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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 31 - February 6  > JCP proposes accessible public assistance program
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2018 January 31 - February 6 [POLITICS]

JCP proposes accessible public assistance program

February 6, 2018
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on February 5 at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting criticized the Abe government’s plan to slash welfare benefit payments, submitting a proposal to make the current Livelihood Protection Act accessible for all.

In the meeting, Shii pointed out that Japan’s poverty rate has become serious under the Abe government and that the real income of the poorest 10% has also been decreasing. Shii said to PM Abe that he should admit to the fact that Japan’s poverty rate is increasing.

In reply, PM Abe insisted that the current deflationary situation has largely contributed to an increase in poverty.

Shii then brought up the Abe government plan to cut welfare benefit payments by up to 5%. He urged PM Abe to cancel the government plan, and introduced the JCP proposal for a recipient-friendly livelihood protection program.

The JCP in its proposal calls for the existing Livelihood Protection Law to be renamed the “law on life security”. According to the JCP proposal, people’s right to receive public assistance is recognized by law and the public assistance program must be fully available to all in need of assistance. The JCP proposal seeks to change the existing law to one protecting people’s right to apply for welfare assistance and aiming to prevent municipalities from taking measures to discourage welfare applicants from even applying. In addition, the JCP proposal demands that the government survey the proportion of welfare recipients to low-income people who are eligible to welfare benefits, publish the survey results, and use them to make the welfare assistance program accessible to all needy citizens.

Shii gave an example of a single-mother living in Osaka on welfare assistance with two children who said that she lives in constant anxiety about lacking money and has to keep expenditures as low as possible. Shii criticized the Abe government welfare-cutting plan which will drive welfare recipient single-parent households like this family into further poverty.

Shii referred to the fact that mainly due to the social stigma associated with receiving welfare, only 20% of eligible persons apply for the public assistance program. Shii expressed his determination to work hard to create a Japan which ensures that everyone can exercise the right to live as guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.

Past related article:
> Shii to Abe: Gov’t should slash financial support for US military instead of slashing welfare benefits[January 26, 2018]
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