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Even though the way people work is diversifying, Japan's social welfare system still ties people to being company employees, and has not caught up with present-day realities. I think we need a safety net that can catch everyone in Japan, by doing things like making small business owners eligible for workers' accident and employment insurance.

8 Comments

Lawyer and labor issue expert Yoshihito Kawakami.

© Mainichi Shimbun

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I went into Hello Work and applied for assistance since I lost my job. When they asked me if I was making any income, I honestly replied that I was trying to start my own business but I didn't have any customers so I hadn't made any money yet. So, they decided that I was self-employed and wouldn't give me any unemployment benefits even though my income at the time was zero.

They suggested I go to the city office instead. I went there but they didn't lower any of my health, pension or other payments (which were based on my income from the previous year which was high). They just allowed me to pay half every month but all the other half I didn't pay just became debt and late payments that I had to pay back later.

It was better to have lied and said I wasn't doing anything to help myself.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Japan's social welfare system still ties people to being company employees, and has not caught up with present-day realities.

I believe the bureaucracy is in many cases being deliberately obtuse to deny benefits. Things that were done in all other first world countries and were just common sense in pandemic relief: Linking subsidies to businesses like restaurants to payroll protection and prohibiting businesses receiving subsidies from firing or cutting the hours of employees, extending enhanced unemployment benefits to part time, gig and contract workers; Japan has failed to do. They didn't even move to relieve the tax burden on workers affected. Maybe GoTo was higher on their list of priorities.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It would be interesting to hear more details for making small business owners eligible for workers' accident and employment insurance.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

has not caught up with present-day realities.

I am working in a japanese company here since many years.

On my first day, there wasn't a PC or even a Copy machine in the office.

Within the last years, progresses were done, incl. company pension payment, business trip extra pays, overtime pays, weekend work pays...such things...

Japan's social welfare system still ties people to being company employees

I am counting already my days till my pension, but just a few days ago, my boss and the HR division asked me if I can extend my employment for another 3 years.

But the conditions they offered were ridicioulous!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

exactly

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is so true. The govt's strategy is maintaining well over full employment at any cost, and therefore not having to deal with creating a social safety net.

But the conditions they offered were ridicioulous!

I hope you said no. A friend at a Japanese bank was offered a quarter of regular salary for doing the same job, simply because he turned 60. Employers need a massive reality check, especially the ones crying about a "labour shortage."

9 ( +10 / -1 )

If pensions were based on your last three years of work, a lot of people should and would quit at 60.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I paid 13 years into the unemployment insurance "benefi" until March 2019. At that time I became a "freelance" mountain guide and tsuyaku annai and then Covid hit exactly a year later. I gaman suru with a part-time job I got from mid 2020 till February 2021. Then in April 2021 I tried applying for three unemployment insurance coz I really needed it this time but I'm not eligible because say the time of applying, I haven't been working at the same place for more than a year. Even though I've paid 13 years into the system.

Oh and of course my taxes/nenkin/med insurance are the highest I've ever paid in the 15 years I've been in Japan. Going to the city hall didn't help much, even though my 2020 yearly income was the lowest before that year, and this year is even lower.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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