Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 April 16 - 22  > Public opinion stops gov’t welfare program from shutting out the needy
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2014 April 16 - 22 [WELFARE]

Public opinion stops gov’t welfare program from shutting out the needy

April 20, 2014
Public opinion against the unfriendly public assistance program has succeeded in having the government drastically revise its initial plan to tighten requirements for the program.

The welfare ministry on April 18 issued a ministerial ordinance, which will be the operational guidelines for the program, substantially in line with public comments.

The ordinance draft published in late February was to restrict needy people’s access to the livelihood protection system. Most of the 1,166 public comments the ministry received regarding its initial draft expressed concern to that effect.

The draft at first was to limit oral applications for welfare benefits only in “exceptional cases” such as cases of people who have a writing problem for physical reasons. The newly issued ordinance, however, drops the restriction to “exceptional cases” and accepts oral applications as they were before.

The draft intended to inform relatives of a welfare applicant of the start of welfare payments “in principle” as a way to strengthen obligations of family support. After consideration of the public comments, the revised ordinance changes the terms to “in extremely limited cases”.

After the ministry released the ordinance draft, Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Takahashi Chizuko criticized it as running counter to the government view expressed before the Diet that the duty of family support is “not a prerequisite” for public assistance. Pointed out with this fact, Welfare Minister Tamura Norihisa said that the ministry will deal with the matter based on public feedback.

An organization of lawyers and welfare recipients working to help improve the country’s welfare services made a comment, “It is extremely exceptional for the administrative organ to drastically modify its ordinance draft after taking into account public comments. This shows that politics can no longer ignore the voices we are continuing to raise.”

Past related article:
> Welfare Ministry should not discourage welfare payment applicants [March 18, 2014]
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved