The ruling coalition is considering new financial support for the spouses of Japanese who resettled in Japan years after being abandoned in China after World War II ended, sources said.
Under the plan being studied by the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner, New Komeito, a monthly benefit of ¥44,000 per person will be paid to spouses who have been struggling financially after Japanese partners died, the sources said. Recent years have seen scores of Japanese who had remained in China after the war, some of them orphaned, resettle in Japan. Many came with Chinese spouses.
To cover the program, the coalition intends to pass a bill during the extraordinary Diet session expected to convene in mid-October to revise the law on support for Japanese who resettled in Japan after being left in China. The ruling bloc ask the opposition camp to support the bill.
Eligible for the support will be those who were married to Japanese left behind in China who resettled in Japan with their Japanese spouses. The amount in question will be two-thirds of the old-age pension of ¥66,000 per month under the public pension scheme.
About 400 people are believed to be eligible for the program, with most of them women of Chinese nationality, according to a group of lawyers who have supported those Japanese who resettled in their damages lawsuits against the government.
Under the law, enacted in 2007, the government pays a livelihood support benefit of up to ¥80,000 per person a month. Including a pension, a couple can receive up to ¥186,000 every month.
After the death of the Japanese partner, however, a spouse is not entitled to receive the full old-age pension under the current system. The spouse must live entirely on the livelihood support benefits unless there are other sources of income.