnecessary to take into account the cost required for older persons’ social lives and upheld the lower court decision that the scrapping of the program was not an abuse of the Welfare Minister’s discretionary power.

The high court, however, stopped short of giving a constitutional explanation why the abolition is compatible with the people’s right to live guaranteed by Article 25.

At a press conference held after the ruling, 88-year-old plaintiff Abe Choji who lives in Niigata City indicated he will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Lawyer Oosawa Michihiro said, “The plaintiffs have chronic illnesses. They are socially isolated and are forced to reduce the number of meals and baths. The ruling turns its back on the actual state of the elderly in need.”

When Koizumi Jun’ichiro was prime minister, the government restrained social welfare spending disregarding the spirit of Article 25. Continuing on with the neoliberal policy started with Koizumi’s structural reform, the present administration led by Abe Shinzo is attempting to change the very concept of public social welfare services to one based on individuals’ self-support efforts.
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