Japan's Fresh Benefit Program Draws Mixed Reactions

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Nov. 14 (Jiji Press)--A benefit program to be implemented as part of the Japanese government's envisioned economic stimulus package has drawn mixed reactions, with some thanking for the speedy assistance for the needy and others complaining that low-income workers are being ignored.

Yumiko Watanabe, chief of Kidsdoor, a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization supporting poor child-rearing families, welcomed the 100,000-yen benefit program for people aged 18 or under, which is planned as a centerpiece of the new stimulus package to be compiled on Friday.

"Poor households are struggling to secure everyday food," Watanabe said. "We appreciate that the cash grant will be provided by year-end."

For the benefit program, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, Komeito, have agreed to provide 50,000 yen in cash per child by year-end and the remaining 50,000 yen in the form of shopping vouchers by next spring.

The ruling parties also agreed to introduce an annual household income cap for the program. A family comprising parents and two children will be ineligible for the benefits if its annual income totals 9.6 million yen or more.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press