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Tabloid blasts growing numbers of foreign welfare chiselers

42 Comments

"Malicious Foreign Welfare Recipients Increasing Rapidly" screams the yellow and red headline emblazoned across the front page of Yukan Fuji (May 25). The accompanying banner, in inverse white characters on a red background, reads "meticulous investigation."

"If there's a way to receive something, I can't understand why you don't accept it. How stupid can Japanese be?" chuckles Mr A, a 26-year-old man who lives somewhere in the Kanto area. The son of parents from an unnamed southeast Asian country -- making A the second generation to live in Japan -- he works as a regular staff member of a manufacturing company.

A's newly purchased car, a Japanese model, cost 3 million yen. He can afford such goodies because he, his wife and their three children receive extra "pocket money" from the government.

"My wife began receiving welfare payments from last year," he tells the tabloid. "Including child support and other subsidies, she gets 200,000 yen per month. When combined with my take-home pay, we get over 500,000 yen per month, or about 6 million yen per year. "

In the past, recipients of welfare had been limited, by law, to "Individuals whose income from work is insufficient to meet necessary living costs," and by virtue of this, A should not be eligible. So how does he get away with it?

"Easy," he says. "I divorced my wife." And he did, on paper anyway. They still live together, so it's what one might call a divorce of convenience.

"My ex-wife went to the city office and claimed she lacked 'sufficient income to care for the children,' and she was promptly judged eligible and began receiving welfare payments," A confesses.

Should the authorities send a case worker to investigate, they would find the wife residing in a separate apartment, which she rents. But actually she continues to live together with her "former" husband.

"Once a month, a case worker will pay a visit, but since notification is always made in advance, all my wife has to do is take the kids over to the rental apartment ahead of time," he says.

Mr A tells Yukan Fuji that nearly all the inhabitants of the public housing development where he lives are foreigners.

"There are some Chinese and Indians, but people from my country are the most numerous, more than 300. Most of them are receiving welfare," he says.

Yukan Fuji remarks that indeed there may be foreigners whose difficult situation warrants welfare, but in the case of Mr A, we're looking at flat-out fraud.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, as of February 2012, 73,995 foreign nationals were receiving welfare payments -- more than double the figure of 2000, when the average for foreign recipients in any given month was 32,858 recipients.

An official at the health ministry told the reporter that foreigners deemed eligible to receive such payments include "Permanent residents and residents who are preparing for permanent status, those with officially recognized refugee status and those with Japanese spouses."

"There's no doubt that the number of foreigners taking advantage of flaws in the system has been increasing," says Professor Ryu Michinaka of Kansai University of International Studies. "Some take the form of spurious divorces or falsified documentation. Even in cases when the government offices suspect something illegal is going on, they'll invoke the 'language barrier' and just pretend they don't understand."

The foreign welfare chiselers also share the tricks of the trade with their compatriots, and parents also give advice to their children, creating next-generation social parasites.

"There aren't enough case workers to check out the applicants," adds Michinaka. "One case worker might have to cover 80 families, or sometimes even twice that number. Ironically, the total incomes for some of the families might be more than the caseworker earns in salary."

Japan needs to put its collective foot down and put an end this "haven" that makes it so easy for unscrupulous foreigners to feed at the public's expense, the article concludes.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
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People doing things like this and making the rest of us look bad REALLY make me mad, but....this comes just a day or so after a famous Japanese comedian earning 50mill plus admitted his Mother is receiving welfare despite his financial support - so it is hardly just a foreigner issue. I bet many many more Japanese are scamming the system than foreigners are! Just think of all the pensions that were being "collected" by 147 year olds. This article also doesnt mention whther or not the guys wife is actually Japanese? Probably because she actually IS, but then the headline wouldnt work, would it?

23 ( +24 / -2 )

So just for a bit of balanced reporting how many Japanese are receiving welfare payments as well? You can easily say 73,000 foreigners are and that sounds like a big number but what is the total percentage of foreigners to Japanese that are receiving these payments. Furthermore is this article claiming that not one Japanese person is using creative methods to collect extra monies? Unless this is outline this article is nothing more than a puff piece for xenophobia..... But does that really surprise.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

OMG, do you have any idea how many Japanese do this???? Many. Many do it because women want childcare so they can continue working. The problem is the way the rule is written. While I'm certainly not happy to be footing the bill for those who don't need the support, the government needs to change the rules and ensure this doesn't happen - and perhaps, offer more child support.

And interesting enough, the article doesn't state where Mr. A's wife is from. She could be Japanese for all we know.

Have to ask, who is costing Japan more? The foreigners who rob the system or the Japanese? Add in the welfare, the continuing to collect pension from dead relatives, the Japanese who won't pay taxes.... Tend to think that 'we" foreigners are actually a bit more honest - more so since the threat of our visa is now tied up in pension and health arae payments.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

I don't understand, how could a foreigner receives welfare ? She's not a citizen, non-citizen with non-skill work, couldn't the government just deport her ? Unless the wife is a Japanese ...

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

OMGhontoniMay. 28, 2012 - 07:18AM JST

People doing things like this and making the rest of us look bad REALLY make me mad,

People who think like you make the rest of us look really bad. What has it got do with you?

I, like 95% of non-Japanese residents here, pay my taxes and don't claim any welfare from the state. Next you'll be feeling responsible for the massacres in Syria or the the Euro monetary crises. Take a pill and relax and accept that it's people who tar all non-japanese with the same brush who have a problem and nothing you or anyone does or doesn't do will change their outlook.

The problem with the Japanese state is that it taxes us like a modern state but doesn't give us any of the benefits of a modern state. I'd rather my taxes went to some welfare recipient in Japan, deserving or not, than on a new shinkansen to nowhere or some far off land.

How much did Noda give away this weekend to some Pacific islands in the middle of nowhere?

5 ( +10 / -5 )

“My wife began receiving welfare payments from last year,”

So, not Mr. A. Unless the wife is also a non-Japanese, the article doesn't cite a single example where a non-Japanese would receive social welfare, fair or unfair one.

Even if the above is so, there is no indication that this would be a real problem. How many Japanese are claiming unfair social welfare in turn? How many elderly were "resting" for decades, when they actually were dead and stuffed in some closet so that family could keep receiving pension?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

As of last year (latest figures I could find) 2,050,000 people in Japan were receiving "seikatsu hogo" welfare payments. So 73,000 NJs would make up roughly 3.5 percent of recipients. To better grasp the situation it would probably help to have a breakdown of recent arrivals and zainichi Koreans/Chinese who have been here several generations and who are treated as "special permanent residents."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is the wife bucking the system not the foreigner-this article is short on facts and high on opinion....

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Nothing new here. So long as governments give out free money, as many people as possible will take advantage of it. This has been going on at least as far back as the Roman Empire, when farmers realized they could make more money by leaving their farms and moving to the city and go on welfare. Don't blame the folks that are taking advantage of it. That's just human nature. Blame the government for allowing it to happen.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Typical tabloid reporting, nobody wants to read about the foreigners who pay more tax per year than many Japanese earn do they...

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Sounds to me like this story was written by a xenophobic Japanese person and it is based purely on assumptions..

16 ( +19 / -2 )

People doing things like this and making the rest of us look bad REALLY make me mad,

People who think like you make the rest of us look really bad. What has it got do with you?

I, like 95% of non-Japanese residents here, pay my taxes and don't claim any welfare from the state. Next you'll be feeling responsible for the massacres in Syria or the the Euro monetary crises. Take a pill and relax and accept that it's people who tar all non-japanese with the same brush who have a problem and nothing you or anyone does or doesn't do will change their outlook.

?????!!!!!! Dog: either you have misunderstood my opinion, in which case read it again, or you have had a massive overreaction to a simple case of someone giving their opinion, in which case you are the one who needs to take a chill pill! Feeling responsible for the massacres in Syria??! What on earth are you on??!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Very dubious about the so-called "sources" here. I mean, Rupert Murdoch's papers are academic journals compared to tabloids here - let's be honest. Just another chance to kick foreigners and blame them for the ills in Japanese society - in reality the scamming and corruption is almost exclusively Japanese.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Little xenophobic tabloid looks for readers with a misleading title, the wife MUST be Japanese, and she is the one claiming welfare so she is the criminal one.

I did claim unemployment here once, but that is how the system designed, because the tax is calculated as a projection based on last year earnings and paid in advance so if you out of a job you and havent found new one in a year you in for a nasty tax surprise which will be approx what you got from the country as unemployment,besides, social welfare belongs to anyone paying taxes in the country regardless of their resident status.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I bet Debito's going to have a lot to say about this ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frankly this article looks a lot like a lie. Japanese newspapers have never hesitated in the past to name and shame those under investigation for crimes, so why is this person only referred to as Mr. A? I'm not disputing that this sort of thing goes on, merely that it is highly irregular that the person hasn't been named.

Oh, and I completely agree. The wife must be Japanese or as an unmarried, non-working individual she'd wouldn't qualify for a visa, and as such wouldn't be able to stay in Japan.

Nope, the problem here isn't foreigners, it's the Japanese finally realising in this economic crisis that they can still live a bubble economy lifestyle if they just play the system. Frankly most foreigners can't even read the paperwork required to apply for unemployment benefits.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The Japanese "Tabloids" are no better or worse than all the world's gutter press seeking to hold onto its readers in an ever decreasing market.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Where does the line for this start, I wanna go get me some.

Been paying lots of taxes here for years now i want to get some benefit for doing so, Im gonna get my hand out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was waiting for when this would start.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Only the wife is abusing the system. JT please ask the 'tabloid' for the nationality of the wife.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

In this sense, Europe is much worse.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Where can I sign up for 200000円 monthly welfare checks?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why publish something that has no evidence to the calmis it makes? This type of badly written article reminds me of one a while ago claiming foreigners were getting rich from staying in japanese prisons.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This article is the just evidence how serious Japan's recession is.

A lot of countries which are in chronic recession persecute foreign people in history. Government and people want to blame others for their severe situation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Its not only foreigner doing this. Sometimes its not even a trick - I know real divorced family that the women lives only on welfare but actually has a car from her former, etc., etc. Of coarse the car is not in her name and this goes on and on.

The real problem with this kind of semi-fraud is that those people don't look for job, don't give anything to the society - just consume. I guess the welfare should be less than one can make as a part time with not full working day. Than those people should have stimulus to get up and find a work and still being able to take care of kids, etc.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As bogva says, I don't know why people here are calling this article bull, but it can easily be imagined to be true. But it's not just the foreigners. I must say, the way this article is written is certainly "malicious".

BTW, I don't know if they are related to Yukan Fuji, but you can read the same article a day earlier (24th) on a certain web news. Maybe the source needs double checking.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

BTW, I don't know if they are related to Yukan Fuji, but you can read the same article a day earlier (24th) on a certain web news. Maybe the source needs double checking.

TSRnow, for your information, the dates of issue for all three of Tokyo's evening tabloids are always one day after they appear on the stands. If you saw the same story online, I suppose it was on the Fuji-Sankei news site, called zakzak.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What people reading this article don't understand is that a disproportionately number of immigrants relative to the population via percentage stay on welfare in any major industrialized country. This is true in the U.S, Canada, U.K, Sweden, Germany, France, Australia and yes even in Japan. There is no "xenophobia" ( a meaningless term at this point ) racism or anything. It's not about the indigenous people in these respective countries landing on welfare, but rather the HIGH percentage of immigrants that are on welfare.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This not only typical weekly magazine crap journalism, but especially bad crap journalism. The writing follows a typical weekly magazine pattern almost like a parody. Generalization, followed by an undocumented single anecdote and then garnished with quotes from a seeming expert--this time a professor--who makes more unsupported generalizations. There is nothing here that remotely resembles real investigative journalism, the pretense of "meticulous investigation" notwithstanding.

Even the "Mr. A" tale leaves questions unanswered. Is his wife Japanese? Why is this information not given?

And what makes Professor Ryu Michinaka such an expert in these matters? His remark that "Even in cases when the government offices suspect something illegal is going on, they'll invoke the 'language barrier' and just pretend they don't understand" sounds like the sort of gross unsupported generalization a bigot would make. Just because he is a professor does not make him an expert or even smart.

What is troublesome is that weekly magazines thrive on rubbish like this. That means there are millions of people who read this stuff uncritically. In this case the crap journalism is especially dangerous because it is sure to breed bigots and make people who are already bigots worse bigots.

This is truly the lowest piece of writing I have read in Japan Today. I am, however, glad you brought it to our attention.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This not only typical weekly magazine crap journalism, but especially bad crap journalism. The writing follows a typical weekly magazine pattern almost like a parody.

Except that it's an evening newspaper published by the Fuji-Sankei media group, not a magazine.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

SNAFU. As usual, when the going gets tough, blame the gaijin. Nothing new here. Move along.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The case described is a pretty mild form of welfare mooching. In European cities, we have whole segements of immigrant populations living on welfare. Compared to what would happen if Japan ever follows the misguided Europen immigration model, this is nothing.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

if foreigners did this in MY country it would piss me off. they can be pissed off but like many have said, foreign or not the system is being taken advantage of by Japanese as well, but that does not sell cheap rag mags at the news stand.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

frankly whats the big deal here?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Crap reporting as usual... give us the relative numbers. 1st... what percentage of the total "foreigners" living in Japan are receiving "welfare assistance" as opposed to the number of domestic Japanese receiving the same. They quote one number but give say they are "chislers" but we get zero in comparisons.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I sure that the number of foriegners claiming the pensions of their dead relatives in Japan is definitely increasing as well. However, the vast majority of fake centenarians shaming the nation remain Japanese ones. Let's take care of the big problem first shall we?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just because he is a professor does not make him an expert or even smart.

I remember one "professor" from a "prestigious university" saying that "Japanese race can do no bad things". This simply falls into line.

Japanese academia is far more thoroughly schooled than it is educated.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Willib.....I guess it serves two purposes; preventing crime and rioting while the money they get, they spend on food and other needs, and the money goes to the people at the top like any purchase.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gaijininfo said it rather succinctly,

"Nothing new here. So long as governments give out free money, as many people as possible will take advantage of it. This has been going on at least as far back as the Roman Empire, when farmers realized they could make more money by leaving their farms and moving to the city and go on welfare. Don't blame the folks that are taking advantage of it. That's just human nature. Blame the government for allowing t to happen."

Welfare programs in their various forms inevitably lend themselves to exploitaton, whether by nationals or others. It's part of the human condition. The solution is a tough pill to swallow ; end welfare programs or impose strict time limitations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes some foreigners try to screw the system, and get all the blame. But do not think Japanese are clean people, they are very clever in many fields that's one reason in this Country has so many unexplained Laws and regulations

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

People have been doing it for years! Look at us in the States. There are generations of people getting money from the government for free while the rest of us work to pay for it. Happens here all the time. Yeah someone should do something about but who will?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I stand corrected.

To screw the system in any country you have to know the system very well. This would exclude the majority of foreigners not born in Japan. The tabloid's Mr. A, the only research item provided by this tabloid, is not himself the manipulator. (It is not stated if she is Japanese or not.) The A family cannot lead a normal life because of their fraud and the benefits they get are not spectacular. The tabloid, of course, does not say how many Japanese are scamming the system.

The purpose of this article is to inflame hatred of foreigners. Indeed there are dreadful journals all over the world, but this article is about as low as crap journalism get. Elvis sightings are harmless. This is not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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