Currently, it takes some time to respond to comments because I have some other things I have to prioritize.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Welfare system in Japan

There was a lawsuit in Japan on welfare for permanent residents without Japanese nationality.
78 years old Chinese woman asked Oita City to give welfare to her. She is a permanent resident but do not have Japanese nationality. According to the article, welfare for permanent residents with foreign nationality has been virtually accepted all around Japan for many years despite the fact that it violates the constitution of Japan. Since the welfare for them is illegal, cities somehow have given money to them as "donation." So, whether a foreigner receive welfare has been completely dependent on the judgment made by self-governing bodies.


The judge said "the right to life should be primarily guaranteed by countries people belong to"


Unbelievably, this case was the first time to mention the illegality of the welfare for permanent residents without nationality.  I wonder what the judiciary has done for many years.


I sometimes see this kind of phrases on Japanese bulletin boards "Japan is a automatic teller machine."
What people imply with this kind of phrases is that Japan offers to much welfare for foreigners.
I'm not a welfare-specialist, but I know one newly legislated law which makes me sympathize with the phrase.
"Kodomo Teate Law," allows parents with children under 16 to receive 13000yen≒110dollars × children regardless of nationality.  Surprisingly, it counts children living outside Japan, so we can't expect migrant workers to spend money in Japan. Sounds like haven for migrant workers - the more children you have, the more income you have.  What is more, the government abolished some other financial supports for guardians with children at the same time, which inflicts more burdens on guardians with children over 15 - when children are the most costly. The law declared that the payment was going to double (26000/month per a child) from the next fiscal year(Oh, my god). However, the government has given up the increase of the payment due to the faulty system and the pressure from people. It was good to know that there still exist some people who keep an eye on the government while so many others just nod to whatever the government and the media say, without thinking by themselves.


I feel as if the government wishes to give away money to foreigners.
It must be something granted, please don't make me say "The Japanese government should be devoted for the Japanese."
I don’t think it is a healthy government that makes a citizen thinks this way.
Please don’t make me doubt.


What is granted in one’s country is not necessarily for sure in some other countries.
Did you find some surprising facts? What kind of systems does your country have?

8 comments:

  1. We have very similar problems and it's a major issue here too. Right now we have between 13-20 million illegal immigrants (56% of them are Mexicans) with only 25% of them paying taxes, yet enjoy the benefits our our society that was ment for legal immigrants and citizens who pay the taxes needed to operate them. This is estimated to cost the US federal and state governments 113 billion USD (9.2 trillion JNY) a year in net loses. To make maters worse, they also send 85 billion USD back to their home countries, taking it out of the US econamy and transferring it to their own.

    The problem has even been made worse by the very far left political groups who (desire open-borders) encourage this to happen, by erecting "sanctuary cities".that have policies that encourage illegal immigration and disobey federal laws (much like the cities you mentioned)

    While we don't have any laws against providing welfare services to non-US citizens who are here legally (and paying taxes) almost everyone feels the same way as you do about the illegal immigrants that are here who get free welfare without paying into it.

    I completely agree with you though, if Japanese law says non-citizens cannot receive welfare services, then they shouldn't receive it. If Japanese citizens want the law changed, they should vote on it and make it so. The same applies for American citizens, you can't violate the law just because you disagree with it- thats not how civilized countries work, we must vote on the law and change it first.

    I was surprised to learn Japan had similar problems, i had thought it was only the US and Germany that had problems with our laws being ignored for the sake of foreign immigrants.


    Welfare here is widely looked down on culturally, it's considered shameful by many to have to use it for longer than a few months "You can't provide for your own family's needs?" is something people often hear. It's become less embarrassing to be dependant on welfare in the last 20 years though, "food stamps" have been replaced by credit cards, and cash allowances are now directly deposited into bank accounts. While these things may seem minor, it makes people feel comfortable on welfare.

    Most people on welfare live better lives than average income people who make 45,000$ a year, pay 6% in federal tax and 3-9% in state tax, work 65 hours a week, and pay for their on expenses.

    The average welfare recipient "earns" around 10,000$ a year in cash allowances, plus 300$ per person in food allowances a month, 200$ in gas allowances a month, almost 20,000$ a year in medical insurance a year (plus a lot of free programs, such as free dental work, free checkups, and others) plus 113$ a month for every child under 18 years old, while paying no taxes (even sales tax)

    It's not quite as bad as it used to be, people used to live on nothing but welfare their entire lives, but starting sometime in 1995 congress made it mandatory to have a job or be actively seeking a job after three months of unemployment in order to keep many of the benefits.

    Many of the immigrants used to exploit this ruthlessly and send most of the money they received back to their home countries before the reforms.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I again have to leave for Tokyo from now, so bye for now(thanks for such an informative comment).
    I'll answer in a few days.

    P.S.
    Working on both grad research and job-hunting at the same time is much tougher than I had expected.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I heard about the Arizona Immigration Law. Although the president criticized the law saying “it is against the US constitution,” as many as 60% of US citizens supported the law. I can easily guess that American people are furious about illegal immigrants. Are some Americans against “legal” immigrants as well?

    [13-20 million illegal immigrants]
    I think US airports conduct very strict inspections at the entrance. Is it possible that such a huge number of illegal immigrants creep in? Do you think there's possibility that some people (government? airport workers? border guards?)intentionally let illegal immigrants in? Or, are most of them leftovers from the age when there were relatively loose inspections?

    [This is estimated to cost the US federal and state governments 113 billion USD (9.2 trillion JNY) a year in net loses.]
    I don’t think I can stand it If I were an American.

    [they also send 85 billion USD back to their home countries]
    I have an idea. Is it possible that the government forces the immigrants to use certain amount of money inside US? (Ex. 50% of income)

    ["sanctuary cities".that have policies that encourage illegal immigration and disobey federal laws]
    Both right wings and left wings are supposed to seek the best for country. However, when left wings go too far, they turn out traitors. Similarly, when right wings go extreme, they cause wars. A country always needs good balance between the two. In Japan, left wings have been dominant these days.

    [While we don't have any laws against providing welfare services to non-US citizens who are here legally (and paying taxes) almost everyone feels the same way as you do about the illegal immigrants that are here who get free welfare without paying into it.]
    I thought it was relatively more acceptable in the US because many of the citizens have backgrounds as immigrants.

    [you can't violate the law just because you disagree with it- thats not how civilized countries work, we must vote on the law and change it first.]
    Yes, I like the spirit of Americans. Japanese society is much less spirited, and I feel it stagnated. I think we can learn a lot from US citizens, they are so lively all the time.

    [Welfare here is widely looked down on culturally, it's considered shameful by many to have to use it for longer than a few months]
    When I took a sociology class while I was an exchange student, I heard that some people decline welfare even if they have children to support. It was surprising that for some Americans, ones’ pride have priority over their children.

    [It's become less embarrassing to be dependant on welfare in the last 20 years though, "food stamps" have been replaced by credit cards, and cash allowances are now directly deposited into bank accounts. While these things may seem minor, it makes people feel comfortable on welfare.]
    The US seems to have so many issues in common with Japan. The number of Japanese people on welfare has been increasing for 9 years in a row.

    [Many of the immigrants used to exploit this ruthlessly and send most of the money they received back to their home countries before the reforms.]
    I understand your anger, but citizens who hadn’t paid good attention to the system are also to be blamed for it. I often hear elders criticizing the Japanese government. However, they have to admit that they have neglected the duty to keep an eye on the government, which resulted in the current situation.

    I learned a lot about the US from your comment! :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. [I heard about the Arizona Immigration Law. Although the president criticized the law saying “it is against the US constitution,” as many as 60% of US citizens supported the law. I can easily guess that American people are furious about illegal immigrants.]

    Arizona's law orders immigrants to carry their immigration registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transport them

    This was a federal law that was not being enforced, but Arizona made it very public that they will start to enforce it. I don't know why some people are against it, native born citizens are required to do the same thing by holding a driver's licence at all times.

    I'm very interested to hear what you have heard about the Arizona immigration law. Many people make it seem that it made it legal to profile others based on ethnicity, which really isn;'t the case.

    The illegal immigration issue is one of the major political issues here. One side wants to deport them all back to their home countries in accordance to our laws on illegal entry into the country. The other wants to grant them citizenship and tax them.

    Then there are the people in the middle (like me) who think either way is counterproductive. I think deporting them isn't possible as it would cause a lot of fear,m chaos, and cause a lot of friction- although technically it is demanded by law.

    Just letting them stay and granting them citizenship (as we did in the early 1980s) would encourage the problem as it had in the past. People that want to immigrate to our country need to understand we must have order, and that the laws in place are for their protection as much as ours.

    I don't blame them for sneaking across the US-Mexican border, we have a much better quality of life then any other country South of us, and it has become necessary for them to support their families. I do blame the Mexican government and our own for doing nothing about it though..

    [Are some Americans against “legal” immigrants as well?]

    I think there are people who want, but the large majority seem very accepting to legal immigration. Thats a good question though, i'm not sure myself.. >_<


    [I think US airports conduct very strict inspections at the entrance. Is it possible that such a huge number of illegal immigrants creep in?]

    Oh it's not the airports that are the problem, it's the US-Mexican landborder. It is pretty much just open field with a few border patrols gaurding it.

    You're right that the airports are very well gaurded (especualy after 9/11), but 80% of illigal immigration comes from South American, Centural American, and Carabian countries. 96% of that number comes across the US-Mexican land border. The US-Mexican border is very poorly gaurded, and many people die trying to enter the US from there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. [Do you think there's possibility that some people (government? airport workers? border guards?)intentionally let illegal immigrants in?]

    I think it's always possible for border gaurds to intetionaly let them in, but they are also fairly well selected. They are very unnderstaffed though..to such a point the national gaurd was called in to help deal with the more criminal elements (gun runners, drug dealers, and other violent crimes)

    I do belive many in the goverment intetional let them across. Many people want open borders simular to the EU with Mexico and Canada, but i think the main motivation for it is the political votes they can offer. Many elections are decided by the "illegal vote" where people who do not speak English are bribed to vote a certian way, under the promiss that they will be left alone to live in the country, cash handouts, or make it easier for them to acess serices ment for legal immigrents and citizins.

    This is mostly the case with far-left political groups who actively encurage illegal immigration, but most moderate left wing, moderate, and right wing politcans know it's poltical suicide to do this.


    [Or, are most of them leftovers from the age when there were relatively loose imspections]

    hmm.. It's hard to say because due to the fact they are not registerd, it's impossible to get reliable estements of anykind about when they arived. I think it's fair to say it's a mix of the two. Ever since the 1970s, illegal immigration has become a real problem, and in the 1990s it became so bad that it became a key election issue, and it's a problem that had only goten worse.

    It became worse under Bush who many belive desired a "American Union" designed after the "European Union" that did away with international truck inspections after the Mexican goverment checked them, and seemingly turned a blind eye to border enforcment and even seemed to have a grudge ahainst border gaurds. This madei t much easier for illegal immigration to happen, whitch also saw a 2 million increase from the prevoise 10 years.

    That said, it's also true that we had 10 million in the country already.


    [I have an idea. Is it possible that the government forces the immigrants to use certain amount of money inside US? (Ex. 50% of income)]

    In a way we already are, income taxes, sales tax, and property tax causes people to pay around 15% of everything they earn back to the goverment, but this dosn't work on illegal immigrents, as they are unregisterd they don't pay taxes at all, making it very hard to track them down.

    I'd support the idea, but the problem is getting it implimented. I can easily imagine ferice opposition from many groups, and even international comendation. There has been other ideas such as a "fair tax" system, that would eliminate almost all taxes, but require people to pay enrmous tax on luxery goods, and non-essentual items. This of course has it's own problems..

    [Both right wings and left wings are supposed to seek the best for country. However, when left wings go too far, they turn out traitors. Similarly, when right wings go extreme, they cause wars. A country always needs good balance between the two.]

    Truer words have never been spoken..I've always thought the exact same thing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. [I thought it was relatively more acceptable in the US because many of the citizens have backgrounds as immigrants.]

    Ah, there is a differnce between illegal immigrents and legal immigrents. :P

    Illegal immigrents are people who sneak into the country without permission. (often living in secreecy, and often refusing to integrate into our society)

    legal immigrents are people who ask to be allowed into the country, and obey all the immigration laws in the country (such as paying tax on the goods they buy here, waiting for prermission, background checks, and other safty precautions.)

    I don't think many people mind legal immigrents enjoying our benafits, as they have helped pay for them. It's the illegal immigrents that people do not like, they don't pay for goverment sevices- yet they use them. They expect free things from us, without even paying into it, and even more inferuating is the widespread demand for signs to be conveted into Spanish.

    [I understand your anger, but citizens who hadn’t paid good attention to the system are also to be blamed for it. I often hear elders criticizing the Japanese government. However, they have to admit that they have neglected the duty to keep an eye on the government, which resulted in the current situation.]

    Very true..We must take responsibllty for the state of the country and the direction it;s heading. If somthing is happening that we can change, but dont..then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

    [I learned a lot about the US from your comment! :D]

    Good things i hope! I'd hate to be bad for our image xD

    ReplyDelete
  7. [This was a federal law that was not being enforced, but Arizona made it very public that they will start to enforce it.]
    Does that mean the president himself spoke against the federal law?
    Now it sounds completely the other way around.

    [I'm very interested to hear what you have heard about the Arizona immigration law.]
    All I heard was that a new law was enacted in Arizona, and that Obama stated the law is against the US constitution. I think it was a short explanation made by a Japanese news caster.
    I guess he/she explained in a misleading way.

    Thanks for the comments.
    They helped me understand American people's feelings.

    ReplyDelete