As the country tries to take measures to recover from a lackluster economy, the Japanese government has found itself facing another major source of financial worries: the growing number of people on welfare. According to figures released on Monday by the Welfare Ministry, the country is facing an all time high in six months in October 2012 for people receiving welfare benefits.
The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare said that there are 2,142,580 people on welfare as of October 2012. The number of households on welfare also set a record number with 1,564,301. This is a slight increase from the numbers in September last year, with 2,133,905 people and 1,557,546 households receiving welfare benefits. Of the numbers in October, 298,328 households have members who are injured or sick, while 678,175 or 40 percent of households have members aged 65 years and above. This is somewhat worrying considering the rising number of senior citizens and the dwindling workforce in Japan.
It is precisely the cost of welfare benefits that led the Japanese government to consider reducing the rates in the budget for fiscal year 2013. The government’s Social Security Council has determined that the welfare benefits received by people are higher than the money spent by low-income workers. Adding in the years of deflation that the country has been experiencing, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has campaigned for at least a ten percent reduction of the current welfare rates.[ via RTT News ]