• Tokyo


Regarding the April 17 editorial “Mr. Noda’s taxing problem“: These days Japanese social security systems are much talked about and it is said that they are poised at the crossroads. Not only pension and health insurance systems but also the fundamental welfare system has serious institutional problems and contradictions. The central government’s serious financial deficits will result in the unsustainability of these systems if their design is not changed.

I believe that Japanese society has become too lenient as it is inclined to rescue all those considered “weak people.” For example, the national health insurance system seems well designed, but I believe the government has been patching up its holes to placate elderly people and doctors’ vested interests.

Indeed, it is desirable that all citizens have equal access to medical treatment, but the fact is that hospitals have become a kind of meeting place for elderly people, who have become an increasingly profitable resource for hospitals and doctors.

The number of welfare recipients, meanwhile, has been bloating. These days, one in every 17 citizens is a welfare recipient in Osaka City. The number of young welfare recipients is growing exponentially. This welfare system is said to hamper young people’s motivation to work.

Can we call those who take excess payments and benefits from the government “weak people”? Before buckling down to discussing consumer tax hikes, we have to identify the “weak people” whom we really have to rescue.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

shuichi john watanabe

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