Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 October 21 - 27  > Gov’t should not cut schooling subsidies for needy children
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2015 October 21 - 27 [WELFARE]

Gov’t should not cut schooling subsidies for needy children

October 23, 2015
Akahata editorial (excerpt)

A number of municipalities are reducing educational expense subsidies to needy families with elementary or junior high school students. The Education Ministry recently announced that in fiscal year 2015 at least 27 local governments set stricter income requirements for their subsidy programs covering low-income families’ education costs, such as purchase of stationery and fees for school meals and school trips. This is because the Abe government reduced the amount of livelihood allowance paid to welfare benefit recipients, which is often linked to educational subsidies in many municipalities.

A total of 1.52 million children, or one in six children aged six to fifteen, received the school expense subsidies for families facing economic difficulties in 2013. They included 150,000 children living on welfare assistance and 1.37 million children meeting each municipality’s income requirements. Thus, the issue of eligibility for such subsidies is a matter of grave concern for low-income families.

The Abe government slashed payments of living allowance for welfare benefit recipients in stages between 2013 and 2015. Many municipalities set income requirements of education subsidies based on the national-government-set standards for social security payment. For example, some calculate the former by multiplying the latter by a factor of 1.3. As a result, a lower income standard for welfare benefits means tightened income standards for school subsidies in many cases.

Facing criticism, the Abe government instructed local governments to take measures to cut the link between the welfare benefit payments and the education subsidy program, but neglected to provide budget increases to them.

27 municipalities, including major cities such as Kawasaki, Sagamihara, Osaka, and Fukuoka, have yet to implement any measures, according to the Education Ministry. A citizens group working on welfare benefit issues points out that the ministry uses a statistical trick to lower the number of affected municipalities and that there may be more than 200 municipalities which adopted stricter income standards for educational cost subsidies.

More and more young parents with children are in need of public financial support. The Abe government should take the blame for the decrease in schooling subsidies available for financially struggling families.
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved