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¡Table of Contents
What Is Public Assitance?
Literature (Various Writings)
Theme Related Links
Newspaper Articles etc.
¡What Is Public Assistance?
Explanation about Public Assistance in Japan
(Excerpt from Mukuno Michiko & Tanaka Kotaro 2015 Hajimete no shakaihosho [dai12ban] ? fukushi wo manabu hito he [First social security [12th edition] ? for people learning about welfare
Foreigners and Public Assistance
Public assistance is a system intended to protect Japanese citizensf right to live as stipulated in article 25 of Japanfs constitution. It therefore does not apply to foreign citizens even if they are living in Japan. Through a notice issued by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, however, foreigners are able to receive assistance based on the established handling of implementation of public assistance for Japanese citizens. In other words, while foreigners have no right to assistance under the law, in practice they are able to receive the same sort of assistance as Japanese citizens (Foreigners who are visiting the country as tourists or those who are in Japan illegally are not eligible).
Eligibility and Resources
The national government takes responsibility for dealing with all individuals whose right to live is not secured by any other system and ensures that this right is protected. This gprinciple of national responsibility for minimum public assistanceh is the fundamental principle of public assistance. And since public assistance is the system that ultimately guarantees a minimum standard of living, it is considered the gfinal net,h and applies to all citizens. cif you are really having trouble getting by, you can receive public assistance. Of course, individuals are not refused assistance on the basis of religious belief, gender, or social position. This is called the gprinciple of nondiscriminatory equality.h In order for assistance to be received with nondiscriminatory equality, it would not do for the resources it requires to come from insurance fees or be the responsibility of its users, because this would mean some people would be unable to receive it. All of the resources must therefore come out of the public purse, or, in other words, from taxes. The national government bares 3/4 of the cost, with the remaining 1/4 being born by the local government that carries out the provision of public assistance.
Requirements for Provision
The provision of public assistance is only made when the person in question is unable to obtain a minimum standard of living even when they make use of all of their own assets and abilities, request assistance from anyone with a duty to help them under civil law (their spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, etc.,) and receive whatever provision is possible from other systems such as pensions. This is called the gprinciple of supplementarity of assistance.h
The amount of money required for a minimum standard of living is determined by assistance standards. A detailed determination is made involving factors such as the person in questionfs age, the area in which they live, how many people they live with, and whether or not they are going to school, have an illness, or own their own home. As the gfinal net,h public assistance must meet whatever needs fall through the cracks of other systems. It therefore cannot deal with various individuals facing different circumstances in a fixed, uniform manner. Nevertheless, to leave the determination of what is needed for a personfs minimum standard of living up to the way of thinking of the person in charge on a case-by-case basis would lead to differences in treatment and unfairness. Detailed standards are therefore established in order to accommodate both objectivity and responses to individuality. These must correspond to the needs of each individual utilizing public assistance and not merely calculate minimum living expenses, and must therefore not be implemented uniformly or mechanically. For example, even for people of the same age, the type, scope, and method of assistance they receive may differ depending on factors such as whether or not they have a disability or illness or whether or not they are in a situation in which it is actually possible for them to work. This is called the gprinciple of coping with needs.h cas a rule assistance standards are calculated on a per-household basis. A ghouseholdh is a group of people who combine their income and living expenses, and can normally be thought of as equivalent to a gfamily.h ceven in the case of public assistance, the amount required for a minimum standard of living as a household is calculated, and whether or not the individuals in question have sufficient income as a household to maintain that standard of living is then determined. This is called the gprinciple of the household unit.h
Level of Provision
Provision of public assistance can be received in cases where even if the person in question makes use of all of their resources and abilities, and all other forms of assistance and provision, the income they obtain is not able to satisfy the amount calculated based on established basic assistance standards. The extent of provision that can be received is the amount lacking, that is, the difference between the standards and the income of the person in question. This is called the gprinciple of standards and degree.h In this way, assistance standards are standards that determine the necessity of provision, and at the same time they are also standards that calculate the amount to be disbursed. Along with assistance standards, income is another important factor in determining whether provision is necessary and in what amount. An examination used to accurately ascertain the person in questionfs resources and income is called a gmeans test,h and is one of the characteristics of public assistance not found in other forms of social assistance.
Contents of Assistance Provided
There are eight categories in the provision of public assistance: livelihood assistance, education assistance, medical assistance, long-term care assistance, maternity assistance, occupational assistance, and funeral assistance. With the exception of medical assistance and long-term care assistance, as a rule all assistance is provided through the disbursement of money. Livelihood assistance money is disbursed to the head of the household on a monthly basis. In the case of disbursement of money, the people receiving it are able to decide for themselves (self-determine) how to spend the allotted amount (what goods and services to buy and where to buy them)...When it comes to medical and long-term care assistance, however, even members of the general public [citizens not receiving public assistance] are provided these services in kind through medical and nursing insurance, and since if these forms of assistance were provided in money it would be a large amount and there would be a risk of people using it for something else and not being able to receive proper medical or long-term care, these forms of assistance are provided in kind. Provision occurs at medical or long-term care facilities designated by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare or prefectural governors, and the cost is then paid to these facilities by the authority implementing the public assistance. Even in the case of other forms of assistance such as livelihood assistance, in cases in which the aims of assistance cannot be achieved through the disbursement of money, provision in kind at facilities such as relief centers and public assistance centers is also implemented on an exceptional basis.
Welfare offices are the bodies that handle the administration of public assistancec[administering] public assistance is a task entrusted to local governments that establish welfare offices by the national government (part of gStatutory Entrusted Affairsh). It is the national governmentfs responsibility to guarantee a minimum standard of living to those who are having difficulty living, but it would be very difficult for the national government to directly carry out the administration of examining the living conditions of each individual, determining what is needed, and distributing assistance. This can indeed be more appropriately and efficiently undertaken by local governments that are closer to citizens. Moreover, since the implementation of most other social security measures such as medical care, long-term care, and measures addressing people with disabilities is the job of local governments, in order to effectively utilize these measures to guarantee the minimum standard of living of those receiving assistance and promote their independence it is more effective if they are all carried out in a closely integrated manner by local governments. cas a rule, the provision of public assistance is carried out on the basis of an application made by the person in question. This is called the gprinciple of application [for] assistance.h This makes it clear that claiming assistance when needed is a citizenfs right. cwhen a person seeks to receive public assistance they consult with a case worker at a welfare office and make an application. Examining an applicantfs resources and determining whether or not assistance is required c and encouraging independence are also part of the case workerfs job.
Encouraging Independence and Supporting the Independence of People Living in Poverty
The purpose of public assistance is not only to support a minimum standard of living for people living in poverty, but also to secure their independence. Most people receiving assistance are facing a variety of problems, and these problems are not solved simply by giving them money. This kind of support has been provided by case workers, but the number of people receiving assistance and the percentage of the population receiving assistance have both increased from their 1995 baselinescThere has been a particularly rapid increase in recipients who are neither elderly, members of single-mother families, nor people with an illness/disability, and the method of support for independence used has no longer worked well. As a result, in 2013 the Public Assistance Act was revised, and it was decided that beginning in April of 2015 the local governments that establish welfare centers would carry out assistance recipient employment support initiatives to consult with recipients and provide them with necessary information/advice related to employment support. From July of 2014, it was also decided to provide an employment independence benefit to people who no longer require assistance because they have found a stable job. There are also people who are not currently receiving public assistance but are facing the same kind of problems and living in poverty, and if they are left as they are there is a high probability that they will eventually receive public assistance of some kind. It is necessary to provide support to solve these peoplefs problems as early as possible. A new People Living in Poverty Support Act was passed to address such individuals, and it was decided that beginning in April of 2015 the local governments that establish welfare centers would conduct general counseling concerning independence, including employment support, and, in cases where it is needed to allow for employment, provide a fixed-term housing security benefit. It also became possible for them to provide training to prepare people who cannot find jobs for employment, temporary clothing/food/shelter for homeless people, financial counseling for people who have gone into debt through taking out consumer loans or other such behaviors, and educational support so that children who have grown up in families living in poverty will not end up in the same situation as adults. The cost of public assistance is born by the national government and by the local governments who administer it, with the ratio depending on the scheme in question. For general counseling and housing security benefits, 3/4 is paid by the national government and 1/4 by the administering local government, while in other cases the ratio paid by the national government is smaller, either 2/3 or 1/2. Certification of so-called gintermediate employment schemesh for people who have difficulty working in ordinary society is also conducted by entities such as prefectural governorfs offices. This is done to ensure that things like impoverished people being made to work for unfairly low wages do not occur. Being certified also allows businesses to receive preferential tax treatment.
Public Assistance Act
Medical Assistance and Medical Service Fee (Source: The Kyoto Shimbun
@Public Assistance Act covers medical expences (such as medical examination, drugs and surgeries) used by the recipients with public assistance
(three-fourth is covered by the country and one-fourth is covered by the local government). When they receive assistance, they apply for "medical coupons"
at the welfare office. After receiving the coupons, they hand in the coupons to the specified medical institutions and receive medical examinations.
@On the other hand, the medical institutions make receipts based on the contents of the medical examinations. Then the institutions charge Social Insurance Medical Payment Fund
for the services used by the recipients with public assistance. After checking the receipts by Social Insurance Medical Payment Fund etc., the medical institutions receive the
medical service fees.
¡Literature (Various Writings)
MIWA Yoshiko November 2015 "Making Public Assistance Function in the Japanese Society: Reconsidering Public Assistance through 'Empowerment' and 'Community'"
UCHIMURA et.al. March 1, 2015 "Permanent employment or public assistance may increase tuberculosis survival among working-age patients in Japan," The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
March 11, 2015 "Changes in Number of People Receiving Welfare (Public Assistance) in Japan"
March 10, 2015 "Changes in Welfare (Public Assistance) Amount in Japan, 1986-2012 "
MIWA Yoshiko January 16, 2015 "Misconduct-Based Public Policy About Public Assistance Benefits in Japan,"
AAAS 2015 Annual Meeting
NAKATA Daigo December 13, 2014 "
Who are protected in the Public Assistance Act? : Empirical Evidence from JSTAR "
October 9, 2014 "
"The Future of the Public Assistance Reform in Japan: Workfare vs. Basic Income?,"
VANDERBORGHT Yannick & YAMAMORI Toru (Eds.) Basic Income in Japan: Prospects for A Radical Idea in A Transforming Welfare State
, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 83-99.
NGO Network for the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination Japan (ERD Net) July 24, 2014 "Additional Report: Concerning the Issues of
Non-recognition of the Right to Public Assistance of Non-citizens,
including Permanent Residents (Nationality Clause) and
Hate Speech in relation to Article 4-(a) and (b) of the ICERD"
UZUKI Yuka December 2013 "Public Financial Assistance for Formal Education in Japan"
MIWA Yoshiko May 17, 2013 "Japanese public assistance is going to be killed"
September 2012 "
The Future of Public Assistance Reform in Japan:
Workfare vs. Basic Income? ", 14th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network, Munich, Germany
June 15, 2012 "People should receive public assistance even if their family has money"
INABA Miyuki June 2011 "Increasing Poverty in Japan: Social Policy and Public Assistance Program", Asian Social Work and Policy Review
MICHINAKA Ryu November 10, 2009 Public Assistance and Japanese Style Working Poor
(in Japanese), Minerva Shobo, 199p. ISBN-10: 462305277X ISBN-13: 978-4623052776 2310yen [amazon]
, BITO Hiroki & OKAMOTO Atsushi March 10, 2009 The Right to Live
(in Japanese), Doseisha, 141p. ISBN-10:4886214789 ISBN-13:978-4886214782 1470yen [amazon]
The Sankei Shimbun Osaka Shakaibu August 29, 2008 Public Assistance Is in Danger: How Is the Last Safety Net Now?
(in Japanese), Fuyosha, 257p. ISBN-10: 4594057454 ISBN-13: 978-4594057459 798yen [amazon]
OYAMA Norihiro January 16, 2008 Public Assistance vs Working Poor
(in Japanese), PHP Kenkyujyo, 251p. ISBN-10: 4569697135 ISBN-13: 978-4569697130 700yen + tax [amazon]
SUGIMURA Hiroshi October 24, 2007 Gap, Poverty and Public Assistance
(in Japanese), Akashi Shoten, 230p. ISBN-10: 4750326593 ISBN-13: 978-4750326597 1800yen + tax [amazon]
IWATA Masami May 2007 Modern Poverty: Working Poor/Homeless/Public Assistance
(in Japanese), Chikuma Shobo, 221p. ISBN-10: 4480063625 ISBN-13: 978-4480063625 700yen + tax [amazon]
ABE Aya K. February 2007 "Social Security System and the Poor in Japan ," International Symposium on Social Policy in Asia
SCHAEDE Ulrike & NEMOTO Kuniaki 2006 "Poverty and Politics: Evaluating Public Assistance in Japan," Paper prepared for the 2006 Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association in San Diego
GARON Sheldon 2002 "Japanese Policies Towards Poverty and Public Assistance
A Historical Perspective," World Bank Institute
TAIRA Koji November 1967 "Public Assistance in Japan: Development and Trends," The Journal of Asian Studies
East Asia Disability Studies Forum 2015
Financial Assitance (Japan Association for Refugees)
Handbook of Health and Welfare Statistics 2014 (Part 3 Social welfare/Chapter 1 Public Assistance)
Indicators - Wellbeing / Wealth Gap (Japan for Sustainability)
Japan--Health Care and Social Welfare
Japan Federation of Bar Associations January 18, 2013 "Report of JFBA Regarding the Third Periodic Report by the Government of Japan under Articles 16 and 17 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights"
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
Public Assistance / Social Security in Japan March 2000
Statement Calling for Full Payment by the State of Welfare Benefits for Disaster Victims in Affected Areas and for Holding Democratic Discussions Regarding Reform of the Public Assistance System (Japan Federation of Bar Associations)
Social Security in Japan 2014 (National Institute of Population and Social Security Research)
Social Security in Japan: Toward a Japanese Model of the Welfare State (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan)
"Statistical Handbook of Japan 2009" by Statistics Bureau, Japan
Welfare in Japan (Wikipedia)
¡Newspaper Articles etc.
November 21, 2015 "Fertility Aid, Loans for Single Parents Eyed to Revive Japanese Society" (The Japan Times
November 13, 2015 "Tax Commission Proposes Drastic Income Tax Reforms to Support the Poor" (The Japan Times
November 12, 2015 "Food Relief Groups Plan Nationwide Network to Address Growing Poverty" (The Japan Times
November 7, 2015 "No Relief in Sight for Japanfs Poor Single-parent Families" (The Japan Times
October 24, 2015 "Japanfs Social Security Outlays Hit Record ?110 Trillion in FY 2013" (The Japan Times
October 23, 2015 "Prefectures Begin Mailing 12-digit My Number IDs" (The Japan Times
October 22, 2015 "Efforts Increasing to Keep Japanfs Single-parent Kids off Streets" (The Japan Times
August 5, 2015 "Number of Households on Welfare in Japan Hit New Record High in May" (The Japan Times
July 1, 2015 "Number of Households on Welfare in Japan Fell in April" (The Japan Times
June 3, 2015 "Number of Welfare Recipients in Japan Hits Record High" (The Japan Times
April 20, 2015 "New Assistance for the Needy" (The Japan Times
March 9, 2015 "Kawasaki Murder Highlights Poor Support for Single Parents" (The Japan Times
January 5, 2015 "Editorial: Japan must allow for family diversity, respect individual values" (The Mainichi
December 11, 2014 "Welfare Cuts? Abe Wonft Say It" (The Japan Times
December 5, 2014 "Keep Safety Nets in Place" (The Japan Times
October 17, 2014 "Ruling Denying Welfare for Foreign Residents Finds Homegrown, Biased Support" (The Japan Times
October 16, 2014 "Naturalize or Get out, Party Tells Jobless Foreigners" (The Japan Times
August 26, 2014 "Conservative Party to Submit Bill Halting Welfare for Needy Foreigners" (The Japan Times
July 28, 2014 "590 Filipinas not Covered by FTA Came to Japan to Work as Caregivers" (The Japan Times
July 25, 2014 "A Closer Look at the Supreme Courtfs Welfare Benefits Ruling" (The Japan Times
July 25, 2014 "Ruling Hinged on Assistance Law Revamp: Summary" (The Japan Times
July 23, 2014 "Japanese Supreme Court Rules Against Foreign Residents on Welfare" (The Diplomat
July 19, 2014 "Supreme Court Rules Permanent Residents Ineligible for Public Assistance" (The Asahi Shimbun
July 19, 2014 "Welfare Ruling Stuns Foreigners" (The Japan Times
July 18, 2014 "Foreign Residents Canft Claim Welfare Benefits: Supreme Court" (The Japan Times
May 18, 2014 "Japanfs Working Poor Left behind by eAbenomicsf" (The Japan Times
April 12, 2014 "Loss of after-school Program in Osaka Will Hurt Poor Kids" (The Japan Times
February 3, 2014 "Uphold Basic Living Standards" (The Japan Times
December 7, 2013 "Adversely-revisted Public Assistant Law Enacted" (Japan Press Weekly
December 5, 2013 "Asylum Seekers Find Help at JAR" (The Japan Times
November 23, 2013 "On yer bike" (The Economist
November 9, 2013 "eSpecialnessf Shrouds Stories of Minorities" (The Japan Times
October 8, 2013 "Saitama Program Assists Pupils Falling through Cracks" (The Japan Times
October 2, 2013 "Welfare Rolls Rise to Record Level" (The Japan Times
August 9, 2013 "Hibakusha Ruling Wonft Be Appealed" (The Japan Times
July 24, 2013 "Abe Seen Set to Squeeze the Poor" (The Japan Times
July 17, 2013 "Silver Shoplifters Steal Food as Abe Cuts Welfare to Trim Debt" (The Japan Times
July 3, 2013 "Mass Lawsuits Being Prepared against Welfare Benefit Cuts" (The Japan Times
May 25, 2013 "Bill Threatens the Lives of the Poor" (The Japan Times
May 18, 2013 "Bill Would Get Tough on Welfare Cheats" (The Japan Times
March 2, 2013 "Mr. Abefs Plan for Japan" (The Japan Times
February 4, 2013 "Suicide Rate in Decline" (The Japan Times
February 1, 2013 "Budget Shows Old LDP Stripes" (The Japan Times
January 28, 2013 "Welfare Payments to Be Slashed 74 Billion Yen to Root out the Comfortably Poor" (The Japan Times
January 23, 2013 "Ensure Sufficient Welfare Support" (The Japan Times
October 21, 2012 "Why the Welfare Discrimination?" (The Japan Times
September 4, 2012 "Who Can Guarantee You'll Get Your Dream Apartment?" (The Japan Times
July 18, 2012 "Disabled Fear Loss of Independence" (The Japan Times
June 14, 2012 "Bottom Line of Welfare" (The Japan Times
June 14, 2012 "2.1 Million People Are on Government Welfare, Says Japan" (The Japan Daily Press
June 10, 2012 "The Public Shame of Crying Poor" (The Japan Times
April 3, 2012 "Welfare Cuts Ruling Reversed" (The Japan Times
March 14, 2012 "Loss of Bonds a Growing Problem" (The Japan Times
November 17, 2011 "High Court Rules Foreigners Are Eligible for Welfare Benefits" (The Japan Times
July 5, 2011 "Welfare Rise: Sign of Economic, Aging times" (The Japan Times
October 10, 2010 "Rising Racket Hoodwinks the Have-nots" (The Japan Times
May 25, 2010 "National Health Insurance a Basic Universal Safety Net" (The Japan Times
December 9, 2009 "Households on Welfare Surge" (The Japan Times
October 19, 2009 "One Step toward Reality Check of Poverty Rate and Analysis of its Details: Causative Factors and Processes"
(The Kyoto Shimbun
August 6, 2009 "Asylum-seekers Facing Destitution: Long Wait for Processing, Lack of Funds Forcing Many Refugees into Grim Survival Game" (The Japan Times
July 23, 2009 "Crisis Management Lacking: Experts" (The Japan Times
July 2, 2009 "Single Moms Fight for Kids' Futures: End of Government Aid Makes it even Harder to Give Offspring Access to Higher Education" (The Japan Times
June 27, 2009 "Bill to Revive Single-parent Aid Scores Futile Win" (The Japan Times
June 12, 2009 "From Despair to Somewhere: Kazuhiro Soda's latest film is a fascinating insight into a Japanese mental-health clinic" (The Japan Times
May 9, 2009 "Unaccredited Schools for Foreign Kids may Get Subsidies under Bill" (The Japan Times
April 26, 2009 "Media Silence on First Lady's School Visit Shows Japan's Education Gap" (The Japan Times
March 25, 2009 "Wrestling with Job Losses as the Recession Deepens" (The Japan Times
March 22, 2009 "Sharp Cuts in Recruitment Seen in 2010" (The Japan Times
March 21, 2009 "Activist Views Homeless in Realistic Light" (The Japan Times
December 3, 2008 "Temps in Manufacturing Feel Full Brunt of Slump" (The Japan Times
December 16, 2007 "Japan Stands Back as the Poor Get Poorer" (The Japan Times
November 29, 2007 "New Rules, Basic Pay Labor Laws Passed; Better Terms Hoped" (The Japan Times
October 1, 2007 "'Doing Something' may Pose Perils during a Credit Crunch" (The Japan Times
September 2, 2007 "You have to Appear to Be a Complete Loser in Japan to Get Benefits" (The Japan Times
August 10, 2006 "As the Rich Get Richer, Local Leaders See Households Fall by the Wayside" (The Japan Times
August 6, 2006 "Welfare's not Fair when it Comes to Single Mothers" (The Japan Times
November 18, 2003 "Public Assistance Helps Stem Bankruptcy Rate" (The Japan Times
September 1, 2003 "Merger of Opposition Parties may Bring Grand Reform Era" (The Japan Times
July 10, 2003 "Homeless Shelters' Presence, Profits Irk Neighbors" (The Japan Times
February 22, 2003 "Needy Find Welfare Elusive, Demeaning: Screening Shortcomings, Social Attitudes Keep Safety Net at a Distance (The Japan Times
May 15, 1998 "Diet Passes Disaster Relief Bill" (The Japan Times
April 22, 1998 "Disaster Aid Bill Clears First Hurdle" (The Japan Times
August 25, 1997 "Homeless Turn down Public Assistance" (The Japan Times
September 10, 1996 "Welfare as Japan Knows It: A Family Affair" (The New York Times
UP:September 18, 2009 REV:September 24, 2009/October 30, 2009/November 6, 2009/November 9, 2009/November 10, 2009/November 13, 2009/November 20, 2009/September 25, 2012/October 11, 2012/June 17, 2013/November 11, 2013/November 19, 2015/November 26, 2015
Prepared by KATAOKA Minoru