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Foreign residents can’t claim welfare benefits: Supreme Court

Kyodo

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that foreigners with permanent residency status are ineligible for welfare benefits, overturning a decision by the Fukuoka High Court that had acknowledged their eligibility under the public assistance law.

The decision by the top court’s Second Petit Bench concerned a lawsuit filed by an 82-year-old Chinese woman with permanent residency who was born and grew up in Japan.

The woman applied for welfare benefits with the Oita municipal office in Oita Prefecture in December 2008 but was denied the benefits on the grounds she had some savings.

The woman then filed a suit demanding that the city’s decision be repealed. She is now receiving the benefits because the municipality accepted her welfare application in October 2011.

While the recipients of welfare benefits are limited to Japanese nationals by law, the government issued a notice in 1954 saying foreigners should be treated in accordance with the public assistance law.

Since the government limited recipients to Japanese nationals and foreigners with permanent residency in 1990, municipalities have exercised their discretion in doling out the benefits.

In October 2010, the Oita District Court rejected the plaintiff’s suit, saying that denying the public assistance law to foreigners was within the discretion of a municipal government.

In November 2011, however, the Fukuoka High Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, saying that foreigners with permanent residency have been protected under the public assistance law.

  • Demosthenes

    So what’s the point in permanent residents paying their taxes in Japan, if they don’t have access to the same social services as citizens? And if so what comes next – cutting back on their access to public healthcare too?

    • phu

      Exactly. Collecting those taxes, that’s no problem; hey, you live here, it’s your responsibility to pay them. But actually providing the benefits you’re paying for? Saaaa, chotto mendoooou, ne?

      • Anon0920

        If you naturalized, there would be no problem then…

      • Bill

        Easier said than done.

        MUCH easier.

      • Anon0920

        Probably so, but if you’re intending to be in Japan to death why wouldn’t you put forth the effort to overcome the various barriers that make it difficult?

      • http://www.an-chan.net/ Antoine B.

        But they don’t accept double citizenship!! I would have to resign from my current citizenship to become Japanese, which is a very heavy decision. All the while, I am paying taxes here…

      • Gordon Graham

        While you are living here you enjoy the services your taxes pay for (taxes from wages you’ve made off Japanese citizens). You’re not prepared to make the full commitment of becoming a Japanese citizen, that’s your choice… they’re not committed to making a full commitment to those who make that choice. Seems fair to me.

      • Steve Jackman

        As I explained below in my response to Eido’s comment, consumption taxes fund social welfare benefits in Japan. The Japanese government has used the future sustainability of Japan’s social welfare system as the main reason for raising the consumption tax to 5 percent in 1996 and to 8 percent earlier this year.

        Non-Japanese permanent residents of Japan pay exactly the same consumption taxes as Japanese citizens. These taxes are a significant burden on all residents of Japan, so non-Japanese residents should be entitled to the same level of social welfare benefits as Japanese citizens.

      • Gordon Graham

        Tourists also consume goods in Japan, should they be entitled to welfare from the Japanese state?

      • S. Urista

        No, which is why they can get a consumption tax refund when they leave. They aren’t working so they don’t pay income or other work-related tax.

      • Gordon Graham

        Your income tax is a fee for the privilege of being able to live and work here. Unless, you become a citizen then it’s a contribution to your social services. Don’t like it? Become a citizen.

      • S. Urista

        Income tax is a fee for the privilege of working here? So no non-workers can enjoy the privilege of living here? Interesting.

      • Gordon Graham

        Citizens who are unemployed can…as can those who have enough funds to sustain themselves. Foreigners must have the means to support themselves. Wasn’t that made clear to you before you came?

      • S. Urista

        So what does ‘permanent’ mean to you? ‘As long as you don’t get sick or your husband doesn’t die’ etc?

        I suppose Japan only wants wealthy young educated immigrants – cases like this one here are why these very people, the very people they need (like myself) won’t choose to live and work in Japan.

      • Gordon Graham

        It means a resident who is not Japanese.

      • Dia Štefánková

        the lady from the article is 82 years old, forget about welfare, shouldnt she be getting money from her pension fund? pension (nenkin) should be the same for all japanese and foreigners. I just came here as an exchange student with a student visa for 2 years and even I had to create my pension fund.

      • S. Urista

        You think everyone was given a choice before they ended up in Japan?

      • Gordon Graham

        What? Japan is now kidnapping citizens of other countries?! Perhaps you meant you’re a refugee? In that case I’d think you’d be more grateful considering how few refugees Japan accepts. Also, in accepting you as a refugee they would certainly accept your rejection of your native citizenship. Perhaps you simply meant times were tough from whence you came…In that case you still had a myriad of other countries from which to choose. In any case it’s curious how you remain disloyal to the country that rescued you from dire straits.

      • warota

        “Japan is now kidnapping citizens of other countries?!”

        No, more like the 82 year old Chinese woman who is the plaintiff in the original article who was born and raised in Japan…

      • Gordon Graham

        and is receiving welfare from a local government office

      • daimos

        Unles I become a citizen? Iam not a citizen yet, but they automatically deduct social welfare fees from my salary. Apart from paying for my income tax and residence tax, which is just fair, for being able to live and work here, but why should I be asked to pay for a benefit that I will not be entitled to?

      • Gordon Graham

        Because it’s for the citizens of Japan. You are paying for the citizens of Japan for the privilege of working and living here. Prove yourself worthy and you, too can become a citizen.

      • daimos

        You keep on emphasizing working and living here. So let me emphasize this: People are asked to pay for ressidenece tax for living here, while income tax are imposed for working here, which is but fair. But to be asked to pay for something you will not be entitled to is plain exthortion.

      • Steve Jackman

        Tourists are entitled to get a refund of consumption tax paid on purchases while they are in Japan temporarily, precisely for the reason that there is no expectation of Japan taking care of tourists’ welfare needs.

        On the other hand, non-Japanese permanent residents of Japan cannot get a refund of the consumption taxes they pay for goods and services purchased in Japan. It is exactly this consumption tax which funds social welfare payments in Japan. Why is it then that non-Japanese permanent residents are compelled to pay into the social welfare system (an insurance program by another name), but do not qualify to receive any benefits if they become needy or destitute?

      • Gordon Graham

        The permanent resident is here on the condition of having secure employment or sufficient funds to sustain themselves. If that resident cannot provide for themselves then the honourable thing to do would be to return home as they cannot fulfil their end of the bargain. If they can’t as in the case of the Chinese lady in the article there is recourse for them to find assistance. You as a resident are not entitled to the benefits of a citizen. You are paying a fee to live and work here…C’est tout.

      • Steve Jackman

        “You are paying a fee to live and work here.”

        For once, I agree with you, Gordon. It’s unfortunate that Japan, one of the world’s richest countries, has to exploit its non-Japanese residents to subsidize the social welfare benefits it pays out to Japanese citizens. It’s no wonder, Japan has such a difficult time attracting qualified immigrants. This is exactly the Japanese attitude towards foreigners which keeps them away from Japan.

      • Gordon Graham

        It is what it is…Those are the rules. It’s up to the individual whether or not they want to live here as a resident or a citizen (or at all). The rules and commitments of each differ. That said, I doubt the income from exploiting foreigners amounts to little more than the administrative costs it takes to facilitate their stay.

      • James Smith

        >.Those are the rules.

        ‘The rules’ aren’t exactly clear. I actually agree with what you say about this in general – but not in this specific case. The government held on to two contradictory rules – and then got to arbitrarily change between them when it felt like it. Given the history of the law – it wasn’t unreasonable for a long-term resident to expect to receive welfare payments equal to a citizen.

      • Gordon Graham

        The history of the law is that it does change. That said, I’m certain the agreement between a foreigner and the State is that the foreigner is to have the means to support themselves in order to live here.

      • Dia Štefánková

        meanwhile, western european countries are complaining about immigrant leaches who just come to live on welfare. I think the Japanese government has a right to make measures so that the welfare system wont be abused, but I also think that they should create more realistic and flexible laws on welfare, like after how many years of work and for how long a foreigner could receive welfare, not like this all or nothing rule. this is just plain lazy… well, other laws changed as well, so maybe in a few years?

      • S. Urista

        Actually, as we have seen, Japan is offering faster PR to entice high-income earners to stay in Japan permanently. Perhaps Japan would find it easier to entice such people to live and settle in Japan if they didn’t also threaten to take away benefits if they met with mis-fortune.

      • Gordon Graham

        Those targeted don’t require financial assistance. It would behove those considering a move to Japan to make sure they have enough funds to sustain themselves should any misfortune occur.

      • Dia Štefánková

        I agree with you. Moreover I dont really understand why people who are born here dont change their citizenship…

      • daimos

        Paying your tax to live here is called residence tax. Paying your tax for working here is called income tax. Very very very!! different from SOCIAL WELFARE fees!!! Social welfare fees are for social welfare benefits. If foreigners are asked to pay for this, then they should be entitled to it, otherwise, it is plain exthortion.

      • daimos

        Paying a fee to live and work here – Residence Tax and Income Tax. I pay both, plus welfare too! Then why cannot I be entitled to a welfare they are charging me in the first place?

      • Gordon Graham

        The State has decided it to be so. Also, your residence tax and income tax is far less than the taxes in your home country so what’s with all the bellyaching?

      • daimos

        “Because the State decided so” Ahh! let me ask you this then: If the state decides to charge you for a road tax without driving a car, would you pay for it?

      • Gordon Graham

        The State uses taxes for any number of things I make no use of.

      • daimos

        Taxes that you make no use of, name them please?

      • Gordon Graham

        Maintaining the Royal Household.

      • daimos

        Ahhh! Just like the police, the staffs in your city hall, the Royal Household has their own distinct service to render to the state, and that is why we pay for it. Name some more as you mentioned taxes, meaning plural.

      • Gordon Graham

        Poverty relief in the Sudan

      • daimos

        AHH! Poverty relief, not just in Sudan if I might add. And I don’t have a bit of a problem with this mind you. But from what tax do you suppose they get it from? By this very subject, if the State decides to use the Welfare Fund for Poverty relief or Military relief, Nuclear disaster relief or , whatever, will you not have a problem with that? Probably not because the State decided to do so right?

      • Gordon Graham

        Whatever pocket it comes out if is of no matter to me. I’m asked to pay for a number of things that are of no use to me. I, too am all for providing for the poor, not only in the Sudan but also in Japan. If I do happen to become destitute I have a safety net…It’s called Canada. I’m not happy when the State wastes money on needless things. So, why pay for a foreigner’s welfare when they have their own country who is responsible for that.

      • daimos

        ‘So, why pay for a foreigner’s welfare when they have their own country who is responsible for that.” Because Mr. Graham, Foreigners are made to pay for it, I pay for it, my wife pay for it. It is not that Japan is providing it for free. If Japan refuse to give me welfare benefits, then fine, I have no problem with that. I too have my home country to fall back to. Just don’t make us pay for something we are not entitiled to (just as I would argue should I be asked to pay for a road tax without owning a car). If you don’t mind that then good for you, but I do. When a State decides something I do not agree with, I voice my opinion, citizen or not, It’s called Democracy. I do realize and accept the fact that I hold less power than a Citizen, but that should not stop me from voicing my argument against exthortion.

      • Gordon Graham

        You might not own a car but the food you eat comes from trucks that use the road. You might not get welfare but the food you put in your mouth comes from the nation that has facilitated your making a living. For your taxes you get the benefit of living in a safe, comfortable and prosperous nation, a democratic nation whose government represents and protects the interests of its citizens…not those of other nations.

      • daimos

        Geez! You just don”t get it do you? Each of your reply deflects the point.
        “You might not own a car but the food you eat comes from trucks that use the road.”
        Yes indeed! And those trucks pays for the road taxes imposed by the government and do you know why?
        Simple: because the company that utilize those trucks profits from delivering the goods. not me!!! From anything you profit from you have an obligation to pay the state in the form of tax.I do not run a trucking business, I do not profit from it, so why impose that on me?
        I, as a consumer,when I eat, pay my share in the role of sales tax!! get it? And that is a system which I do not disagree with.
        Iam fully aware and apreciative of the system.

        “For your taxes you get the benefit of living in a safe, comfortable and prosperous nation”.
        True! That is why I gladly pay my income and residence tax.get it? Iam not trying to evade my obligation, get it? This is in sharp contrast to welfare! Welfare has nothing to do with this, yet you continue to align Income and residence tax with welfare.

        What suprisingly you cannot comprehend or just maybe refuse to comprehend, is that there are varoius kinds of taxes
        corresponding to what an individual is suppose to pay. Let me simplify so that you may hopefully get it:
        From my wages – Income Tax. I reside in a country – Residence tax. I own a property – Real estate tax. I ride a train, a taxi, a bus, buy in a grocery, eat in a restaurant – I pay sales tax.
        and etc,etc. etc. This system of taxation, I have no problem with, as this is where the civilized world revolves. But collect welfare fee from me and then say Iam not entitled to it in the future, that is exthortion.
        Welfare contribution is something you pay for as an investment in the future.If you don’t want me to be entitiled in a welfare fine, no problem, just don’t charge me for it. One pays for welfare, hence one is entitled to it. That is how welfare works, even in Canada, and in the rest of the world.
        If a person asks for a welfare without having dished out anything in it, then that person is not and shouild not be entitled to it. But a person that has invested in it and later be denied from it, that is thieving!!
        Welfare fees are different from Income taxes, Residence tax etc… get it? that is the point Iam raising. get it? argghh, I give up!

      • Gordon Graham

        No, sir, you don’t get it. You should get nothing that comes from the road…zilch, zip, nada. Not food, medicine, clothing nor the bricks that were used to shelter you. The same thing for Japan. You should be allowed to use nothing here, not the roads the schools the supermarkets or the hospitals, but you do. If Japan is no longer able to provide you with a source of income to pay your way you are then either the responsibility of yourself or your State. Get it?

      • daimos

        oh yes I do get it, I just don’t get you. I already pointed out that I don’t mind paying taxes that funds those you mentioned, yet you are blinded from comprehending,as if I want to evade my obligations. arghhh! sigh! As I said, I give up reasoning with you. You win!!

      • Gordon Graham

        Also, there are Japanese who are poor and haven’t paid into the coffers. Paying in isn’t the criteria. Citizenship is.

      • daimos

        Hai! (head bowing)I give up! you win!!!

      • Gordon Graham

        We pay an extra fee because we’re the ones hitching a ride on another’s back. If their backs break, we can hop off.

      • Gordon Graham

        Linear particle collider

      • daimos

        “Cetacean research,Linear particle collider”. I disagree again. Don’t say you have no use of this. The knowledge gathered/will be gathered from these research will benefit mankind, that includes you.

      • Gordon Graham

        The taxes you pay will help provide social services to Japanese citizens making this a safer nation for you to live in.

      • Gordon Graham

        Cetacean research

      • Mike Wyckoff

        I hate to disagree, as I usually agree with your posts, but what if a perm resident loses his Nova job and can’t pay the exhorbitant high taxes come the following April, is he disqualified from temporary assistance visa vie welfare even though he has worked 10 years (often more than many young Japanese Adults)?

      • Gordon Graham

        Yes, he or she is financially responsible for themselves regardless of circumstances. That’s the agreement upon which he or she entered into this country. Young Japanese adults have nothing whatsoever to do with that agreement. It’s not equal, I agree, but it’s fair because both parties agreed upon the conditions. That said, equality is a few forms away.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        That’s an entirely stupid comment Gordon, who here has made any such suggestion? Everyone you disagree with is saying people who are FORCED to pay into the system SHOULD be able to receive any benefits available to native born residents who do the same. With a comment like that you mark yourself as either an argument seeking troll, a Nihinjinron sycophant, or a fool.

      • Gordon Graham

        The thing is Paul, you’re not being forced to pay into a system. You have the option of going home where you will be cared for by your State as a citizen. Should you decide to stay here, you are required to pay a tax to the people who have made this the place in which you’ve decided to work and live. You have the option of becoming one of those people. Choosing not to do so should not absolve you of having to pay the country in which you live and work a tax which they in turn use to benefit their citizens. Their citizens have made an environment that has enabled your employment. You owe them…

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        You sound like a broken record Gordon. I sometimes suspect you’re a paid J.T. troll.

      • Gordon Graham

        They benefit by contributing to the society that is facilitating their living.

      • OsFish

        Gordon, if I may intervene: you and some others seem to have misunderstood the situation.

        All residents in Japan who are working full-time not only participate in paying social insurance, they also benefit from it in the same way. You don’t need to be a citizen to receive these benefits, including a pension. That is a separate issue from this ruling. If you pay in, you get out.

        In addition, all residents in Japan are, de facto, eligible for social assistance benefit. This is a means-tested benefit for people who do not have proper insurance cover or resources. You don’t need to be a citizen, you just need to be a “long-term resident”, which appears to mean at least in some municipalities, merely in legal possession of a residency card.

        What this ruling is about is the basis on which non-citizen residents are eligible for this means-tested benefit. They are not de jure eligible because of the law on public assistance. They are de facto eligible because of a decades-old instruction from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to municipalities to treat foreign “quasi-applications” the same as they treat Japanese applications. This makes the eligibility less secure than if it were law, but the eligibility in practice is still there. The ruling doesn’t actually seem to change much, as far as I can see. The ministry and municipalities have been operating on the principle declared by this ruling for a long, long time. It is fair to be concerned that foreigner eligibility is not on a firmer footing, but a mistake to think that eligibility does not exist.

        As it stands, there is absolutely no need to naturalise to get benefits you have paid for (pensions, unemployment benefit, health insurance). There is almost certainly no need to naturalise to qualify for social assistance, the benefit that recipients, by virtue of their situation, generally haven’t paid much for. (There is a valid concern that municipalities may use discretion to cut their share of the seikatsu hogo (livelihood protection) bill by being stricter with foreign residents, given that legal challenges to refusal are less viable, but many municipalities have been clear that they don’t see this ruling changing practice).

        In short: I think you and your interlocutors may be arguing about a situation that doesn’t actually exist.

        It is of course, your right to argue that Japan should not extend assistance benefits so readily to non-citizens, but you would be taking up a far harsher position than that taken by the Japanese government itself.

      • OsFish

        Permanent residents (and other long-term residents) do get this benefit. The reporting on this issue has been dreadful, and the argument on both sides here has rested on a serious misunderstanding.

        All municipalities were given notice way back in 1954 to treat all long-term residents as if they were Japanese for the purposes of this particular benefit. This is what happens now, and what will continue to happen by all accounts. Arguments about the rights and wrongs of foreigners not getting this benefit are besides the point. Foreigners can and do get this benefit.

        So, what’s the story about? The woman in the case was not denied benefits because she was not Japanese. She was denied because the municipality judged that she did not pass the means-test. What was at issue here was the legal basis for her appeal. The law itself specifies Japanese nationals, and the court affirmed that this is how to read the law. Ironically, this was partly because of the existence of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare notice instructing municipalities to treat non-citizens as citizens. So appealing on the text of the law was not possible. This does mean that a possible safeguard for foreign applicants against tight-fisted municipal practices is not there, but to be fair, until the 2012 ruling, no one thought it had been there for fifty years and foreigners still received benefits without any reports that I can find of discriminatory treatment.

        The thing is, it’s been hard to discern from reports (and I want to stress how bad the reporting – particularly in English – has been), but I get the impression that the woman – who started receiving benefits after her initial successful appeal – will continue to get this welfare, even after this particular ruling.

        The important thing is, this ruling explicitly has no impact on the Ministry instruction to treat foreigners the same as Japanese for this benefit. If you need welfare, and you qualify for it through the income test, you should be able to get it, regardless of nationality. Municipalities with large numbers of foreign welfare recipients have confirmed this when asked.

      • Starviking

        “wages made off Japanese Citizens?” you make it sound like foreigners working in Japan are robbing the good people of Japan. My wage is made off my own work.

      • Gordon Graham

        Japan is facilitating your income. You kick back in taxes for the privilege of being allowed to work and live here. If you want the benefits of a citizen, become one.

      • S. Urista

        You do know that some countries essentially do not recognise the right to revoke citizenship?

        Secondly, I agree that benefits of *citizenship* should only accrue to naturalised citizens. Voting, I can understand. Right to hold public office or join the military, sure.

        Welfare benefits to residents that paid into the system are clearly different.

      • Gordon Graham

        No matter, just say you revoke it and it’s acceptable. Just the same as those who say they’ve revoked the citizenship of their native country but in fact have not.

      • S. Urista

        So you’re saying we should lie to the Japanese government and risk losing our Japanese citizenship? Interesting.

      • Gordon Graham

        You can’t lose what you don’t have. Perhaps your issue is with whatever country won’t grant you your freedom.

      • Gordon Graham

        The mutual agreement for foreigners to live here is that they have a source of income or enough funds to sustain themselves. All foreigners agreed to this condition before setting foot on this island.

      • anoninjapan

        So…are you a Japanese citizen, i.e. do you have a Japanese passport?

      • Gordon Graham

        No. I prefer to retain the benefits of being a Canadian citizen which is why I’m not mewling about taxes levied in Japan or receiving welfare from a country that’s not my own.

      • anoninjapan

        How many years have you lived here, and do you ever intend to return to Canada?

      • Gordon Graham

        27 years and, yes…after another 15

      • anoninjapan

        So you’re happy to consider 27 years as “just visiting”, if so, a most interesting position to take as speaks a lot to how you consider yourself (associate) in a society, rather than the other way around as you attempt to portray it.

        However, you’re also happy to contributing by the end 42 years of paying taxes into a welfare system that you are not eligible to benefit from? So that seems fair to you?

      • Gordon Graham

        I’m happy knowing it will go to those who need it.

      • anoninjapan

        I didn’t ask…are you happy. I asked, do you think it is fair to pay into a welfare system via taxes for 42 years yet not be able to benefit from the system you’re paying into.

      • anoninjapan

        Since you deleted your comment above (to which i replied if you think its fair not that you’re happy), i take that as a resounding NO. You don’t think it is fair.

        But hey, after only 42years of living in one place…why else would you want to be considered anything other than a visitor after all. Since it would be insane to think of oneself as being part of and integrated into a society after such a length of time. Silly me.

        Thanks for the confirmation :)

      • Gordon Graham

        It was deleted by the moderator. I think it’s fair to pay into the country’s coffers for the citizens who built up and maintain the nation that you are fortunate enough to live and work in.

      • anoninjapan

        Strange..there was nothing “inflammatory” about your comment that was deleted…how odd?

        Again, misdirection. I did not ask do you think it is fair to pay into a country system, as that is the MO of most countries, called taxation. I asked do you think it is fair that if one pays into said system for 42years, but, is not entitled to benefit from the system one has paid into?

        Oh, so you don’t consider yourself fortunate then?

      • Gordon Graham

        Yes and yes.

      • anoninjapan

        So, if you consider it fair that ones pays into a welfare system for 42years one should benefit from it…yet you will not. How is that fortunate and fair?

      • Gordon Graham

        I enjoy the benefits of living in a safe and comfortable environment in which my children receive a good education and health care among other things. I have the option of becoming a citizen. I choose not to. That said, I’m greatful for the life I’ve been able to lead here. I don’t think it’s unfair to be asked to kick in to the kitty for it.

      • anoninjapan

        As far as I am aware Canada has a good healthcare and education system.

        So, what welfare benefits do you get?

      • Gordon Graham

        As a Canadian, Canada covers my welfare needs should I have any

      • anoninjapan

        So, if you’re injured or seriously ill and need an operation here in Japan, Canada will foot the bill and pay the Japanese state?

      • Gordon Graham

        Actually, I just had a knee operation. It was covered by my Japanese health insurance

      • anoninjapan

        So, you gain some benefit, from a system you are paying into…?

      • Gordon Graham

        I gain benefit from paying taxes, too

      • anoninjapan

        So, you’re happy to get health benefits, from your contribution via taxes, into the welfare system.

        And you’re equally happy to not get other welfare benefits that are also offered, even though you are paying for it?

      • Gordon Graham

        I’m happy to have the option of getting welfare benefits should I make that choice.

      • anoninjapan

        …and what choice is that exactly?

      • anoninjapan

        Nice that you have a choice, unlike the 82 year old Chinese lady. Funny that…

      • Gordon Graham

        What happened to her, by the way?

      • anoninjapan

        From your perspective…question is why?…since you don’t seem to care, as you have a choice.

      • Gordon Graham

        I know not seems

      • anoninjapan

        “I know not seems”……what kind of reply is that?

        Common….where is your usual verbose woolly reply?

      • Sasori

        perhaps ‘the overlord’ fielded that one.

      • anoninjapan

        I must say your replies are jolly intelligent. It’s about time the IQ of this thread went up….

      • Sasori

        One article mentions something about appeal.
        Clearly, she’s lived with public finger-pointing her entire life. These sorts of things are icing on the cake for her, I must assume, unhappy life of not being accepted as a person. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s considered simply ‘checking-out’ of the situation entirely.

      • Sasori

        zing!

      • anoninjapan

        A most eloquent riposte

      • Sasori

        well, of course, that’s health insurance; it’s not government supplied. Don’t be such a knucklehead.

      • anoninjapan

        What is not Govt supplied…please explain

      • Sasori

        Well, I’m assuming his Japanese health insurance. However, I must admit that I’m fairly ignorant of how the whole system works; I let my wife work that stuff out.

      • anoninjapan

        That’s why I asked..rather than assume.

      • Gordon Graham

        The benefit of Japanese not having to resort to crime to feed themselves.

      • Sasori

        Oh…. I think I got the picture, now.
        You’re a self-hating Canadian. In order to accept the living conditions here in Japan, physically and psychologically, you’ve convinced yourself that the pure society of Japan is far better than that of what you used to call home.
        I wonder if you try to be as ‘Japanese’ as possible; in public and at home.
        I’ve seen these ‘types’ in Japan; even in California. In Cali, we call them ‘wapanese’. In Japan, I believe the term is ‘hen-na guy-jin… horribly phonetically spelled, of course.

      • Sasori

        funny, because walking my kids on the street to school (because there is no sidewalk) in the morning with cars impatiently rushing by is very unsafe. And sandy dirt as a play area which houses semi-homeless smokers is not comfortable.
        Which makes me wonder, “how bad is it in Canada?”

      • Sasori

        you speak like someone who thinks ‘they’re’ watching your every move.
        Do you feel as if you’re under duress?

      • Steve Jackman

        In his other recent posts, Gordon referred to himself as a “guest” and the Japanese as his “hosts” in Japan. This, inspite of the fact that he’s been living here 27 years, plans to stay another 15, is married to a Japanese, and has two kids who were born here. Go figure!

      • Gordon Graham

        You gave each other a “one up” hug…That’s cute

      • Sasori

        Ah, that makes even more sense.

      • daimos

        I pay my income tax because I work here. I pay residence tax because I live here as a foreigner. very fair so far. Now , when Iam asked to pay for Social welfare fees and not be entitled to it when the time comes, now that is exthortion!!!

      • Gordon Graham

        You’re paying a levy to the people who have built up and maintain the nation that you have been fortunate enough to have a job in. This nation has facilitated your making a living. You have the option of becoming a citizen or remaining a permanent visitor, or leaving for that matter. If you are not prepared to take on the full responsibility of becoming a citizen then it’s your own nation that is in charge of your care, not Japan. That’s your decision.

      • Sasori

        funny. I see it completely different:
        My being here is of far more benefit to them than to me.

      • daimos

        Iam not a citizen, if they don’t want to give me Social Benefits, fine, just dont ask me to pay for it either.As you said, those are for the benefit of a citizen, as a non citizen, I should not be asked to pay for Social Welfare fees as Iam not entitiled to it!!!!

      • Gordon Graham

        They are asking you to pay. Their country, their rules. It’s fair to them. So there it is. The decision is yours. Will you stay on? If so, then there must be some benefit for you to remain in their country.

      • Sasori

        you must be 20-something.

      • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

        So let me get this straight: you want to keep your other citizenship (“double citizenship”) as a “safety net”, correct? Yet you want to be able to use Japan’s “safety net” (welfare) instead of your own country’s if you fall onto hard times?

      • Steve Jackman

        People these days can have varied reasons for wanting to have dual nationality, including the fact that their parents come from different countries. I don’t think children should have to choose one country over the other.

        I just don’t see your logic or where you’re coming from. Since, Japanese welfare benefits are funded from consumption taxes, they are tied to one’s residence, not a person’s nationality. Let me give you an example below.

        A non-Japanese permanent resident of Japan contributes to the funding of social welfare programs here by paying consumption taxes on almost all goods and services he or she consumes. On the other hand, a Japanese citizen living in America pays nothing into the social welfare programs of Japan, since he or she is not purchasing any goods or services here. However, in times of need, the Japanese citizen can return to Japan to receive benefits from the social welfare system here, whereas, the non-Japanese permanent resident of Japan is barred from receiving any benefits.

        It makes no sense that a non-Japanese permanent resident of Japan who has paid significantly more insurance premiums (in the form of consumption taxes) into the Japanese social welfare system is disqualified from receiving benefits from the insurance policy, but a Japanese citizen can receive benefits regardless of their contribution. This is pure racism, discrimination and xenophobia.

        I don’t get how it’s OK for you to see an elderly 82 year old woman in your neighborhood suffer by not having enough to buy food, medication, care and shelter, all because she does not have a piece of paper which says she is a Japanese citizen (never mind, that she was born in Japan and has lived her entire life here).

      • Anon0920

        It would only be racism if the option of becoming a Japanese citizen didn’t exist… since you can become a citizen, its more like “You don’t trust me enough to begin with, why would I support you?”…

      • Steve Jackman

        That is the weirdest argument I’ve heard. So a country’s institutions including the Police, government officials and judicial system can discriminate against non-citizen permanent residents of that country, violate their human and civil rights, or treat them unfairly, but according to your logic it cannot be called racism since the victim is not a citizen? Yeah, ok!

      • Anon0920

        It’s not called racism because the discrimination is not based upon race… It is based upon citizenship aka a legal standing that you are able to acquire. Contrary to what most Japanese people believe, citizenship and race are not synonymous.

      • Steve Jackman

        Most Japanese would disagree with you, since they consider citizenship and race to be synonymous when it comes to Japan and the Japanese.

      • Gordon Graham

        Most foreigners think it unfair that they aren’t entitled to welfare. What most Japanese agree with or not, makes no difference, the State grants you citizenship based on a number of factors, none of which includes race.

      • Anon0920

        “Contrary to what most Japanese people believe, citizenship and race are not synonymous.”

        “Most Japanese would disagree with you, since they consider citizenship and race to be synonymous when it comes to Japan and the Japanese.”

        First off, how did you miss me preemptively addressing your point?

        Next, just because something is popular does not mean it is accurate.

      • S. Urista

        Huh? Eido, I usually respect and agree with your posts but I don’t get this. I don’t understand ‘using Japan’s safety net instead of your own country’s’.

        If I’ve been living and working in Japan, and paying Japanese taxes, absolutely I should be able to rely on Japan’s ‘safety net’, to the extent that I’ve been paying into it. Citizenship has nothing to do with it.

      • Anon0920

        If living in Japan is important enough to you that you’re willing to suffer through financial burden rather than return home (assuming this isn’t some crisis where a tsunami just sucks everything out to sea and you have proper time to assess that things aren’t going well)… what are you holding out on that makes renouncing citizenship of your home country so difficult?

      • S. Urista

        The risk that my adopted country will decide I’m not eligible for benefits I thought I would receive? ‘Sorry, only native-born citizens are now eligible’. The risk that my -home- country will decide to not payout benefits to non-citizens? Who knows?

      • Gordon Graham

        Also, the risk that a military conflict may break out or a nuclear catastrophe may very well occur keeps people from committing to Japanese citizenship . Forfeiting your native citizenship would be forfeiting the security to jump on the first plane home should anything really threatening happen. That’s why I’m still a foreigner after 27 years.

      • Mike Wyckoff

        Sure, because naturalizing is as easy as snapping your fingers! (Idiot)

      • Anon0920

        Guess you’re welfare benefits aren’t worth the effort…

  • Jamie Bakeridge

    Puerile racist chaos.

    • Gordon Graham

      puerile self-mollfying victim

  • Steve Jackman

    Disgraceful decision by the Japan Supreme Court. The Supreme Court justices would rather see needy permanent residents of Japan, even those who were born here and have spent their entire lives in Japan, starve to death in their old age, than to extend them paltry welfare benefits in their golden years.

    Way to go, one of the world’s richest nations! Throw momma under the bus. This decision speaks volumes about Japanese hospitality, generousity and the spirit of omotenashi (or, lack thereof). Makes me proud to live in this country.

    • Anon0920

      Again… you could just naturalize and become legally Japanese…

      • cslyp

        Then we don’t need to pay taxes until we naturalize?

      • Steve Jackman

        Social welfare benefits in Japan are funded by consumption taxes, which are paid by all residents of Japan, regardless of citizenship status. Not paying consumption taxes in Japan is not an option, unless you stop consuming all goods and services (in which case, I would think you’d have a bigger problem).

      • cslyp

        Yeah, I was being sarcastic.

      • Steve Jackman

        I know.

      • Anon0920

        I support the idea behind this, but logistically it would fail horribly and likely not get put into action unfortunately.

      • http://www.an-chan.net/ Antoine B.

        Then why was the PR status created?

      • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

        It was created so:

        #1. one doesn’t need to renew (and qualify for renewal) of your Status of Residence.
        #2. one can have a Status of Residence without any restrictions or conditions connected to either Japanese employment or Japanese family (marriage, etc.).

      • Anon0920

        I don’t know, to me PR says “Hey I’d like to have free access to be in Japan, just don’t want the burden of accepting the responsibilities that come with being associated with the Japanese government or the collective people of Japan.”

      • Gordon Graham

        Bingo!

      • 脚線美あると思いますか?

        How far into resolving this current problem are you. We all know you are actually upset by this also.

      • Gordon Graham

        I have savings and property in both Canada and Japan, this problem is not an issue for me. I accept the terms I agreed upon to live and work here. I’m satisfied enough to have been here 27 years and will likely stay on another 15 before retiring in Canada. Taking the boatload of savings Japan has facilitated in my making with me. I had all of $800 when I first arrived here…Thank you Japan is really all I can come up with to be honest.

      • Steve Jackman

        Gimme a break, the woman is 82 years old. You expect her to naturalize now in order to feed herself, buy medication and to have a proper roof over her head? Think of if that was your grandmother.

      • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

        Actually, she can’t naturalize. One of the conditions* for naturalization is that you (or a family member) is able to provide for yourself financially.

        * There is one exception to that rule: Special Permanent Residents are allowed to naturalize regardless of their financial condition or ability to provide for themselves.

      • Steve Jackman

        Well, Eido, in that case, let’s just throw her under the bus, shall we? Or, would you prefer that we deport her to China (even though, she was born in Japan and has lived her entire life here)?

      • Anon0920

        Thinking of it if it was my grandmother, and we happened to have lived the zainichi lifestyle wherein born and raised in Japan…

        For 1, why didn’t we naturalize sooner? Ever so, if it was my grandmother wouldn’t the family member (me in this hypothetical) of the grandmother be able to provide the proof that they would provide for the grandmother financially and thereupon give the grandmother the ability to naturalize?

  • Ron NJ

    Glad I pay taxes for services I can’t even use. Thanks, Japan!

    • Gordon Graham

      Be thankful you have a job to pay taxes.

      • Ron NJ

        You forgot “if you don’t like it, go back to your own country”.

      • Gordon Graham

        That goes without saying

  • Gee Hendricks

    Good decision on the part of the leaders of Japan, I say. They look across the Pacific and see illegal immigration tearing apart the very fabric of American society, and they don’t want to suffer the same fate. Here in the US, a once mighty nation is seeing its finances bled dry by illegal immigrants, freeloaders, single mother welfare recipients and takers. Japan isn’t having any of this nonsense, and I wish my country’s leaders would stand up and do the same thing, the right thing.

    • Steve Jackman

      Where does this decision by the Supreme Court of Japan to deny welfare benefits to legal permanent residents mention anything about illegal immigrants? I hope you can read the news story before commenting on it.

      • http://www.liberaljungle.com/ Wanna Talk

        It appears that she had savings.

      • Steve Jackman

        How much in savings did she have? ichi man Yen?

      • http://www.liberaljungle.com/ Wanna Talk

        Go sen man en ijo motte itara, moraenai ka mo shirenai.

        Hey, “yen” is spelled “en” in nihongo, pal.

      • phu

        Of course. Because romaji is how Japanese “spell” their words.

      • http://www.liberaljungle.com/ Wanna Talk

        What about the rest?

        福祉を貰って海外旅行をするのかな?

      • Steve Jackman

        Wow, really? How interesting, genius! Inspite of your self-proclaimed mastery of the Japanese language, you obviously fail to understand two key points about the Supreme Court ruling, which is based on a double standard, racism and discrimination against tax-paying permanent residents of Japan.

        First, Japanese citizens CAN have personal savings and still qualify for welfare benefits, but not permanent residents according to this ruling. Second, the Supreme Court ruling means that non-Japanese permanent residents will be denied welfare benefits, even when, they have no savings. Got that, Mr. en?

      • http://www.liberaljungle.com/ Wanna Talk

        中国へ帰ればどう?

      • Steve Jackman

        Let’s not change the subject.

      • S. Urista

        To be fair, in this specific case, I believe the benefits in question relate to the 生活保護法. I don’t know how this is funded, but I believe there is a mean-test to receive these specific benefits. I’m perfectly fine with that.

        My concern is the implications of defining eligibility based on citizenship, not residence or previous money paid into the system on the understanding that the user would receive those benefits if eligible.

  • Jay

    I just spoke to two elderly foreign professors, living on Japanese pensions. They have to continue working in the their early 70s because their pensions aren’t nearly enough to live on. That, for a life time of payment into the system. But the real shocker is that, had they worked less than the minimum 25 years, they could have lost ALL of their pension premiums and received nothing at all. Not immediately relevant, perhaps, except that the rules for “foreigners” receiving pensions is different than for Japanese nationals, but the rules for payment into the system are the same.

    • Gordon Graham

      There’s nothing in the coffers, they should have saved their money. Professors make a handsome income. Over 25 years of it should be enough to sustain them.

      • http://www.liberaljungle.com/ Wanna Talk

        Yes, the pay is incredibly high.

      • Roan Suda

        I agree–and I’m a retired professor and still work…

  • Roan Suda

    Two commentators here have resorted to the all-purpose American swear word “racist” in characterizing the admittedly disheartening Supreme Court ruling. No. A Japanese-Peruvian or a Japanese-Canadian without Japanese citizenship would presumably be in the same pickle…Japan’s Supreme Court, unlike its US counterpart, for example, does not legislate from the bench; it tends to interpret the law quite narrowly, cautiously, and sometimes pig-headedly. But laws change, sometimes for the better. Children of non-Japanese fathers were once denied Japanese citizenship, with the assent of the SCJ. But the judges knew that the Diet would eventually act to change the law. For the the usual gang of Nippon-bashers, stories such as this are red meat, but the fact is that Japan is not the sort of cold-hearted society that will allow this woman to starve.

    • http://www.an-chan.net/ Antoine B.

      If you prefer the word xenophobia, you are welcome and it’s not making the Supreme Court look better… (accuracy isn’t prettier) Your argument is missing the point.

      • Roan Suda

        Do Japanese ever make unkind and stupid remarks about “gaijin”? Yes. But how are the Japanese, as a people and as a government, any more “xenophobic” than, par exemple, la douce France? And how am I “missing the point”?

      • Steve Jackman

        “Do Japanese ever make unkind and stupid remarks about “gaijin”? Yes.”

        That is a huge understatement. If there were a world championship of racism, Japan would surely win hands down.

        The difference between racism in a country like France is that, unlike Japan, France is not a racist state, even though, France has racist elements (i.e., far right groups). The state institutions of France, such as its government, police and judiciary are not racist and xenophobic like Japan.

      • Roan Suda

        The ignorance on display here would be breathtaking were one not aware of Monsieur Jackman’s many other inane, misinformed, hate-filled posts. I suspect that I know a great deal more about France and its troubled history than does SJ, but comparisons will only distract. Still, briefly: The French “solution” to the problem of racism is to say that for the purposes of the state, racial and ethnic differences simply do not exist. In practice, this means papering over serious problems, such as virulent anti-Semitism. (Just last week a mob in Paris kept Jewish worshipers trapped in their synogogue until the slow-acting police arrived.) America has in recently years abandoned e pluribus unum (except as misunderstood by illiterate Al Gore) in favor of obsessing about racial/ethnic identity. Ironically, Japan is more like France in that regard, causing demagogues like Arudou Debito, who in that sense seeks to Americanize Japan, to foam at the mouth…The claim that Japan would win a worldwide competition for the dubious distinction of “most racist” is beyond laughable. Look around you! North Korea, South Korea, China…Get out your map of the world! But then you live here, do you not? Why? Out of sheer masochism?

      • Steve Jackman

        Judging from your comment, you don’t seem to know as much about France as you claim. The official French policy is very much to give immigrants full and equal rights. In return, they just want immigrants to assimilate into French society. I see nothing wrong with this policy, since immigrants should make all efforts to assimilate.

        Now, compare this French model to Japan. Unlike France, Japan does NOT want immigrants to assimilate. Japan does everything to “other” immigrants and foreign residents by constantly reminding them that they are outsiders who should not be expected to be treated the same as Japanese. This is a huge difference between France and Japan.

        In regards to my posts about Japan, I think you misunderstand. I love Japan and care for it deeply. That is why I want Japan to improve in the areas where I feel it is weak. My comments are absolutely not driven by a hatred of Japan, as you mistakenly think.

      • Roan Suda

        You begin with a dangling modifier, suggesting a poor command of written English…Voulez-vous que je m’exprime en francais? No, I don’t suppose you do…You are dreaming, mon ami…Some immigrants to France assimilate; many do not…I have been seeing this perhaps before you were born..And I once shared your liberal delusions…What does “assimilation” mean? A French-Vietnamese Catholic has it a lot easier than an Algerian-French Muslim or, for that matter, a Moroccan-French Jew…Try walking around certain areas of Paris wearing a yarmulke! I wouldn’t want to do that, though it is perfectly safe to do so in Tokyo, just as a Korean woman can operate a snack bar, dressed in hanbok, with, for all I know, portraits of Kim Jong-Un on the wall…
        You want Japan to “improve”; so do we all. I just don’t want it to imitate what I guess is the land of your birth–and thus go down the drain…

      • Steve Jackman

        Showing off your (limited) French language skills, eh? I too am tempted to show off my Swahili, but I’ll resist the urge. Your vanity and conceit are truly outstanding. It reminds me of a stubborn, self-centered and crusty old Ojii-san I know, who has blinders on, but happens to think he’s the center of the universe. Never interests me in trying to have a rational discussion with people like that.

      • Gordon Graham

        His French and your Swahili are besides the point. Didn’t the French State also outlaw the burka being worn in schools?

      • daimos

        Again Mr. Jackman, I agree with you. All the way, yet best of all, with your deep care about Japan. We voice out our argument not as hatred but as a tool to improve what is defective.

      • Gordon Graham

        Check out Mr.Jackman’s history of statements and please point out some amicable suggestions rather than acetous indignation he spits out with rancour. If Japan were his wife she would have divorced him long ago…

  • wada

    Although foreigners with permanent residency lost in Supreme Court, they can receive welfare benefits. Therefore, 82-year-old Chinese woman welfare is guaranteed by the local government.

    • http://www.an-chan.net/ Antoine B.

      which looks pretty stupid, don’t you think?

      • wada

        My sentiment is that they are kindness.

        1. Supreme Court didn’t deny welfare for her from the local government.
        2. The local government can keep giving welfare to her after this judgment.
        3. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has not instructed local governments to stop welfare to foreigners with permanent residency yet.

      • S. Urista

        No, they’ve instructed that they can not pay foreigners if they don’t want to.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    Thank you for all your work and taxes, now please go back to your country to die.

    • Gordon Graham

      On you way out, don’t forget to say thanks for the living you’ve provided me.

      • Steve Jackman

        It goes both ways. Japan should be thanking foreign workers for bringing their professional skills and for enriching the social fabric of Japanese society.

      • Gordon Graham

        Renewing their visas is Japan’s way of saying thanks.

      • Steve Jackman

        Sure, that and allowing them to breathe the same free air.

      • Gordon Graham

        Amazing how many agree in writing to it.

      • CLJF

        Japan’s bureaucracy and rules are discriminatory and racist and something I shouldn’t have to put up with but am forced to because I love this country and wish to be here despite its appalling politics and bureaucracy. But this sort of appalling decision by the court is one of the reasons I’m not going to live out the rest of my days here; I resent being forced to pay into a pension system that will likely have nothing left for me to draw as benefits because it’s too focussed on doling out overgenerous pension payments to the old who vote while leaving younger generations to rot, and although happy to garnishee exorbitant payments from my salary every month, would consider me person non-grata should I ever want to actually get some of it back as a benefit simply because I have the temerity to not be a citizen (and the kind of hoops I would have to jump through to become a citizen are so numerous and onerous…why, it’s as if the government is doing all it can to discourage foreigners from undertaking the process). Just because one has no choice but to ‘sign up’ to the system when they came here, does not mean it is fair, right or just and shouldn’t be changed.

      • 脚線美あると思いますか?

        Gordon is just egging everyone on. Personally, after reading his posts, I believe he is probably actively fighting to get it overturned.
        You will get your pension if you stay here. Trying to take back what you gave is difficult. Plus you are grandfathered in if you have permanent residency. That starts your other part of the pension from as if you lived here all your life.
        I will not become a citizen here due to the fact I would be killed on taxes for my million dollar investments stateside.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        Just barely.

      • Gordon Graham

        So, your lack of success in life is their fault?

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        Do you get a monthly stipend from Yasukuni for flaming everyone who ever says anything remotely negative about Japan Gordon? Have you NEVER had any negative experience here that was due to your not being a native of these isles? If so congratulations. It might surprise you to hear that others have different stories to tell. And my lack of financial success is most certainly due to both inequalities regarding non-Japanese employees AND the flouting of what little protection is provided by law.

      • Gordon Graham

        No, I’ve never had any negative experience since coming here 28 years ago this week. Oh, wait once a Japanese guy around 65 said “Hey foreigner you’re a long way from home aren’t you?” in a bar…That’s it. I’m certainly against racist banners at soccer games or anywhere else. I’m also angered by the racist right wingers who spit their hatred at rallies in Koreantown. I’m put off by the way a lot of Japanese eat and I hate the phrase sho ga nai if that means anything. That said, I don’t see a problem with welfare being available for Japanese citizens only. As for your lack of financial success, I presume you agreed to the terms of your salary which were predicated on the skills and credentials you brought with you from your native country. If for example you teach English but don’t have a teaching degree issued in Japan, then I would presume a Japanese teacher with the proper credentials would have a higher salary than you. If you are a doctor with a license obtained from a country with lower medical standards than Japan then I assume you would need to upgrade your medical training to get on par with Japanese standards in that field. Whatever choices you’ve made before coming to Japan have a bearing on what your salary is here. Upgrading your credentials is up to you.

  • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

    All the “I pay taxes therefore I think I am entitled to receive…” comments are amusing. Sovereign countries are not service organizations. Taxes help fund services, but a tax is not a “fee for services”. Paying taxes is a responsibility/duty (often enshrined in the constitution) that is not connected or a prerequisite to receiving your rights. People that don’t pay taxes? They can still vote. AND receive welfare. And if you choose not to use or don’t need your rights or benefits, you still have to pay your taxes — because it’s not a fee.

    (American: “Oh, no thank you, America, I choose not to vote or use your roads or schools. In fact, I don’t even live in the U.S. anymore, so I don’t think I have to file 1040s and/or pay taxes.” U.S. government to American [citizen/national or foreign permanent resident/LPR (!)]: “No, wrong.”)

    This isn’t unique to Japan. All countries tax in one form or another, and the duty of taxation is almost always disconnected from/not linked to the receiving of rights or services. Both for nationals and non-nationals.

    • http://www.an-chan.net/ Antoine B.

      Of course you are right, technically. But behaving with a minimum of fairness is what is expected from ANY government.
      Tell us why denying welfare for PR having paid taxes for a long long time is a good thing? Oh, and please don’t say that “it’s the law”: the Law and “the right thing” are often very far away :-)

      • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

        Not saying it’s a good thing. Actually, I think that governments (including Japan) should give welfare to non-citizens that are unable to return to their countries and/or are in Japan involuntarily. In Japan, this includes (but is not limited to) refugees and SPRs — but not PRs; you qualify for PR by showing that you can live in Japan, not by showing that you can’t live in your previous country.

        Are governments obligated to take care of all people that voluntarily come to their country? I think the government that you’re legally linked to — your nationality — is responsible for taking care of you if you can’t take care of yourself.

        If you’re destitute in a foreign country (either living/working or a tourist), your own government — that’s the one on your passport — should take care of you. Either fly you home and/or put you on their welfare system. Perhaps with some assistance from the country hosting you: for example, a one-way airplane ticket back to your country of nationality.

        If you want Japan to take care of you, there’s a way to do that. It’s called naturalization.

      • Steve Jackman

        As I wrote in my response to your other comment below, social welfare programs in Japan (and the Western countries on which this system is based) operate as an insurance policy for residents of the country, should they become sick, unemployed, disabled or too feeble to care for themselves in old age. Nobody buys an insurance plan in the hope that they will need its benefits, but that is why it is called “insurance”.

        It is unfair and discriminatory for Japan to demand that non-Japanese permanent residents of the country pay insurance premiums in the form of consumption and other taxes, but that they are barred from ever receiving the benefits of the insurance policy should they find themselves in need.

        This is why foreign tourists to Japan can get a refund of co sumption taxes (since Japan is not liable for their welfare while they are visiting the country), but non-Japanese residents of Japan do not qualify to receive a refund of consumption taxes they pay for goods and services consumed in Japan. It is simply unfair and wrong for Japan to extract insurance premiums for social welfare programs from non-Japanese residents, without enrolling them in the insurance policy of its social welfare programs.

      • Gordon Graham

        The agreement upon which foreigners enter Japan is that they have a secure source of income or enough funds to sustain themselves. If they are unable to fulfil the terms of the agreement then they are obligated to leave. They are not the responsibility of the State.

      • Anon0920

        Of course you are right, technically.

        And technically is all that matters.

    • Steve Jackman

      Hold your horses, Eido! Do you even know the sources of funding for social welfare benefits in Japan? I think not, so allow me to educate you a little on this point.

      The Japanese consumption tax is currently 8 percent and is on course to be raised to 10 percent (it was raised from 3 to 5 percent in 1996 and again to 8 percent earlier this year). In Japan, this consumption tax funds social welfare benefits. In fact, the Japanese government has used the continued sustainability of social welfare benefits as a key reason for increasing the consumption tax in 1996 and earlier this year.

      Contrary to your comment, paying consumption tax in Japan is not optional for either Japanese citizens or non-Japanese permanent residents. Since, non-Japanese rsidents of Japan pay the same consumption tax as Japanese citizens, they should be entitled to the same level of social welfare benefits.

      • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

        Please reread my comment. I see you latched on to the word “funding” but failed to understand the rest of it.

      • Steve Jackman

        I understand your comment completely, but I think your premise is wrong. You wrote, “People that don’t pay taxes? They can still vote.” However, your statement applies only to income taxes and the like, not to consumption tax (since, you cannot live in Japan and be a “People that don’t pay taxes”, as you wrote). If you live in Japan, it is impossible to not pay consumption taxes, since they are levied on almost all goods and services. Hence, my point that non-Japanese permanent residents should be entitled to the same welfare benefits as Japanese citizens. Can you explain to me what you think I’m missing about your earlier comment?

      • daimos

        Mr. Jackman , I agree with you 100%. Why some think that welfare are being asked for free here, is beyond me.

      • Steve Jackman

        “And no “fee” is not a “meaningless semantic.”

        Yes, it is in this case, since nobody said taxes are a fee. However, I hope you know that the Japanese social welfare system (and the Western ones in which it is based) have a strong inusrance basis to them. They are essentially like insurance plans, into which everyone pays premiums, so that in case one of them becomes sick, disabled, unemployed, elderly and unable to care for themselves, the insurance pool into which everyone has conributed into would cover their needs.

        The injustice of the Supreme Court’s ruling is that it prohibits a permanent resident of Japan from enjoying the same benefits as Japanese citizens in their time of need, even though, they have both contributed exactly the same insurance premiums to to the insurance policy, in the form of consumption and other taxes.

      • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

        Japan is not an outlier here. In many other countries including the United States, non-citizens are either forbidden or restricted from receiving welfare benefits. In the case of the U.S., U.S. tax paying LPRs (legal permanent residents) cannot receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income aka “welfare”) — which is reserved for U.S. nationals which a few exceptions — and to even receive Social Security and Medicare (not welfare) — they must pay into the system for about ten (10) years.

      • Steve Jackman

        I’m afraid that’s just not correct, but I don’t have the time to go into the U.S system with you right now. Plus, I don’t want this discussion to go off into a tangent.

      • qwerty

        This is not America (as I’ve been told many times)

  • Shaun O’Dwyer

    The bigger issue is what message such a ruling sends to prospective immigrants, including the highly skilled ones who might like to hold onto their home country’s citizenship and who might also want to retire in Japan. An immigration-friendly country like Australia (yes I know, not friendly to some refugees) allows dual citizenship and also allows, after qualifying periods, for permanent residents to access welfare benefits. Other examples of developed countries with competitive, permanent resident friendly policies could also be given, I’m sure. I know there are some people on this thread who-because of voodoo economic assumptions-figure Japan can do just fine without a robust immigration program in the coming decades. But they aren’t being true friends to Japan in thinking that.

    • Gordon Graham

      An Island the size of California needs voodoo economics not an increase in it’s population of 130,000,000.

      • S. Urista

        Well, seeing as the population is falling, they at least probably need to maintain their population.

        I don’t think anyone disagrees that Japan needs to increase the *working* population.

      • Gordon Graham

        I think they need only increase taxes for a generation or two. A new economic model is needed the world over. The earth is dying. The cancer is man. How about an 8 day work week? Two people sharing one job…4 days on 4 days off. Job sharing…Not population explosion. Something to keep the cancer at bay is needed.

  • 脚線美あると思いますか?

    Gordon Graham is extremely confused. Go home sir. Your 27 years has been wasted.

    • Gordon Graham

      Not in the least…I’ve enjoyed myself thoroughly, from the moment I first stepped foot on her shores every single day in Japan has been a pleasure. If I’m in any way confused it’s because I’m delirious with fortune. Great Job, perfect family, wonderful friends, kind neighbours, …Just delirious! I’m not confused in the least about that which I value…loyalty for example…make the commitment to become a citizen and reap the benefits, refrain, then live with the consequences of your choice. Weep if you must but live with the consequences you will.
      Cheers!

  • warota

    Someone please explain to me how this isn’t equivalent to fraud.

    • Gordon Graham

      It breaks no contract. Foreign labourers are required to sign an agreement that states they are entitled to live here as long as they have secure employment or enough funds to sustain themselves.

      • warota

        Alright. Do you have a source?

        What happens to foreigners who have already been paying in for any number of years?

      • daimos

        quit it warota, mr graham just cannot see the difference from taxes and welfare that you pay for. he won’t be able to understand or refuse to understand that it is not the employment or sustainability we are questioning here but the fairness of having to collect in what we have invested in. ultimately he will claim that is it the law, just swallow it. never questioning how senseless it is, nor how silly it is. believe me I tried.

      • warota

        Don’t worry, I’ve dealt with Gordon in other threads so I’m aware of the kind of condescension he spouts from his bubble of privilege as a professional sports athlete.

        I went along with his claim asked Gordon half rhetorically for a source. If he produces anything, I’ll look it over and decide accordingly. Seeing as he hasn’t produced anything (thought so) likely means he just made it up or is echoing others without checking and is using it as a platform to allow him and others like him to shift blame onto the people who’ve paid in while talking about “responsibility” or “commitment” or what have you. A lot of good that will do for the poor and elderly who are the most dependent on it and are hit the hardest by the raised consumption tax that funds it.

        I could press him but I know I’d be wasting my time. The fact that he won’t produce proof or answer what happens to people who’ve paid already been paying in speaks for itself.

      • daimos

        warota; ha-ha-ha, OK, copy that!

  • aryllies

    I for one hope that Gordon Graham had an enjoyable afternoon in the company of some ad hominem comments.

    I will however allow myself to feel gloomy at the prospect of this new ruling.
    I hope it’s okay and doesn’t make me, in anyone’s eyes, an underhanded exploiter of the golden and evergreen nation that is Japan.

  • Gordon Graham

    His father didn’t register him at birth? Stupid rules you say…

  • warota

    “Sorry, those are the rules.”

  • warota

    No, this ruling only affects welfare. You can still apply for and receive welfare but it’s no longer guaranteed for non-citizens. You have no legal recourse now if you get denied however.

  • Gordon Graham

    She IS getting benefits.

  • Gordon Graham

    and IS receiving financial assistance…Again, you can enjoy the benefits of a citizen if you commit to becoming one.

  • Steve Jackman

    One cannot do such a simple comparison of social welfare in the U.S and Japan, since it is a little more complex and nuanced. It’s like comparing apples and oranges as there are significant differences between the two countries, not the least being that the U.S allows dual nationality by not forcing immigrants to renounce their other citizenship, so becoming an American citizen is a no brainer for them.

  • Steve Jackman

    “Simple as that.”

    Sure, for a simpleton like you, it is.

  • Justin Thyme

    All the comparisons with other countries here among the comments don’t change a thing. The fact is this ruling is discriminatory, unfair, and reeks of institutional racism.

    Whether or not there are other nations with similar or worse policies doesn’t make this matter any less unethical. Some of the comments here are in the realm of “two wrongs making a right” or “everyone else is doing it so why shouldn’t we.”

    I’d be equally outraged at such a ruling regardless of which country I lived in.

  • daimos

    OK, fine. Then why ask the foreigners to pay for welfare if they will not be entitled to it? I have no problem whatsoever if I do not receive welfare, just don’t ask me to pay for it though. No welfare, no contribution – simple as that.

  • Gordon Graham

    I’m against wasteful spending and fraudulent activities such as spousal visas parlayed into welfare freeloading.

  • OsFish

    I’m re-posting this comment that I made to the other main article on the ruling.

    The media presentation of this ruling has led to a huge amount of confusion and understandable panic. Some things really need to be cleared up, because the confusion is clearly causing people distress. Many people on *both* sides of the discussion here seem to have misunderstood what has happened.

    1. This ruling has *nothing* to do with anyone’s pension, or unemployment
    benefits, or health insurance. Nothing at all. People who are contributing through social insurance retain every right to receive what they are paying for. Social insurance systems typically don’t depend on nationality, they depend on working people paying in. It also has nothing to do with child benefit (kodomo teate) or various other generally universal benefits. I think the word “Welfare” has confused people. It has different meanings in different countries.

    This means that people who are protesting at how much they are contributing through their shakai hoken etc can relax. The ruling simply has nothing to do with those benefits at all. You will still receive them. In this light, it would perhaps be unwise for those contemplating it to opt out of social insurance based on the mistaken idea that they are being deprived of those benefits. You are not, and the contributions are still obligatory for those working full-time.

    2. This ruling concerns seikatsuhogo: Livelihood protection. This is a social *assistance* benefit. It is for people who have little or no income at all. This will
    typically be people who have not fully paid into the social insurance system. This is what happens in work-based social insurance systems. You need a supplementary social *assistance* system of means-tested benefits for those who fall through the gaps for various reasons. This may include an incomplete contributions record (which may be no fault of the person concerned). Not such a great number of people receive this benefit, possibly around 1% (mainly the elderly, disabled, and fatherless families). Seikatsuhogo, like social assistance in many parts of the world, is administered at the municipal level. The awarding of this benefit depends on an assessment of the applicant’s income. As such, applicants may not be successful if they have too much income.

    3. This ruling does *not* stop non-nationals from getting “livelihood protection”. This is where many headlines have been quite misleading. Although the livelihood protection law itself is explicitly limited to Japanese citizens, municipalities are actually under instruction through a notice from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (issued in 1954 and reconfirmed in 1990) to treat long-term non-Japanese residents (including, but not only, special permanent residents, permanent residents and refugees) precisely the same as Japanese citizens when assessing them for assistance. According to at least two people’s testimony I know of who work in this area, nothing has changed in that. Foreigners can and do receive livelihood protection welfare. Someone else in these comments quoted a figure of 46,000 households where this is happening.

    4. What the ruling appears to do is establish that the law itself is not a basis for a non-Japanese to receive these benefits. (Instead, the basis is the notice from the ministry). This produces the bad situation that appealing against a denial of livelihood protection cannot be done through legal argument from the law itself. That is, the rights of non-Japanese to appeal against a rejected application have, through this judgement’s clarification of the meaning of the law, effectively been curtailed.

    This raises the *possibility* that some municipalities may now choose to be harsher in their assessments, or simply cease providing livelihood protection to some or all categories of non-Japanese, on the understanding that the foreigner will clearly have more limited recourse. However, against that, the instructing notice from the Ministry is still in force. That is, municipalities are still expected to provide social assistance to long-term residents as if they were Japanese citizens.

    So while this ruling is certainly a cause for some serious concern because of the implications for future local government decisions, and personally speaking, I think it would be great if people could get angry about it and get the law itself amended, it is not the grand theft that some people believe that it is, and that media headlines in both English and Japanese have suggested.

  • Gordon Graham

    Where you’re wrong, Johnathan, is you claim to have equal rights to a system that you have not contributed to equally. That system has been built up over hundreds, no…thousands of years, through toil, hardship and struggle. It has become the system you chose to come to from a myriad of other systems and it’s the way it is because of the struggle and toil and sacrifice the Japanese people have put in and endured over centuries. You want to lay claim to that by virtue of being allowed to work and live here for what…the past 10 years? Sorry, Jonathan, it doesn’t work that way. This is the land of the Japanese, built up and maintained by the Japanese. It didn’t become the system you chose to live in in just the past 10 years, there has been far more investment in it than that. You want a piece of the pie, be worthy of becoming a citizen. It took centuries for this nation to become a place where you chose to work and live. Asking you to put in 10 some years of good behaviour is hardly an unfair request. Are you being asked to pay for something you won’t reap the benefits of…Well, you reap the benefit of helping the Japanese who have helped you by providing you a living…