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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 September 26 - October 2  > More and more elderly people driven into poverty under Abe’s welfare cutback policy
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2018 September 26 - October 2 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

More and more elderly people driven into poverty under Abe’s welfare cutback policy

October 1, 2018

The Welfare Ministry in September published the results of a survey of people aged 20 years and over regarding social welfare programs. In the survey, asked about which social program should be improved, more than 70% of the respondents cited the public pension program.

A demand for a better pension system is shared by people of all generations against the backdrop of increasing poverty among elderly people.

The annual after-tax income of elderly households is 2,162,000 yen on average, 873,000 yen less than that of other households. Among senior families, 40% earn less than two million yen per year. Furthermore, more and more elderly people have come to rely on public welfare assistance. While the total number of welfare recipient households is on the decline, only the number of senior households went up to 837,000 in fiscal 2016.

To provide a pension and other welfare protection benefits to the aged is of particular importance in the government’s social welfare policy. However, the government led by Prime Minister Abe has been implementing a policy of containing the “natural” increase in social welfare spending associated with the aging society within 500 billion yen annually. The amount of the natural increase that was deducted from the welfare budget totaled 1.6 trillion yen between FY2013 when PM Abe inaugurated his administration and FY2018.

The amount of welfare benefits paid to elderly people is getting less every year. In FY2016, the average welfare benefits per elderly person was 2.3 million yen, 135,000 yen less than that in FY2012 before the inauguration of the Abe government. Among welfare benefits, pension benefits decreased the most. The amount of pension that each pensioner received in FY2016 was 1.6 million yen on average, 139,000 yen less than four years ago.

Past related articles:
> Poverty among elderly pushes up number of welfare families [April 4, 2018]
> Gov’t plan to cut welfare payments will threaten recipients’ right to live [January 10, 2018]

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