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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 January 18 - 24  > Odawara City employees insult welfare recipients
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2017 January 18 - 24 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Odawara City employees insult welfare recipients

January 19 & 24, 2017
A total of 64 employees of the Odawara City government, Kanagawa Prefecture, who are in charge of public livelihood assistance, have been wearing jackets printed with English phrases such as “Don’t make light of welfare!” and “Illegitimate recipients are dregs of society!” when providing counselling services or visiting welfare recipients at their homes.

According to the city authority, the jackets were designed ten years ago and the 64 workers bought them with their own money.

The following is what is printed on the back of the jackets: We are “the justice” and must be just, so we have to work for Odawara. Finding injustice, we chase them and punish injustice to accomplish the proper action. If they try to deceive us for gaining a profit by injustice, “WE DARE TO SAY, THEY ARE DREGS!” The character in Kanji “evil” and the wording “Don’t make light of welfare!” are on the front of the jackets.

The Japanese Communist Party Odawara City Assemblypersons’ group, soon after learning of this conduct, protested at the city office against this practice. The group’s head, Sekino Takashi said, “People have the right to receive public assistance, but the jackets are intimidating many needy residents into hesitating to apply for relief.” He demanded an increase in the number of welfare case workers and the responsible conduct of social security services based on the Constitution.

The Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-iren) on January 18 published a statement in the name of its chairman, Fujisue Mamoru. It states, “Being on relief is one of the fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Public Assistance Act. All public servants are obliged to respect and comply with the Constitution. Therefore, systematically violating people’s human rights by going against this principle is outrageous.”

Shimomura Yukihito, professor at Yamanashi Prefectural University in an Akahata interview dated on January 19 said, “The display of disdain the staff of the city’s welfare section have been exhibiting tramples on the individual dignity and basic human rights of not only welfare recipients but also all the people in Japan. The mayor should be held responsible for this as well. With the poverty rate continuing to increase, assuring all needy people welfare benefits is what a municipal administration should do. Looking at the national government, however, the Abe regime has been in fact encouraging local governments to reject citizens’ applications for public assistance as a way to cut back on state spending on social security programs. The jackets in question just reflect this policy.”

* * *
The jackets were inappropriate: Odawara City mayor

Regarding this issue, the Japanese Communist Party Odawara City Assembly members’ group on January 23 met with Mayor Kato Ken’ichi and demanded the rectification of the current way of conducting the city’s public welfare service.

Mayor Kato admitted that “it was inappropriate” for city employees to wear jackets denigrating welfare recipients and added that the city will consider increasing the number of welfare case workers.

The JCP group’s head, Sekino Takashi, again demanded that the city provide public livelihood assistance to all needy residents based on the Constitution and make sure that all its workers comply with the Constitution and the Local Autonomy Act.

Past related articles:
> Abe gov’t aims to further weaken social security programs [August 22, 2016]
> Eating habits and social life of people on welfare becoming poorer [July 20, 2016]
> Abe’s welfare policies drive the needy to death [June 10, 2016]
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