Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 June 4 - 10  > Osaka drives welfare applicants away using illegal methods: anti-poverty group
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2014 June 4 - 10 [WELFARE]

Osaka drives welfare applicants away using illegal methods: anti-poverty group

June 7, 2014
Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Toru is using various inappropriate and even illegal methods to exclude people in need from the welfare benefit program, revealed a research group consisting of scholars and lawyers across the country.

Hashimoto argues that many people choose to go on welfare instead of working even though they have the ability to work. The lawyer-turned mayor deploys various methods to slash livelihood protection payments. As a result, while 20 major cities increased the number of households on welfare by 2.5% in total, only Osaka decreased the number by 0.1% in July 2013 from the same month the previous year.

The experts’ group, seeking for improvements on public support for the poor, at the end of May published a statement to call for changes in the social security administration in Osaka and made representations to the city office.

As an example of city’s illegal practices, the petition cited a case in which a man in his 30s applied for welfare benefits as he had spent all of his savings after losing his job due to illness. A city official just told him to find a job. Despite ill health, the man sent his resume to six companies and managed to go to an unsuccessful job interview in five days. However, the official turned down his application for public support on the ground that his efforts were insufficient.

The Livelihood Protection Law prohibits local governments from making demands on applicants regarding their ways of living or working. Osaka City, based on guidelines it drew up three years ago, effectively instructs working age applicants (from 15 to 65 years of age) to look for a job without excuses.

Another female applicant in her 30s said she was shocked that a city official suggested that she work in the sex industry, the statement revealed.

Mayor Hashimoto also argues that relatives of a welfare recipient should provide more financial support for the recipient. A 55-year-old woman received an inquiry from the Osaka City office if she can send some money for her father from whom she had not heard since her parents divorced 35 years ago. The city office also asked the same thing to her child who was not even born at the time of the divorce, according to the research group.

Kanazawa University Professor Emeritus Inoue Hideo, who heads the research team, warned that if this situation remains uncorrected, the method of intimidation used by the Osaka City government could spread to other municipalities. The need is to improve the administration of the livelihood protection based on the constitutional rights to live and to pursue happiness, he stressed.
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved