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Depending on locale, single moms in Japan can depend on social support

16 Comments

Whether due to divorce, loss of spouse due to accident or disease or out of lifestyle choice, being a single mother can be difficult, and much has been reported about the economic, social and emotional burdens on women who raise children on their own. 

But when some males offer words of empathy, some women have been known to give upbeat responses like, "Well, I only have to cook for my kid, so it's simple." Or "Outlays for food don't come to much any more." Or "We waste a lot less food." Or even, "There's a lot fewer clothes to launder." 

So reports "lifestyle journalist" Rika Kashiwagi in Nikkan Gendai (Aug 21), in an article titled, "The merits of being a single mother." 

To examine the economic aspects of being unwed, let's look first at the monthly food budget of a husband and wife, which averages around 70,000 yen per month. Remove hubby from the picture and add a child, and the monthly outlay goes down by at least 20,000 yen. 

Many communities in Japan, moreover, provide rent subsidies to single-mother households. In Urayasu City in Chiba Prefecture, for example, they can receive as much as 15,000 yen. In Yamato City in Kanagawa Prefecture or Kunitachi City in Tokyo, the monthly stipend comes to 10,000 yen, and other provisions are available for divorcees. 

On the national level, a household with one child that earns an annual income of less than 1.6 million yen may be eligible for up to 42,000 yen per month in child support subsidies. If income increases the subsidy goes down, but even at under 3.65 million yen per year, each child will still be entitled to 10,120 yen per month. 

A special arrangement is also provided to single-mother households for health insurance. Under this scheme, those with annual income of under 1.3 million bear either 10% of costs or receive treatment for free. 

In the case of households where the father does not provide his ex with sufficient child support, other benefits may apply. 

In spite of these, Japan is still said to be inferior to many other countries in terms of benefits for single mothers. France, for example, is particularly generous, with some 30 types of family allotments; the amount available for a pre-school child said to be three times that of Japan. The size of the stipend varies depending on income and number of children, but for households with annual income of under the equivalent of 2.3 million yen, according to Kashiwagi, this comes to around of 50,000 to 60,000 yen, with an annual payment of 40,000 yen at the start of the child's new school year. And if mothers' don't take their child to a nursery, they also receive compensation for home care. 

While living in Australia, Kashiwagi shared a residence with a 37-year-old single mother and her 3-year old daughter. Without having to hold down a job, the woman was able to attend university, and several years later advanced to a high-paying career.  

Kashiwagi added that some communities in Japan supplement single mothers' income with tickets that pay for baby sitter services, a free pass aboard city transport, discounted prices for JR seasonal tickets and so on. 

Kashiwagi advises that if divorce is inevitable, a woman at the very least should peruse the home pages of community where she lives, or to where she might consider moving, to confirm what benefits and allotments might be available.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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I know many single dads with the same problems but why isn't it ever talked about?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Yes, more and more municipalities are ensuring policy is for "single parents". I wonder if the writers of JapanToday ignored that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wonder if the writers of JapanToday ignored that.

Er, @taj, it's a translation of an article that appeared in Nikkan Gendai.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

out of lifestyle choice, being a single mother can be difficult, and much has been reported about the economic, social and emotional burdens on women who raise children on their own. 

Why should the taxpayer subsidise women who choice to be a single parent, their choice they should be solely responsible.

Many communities in Japan, moreover, provide rent subsidies to single-mother households

On the national level, a household with one child that earns an annual income of less than 1.6 million yen may be eligible for up to 42,000 yen per month in child support subsidies. If income increases the subsidy goes down, but even at under 3.65 million yen per year, each child will still be entitled to 10,120 yen per month. 

Why keep the father in the picture when a single mother can freeload off the state.

The West introduced all these welfare benefits mainly for single mothers in 1970's its lead to generations living off the taxpayer.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Nothing wrong with being a single mother or father.

A "lifestyle choice" may mean one's partner was abusive or the relationship was not sustainable.

Don't let anyone try and make you ashamed for putting the child first by leaving a bad relationship.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Most single mothers are not in that position through choice. You should be asking about the absent and/or abusive fathers.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Yeah right, let's encourage Japanese moms to drop their husbands and just go away with their child, like they're already doing, and thus increasing the child abduction problems that's already all over the place in Japan.

Unless the diet doesn't approve some kind of joint custody, I don't think we should encourage single parenting.

(although I am aware that a lot of good Japanese single moms are stigmatized, and their husbands were just mean or violent to them, and in those cases, I absolutely think they should receive all the help they need).

It's true that there are some DV cases, but in Japan the law is just weak and incomplete and the false claims are not checked into, so a lot of good fathers are actually being kept away from their children by it.

The issue is complicated and the cases are extreme diverse from one another, but let's just drop the "good mom, bad father" stereotypical view for once.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Andrew Crisp

Why should the taxpayer subsidise women who choice to be a single parent...

Because we are civilized people living in a civilized society.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Because we are civilized people living in a civilized society.

Snap!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

This story is weak in that it mentions rent subsidies and other minor benefits, which don't amount to much, but doesn't mention the elephant in the room, seikatsu hogo welfare payments.

Women in Japan are badly paid, so the reality is that a single mother on seikatsu hogo may end up with a similar amount to other poor women who work full time. For older people, the same applies in that people who've contributed all their lives and are trying to get by on a pension can end up with less money than old people who've pleaded poverty and gone on seikatsu hogo welfare.

I am a socialist and do not oppose welfare. However, I think most people would have a problem with someone on welfare coming out with the same as someone working full time or someone who paid for their pension. Welfare is the same as any other system. There will be a way to game it and there will be winners and losers. If seikatsu hogo can pay the same as a low-earning husband you don't love, I'm afraid that provides a clear incentive to a wife to not bother with the husband. He doesn't have to beat you or abuse you or be nasty to the kids. He just has to earn not very much.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I find it odd talking about how they can "save money" by divorcing in terms of expenses. Uuh, wouldn't the household income also go down way more than what you'd make up in daily costs?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Parenting is a lot easier if there are two parents,a mother and a father to take care of the child.

Also, for the development of a child surely it is better to have a male presents and a female presence. However, some posters here may feel that being a single mother, bringing up a child alone and having all the anxiety and stress of juggling a job, home and parenting is a good thing?

I have seen many cases of single parenting where the child suffers from poverty, lack of educational attainment, unwanted influences and stress.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I know many single dads with the same problems but why isn't it ever talked about?

Simple because they are men!

I am ALL FOR spouses being assisted when they are in abusive & or dangerous situations!

However no fault divorce also is responsible for a LOT of single parent homes.

Not all men are abusive & not all women are innocent victims

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@kurisupisu

Parenting is a lot easier if there are two parents,a mother and a father to take care of the child.

Do you live in Japan by chance? I can only speak for my experience, but the majority of the mothers here that I know are pretty much the only parent to take care of the children. Dad is at work or nomikai 5-6 days a week, and come home long after children are in bed. On the weekends Dad is resting so unfortunately, a lot of times in this country the "father" is someone you never see, only have to clean up after and cook for. I'm actually guilty of sometimes being relieved when my husband is going to nomikai and doesn't need dinner. I wake up at 5:30am to prepare for my daughters school, I do research and translation from home as a part time job, do all the housework myself, take care of my child's school needs, help my elderly mother in law with whatever she needs, go grocery shopping, pick up my daughter, play with her (if there's not ANOTHER school function I need to attend), make her dinner, give her a bath and do her laundry and put her to bed. If my husband needs dinner for the night, I stay up sometimes until 11 or midnight waiting for him to come home so I can cook. I can't run on 5 hours of sleep and stay completely sane. So yeah, even though I love my husband and would die for him, sometimes it's easier when I just have to care for me and the kid.

I love my husband very much and he works incredibly hard, but I only see him one day a week and occasionally as he's walking out the door in the morning. I miss the days when we lived back in the States and we could share dinner together, go for walks, you know... be a family. But this is Japan. The family is the last thing the state and culture cares about. If you work in certain fields, you will almost never see your spouse and they will almost never see their children.

Occasionally my daughter will wake up extra early just to see her father off to work. She always says 'Come see us again Daddy!' as if he doesn't even live with us. It's heartbreaking every time.

So yeah, maybe some people here will decry single mothers but if you can't see any positivity in it then I guess you've never been in the right circumstances.

Sorry for the rant.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How sad the fragmentation of the family unit in modern society. It's the kids who suffer. Poor kids.

There is nothing more strengthening for a child than to be raised by it's own loving parents. There is nothing more demoralizing for a child than to be abandoned by one or both of them.

God help us parents to do our kids right.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

savethegaijin describes it well, but there is a lot of drudge involved with raising kids in Japan. It should not be necessary to get up at 5:30am to prepare for school. It should not be necessary to do laundry every day. It should not be necessary to attend frequent school functions. For many people though, that is reality.

If every household has someone who is happy to do all these things and is financially supported to not have to work, that is fine. The problem is that the percentage of such households is decreasing. Some women want to work, some people want to employ women for their skills, some women have to work to pay the bills, some families are single parent families.

Just me experience, but at my kids' schools, single mothers and working mothers do not get a pass on PTA. They have to turn up the same as anyone else. That can mean a four year old or younger child being left at home unattended.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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