"Ashinaga" Student Aid Recipients Hit Record amid Virus Crisis

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Dec. 21 (Jiji Press)--The number of children receiving financial aid from the Ashinaga Foundation has hit a record high of 8,325 in fiscal 2021 amid the novel coronavirus crisis, according to the Japanese organization.

The foundation provides educational funding for children who have lost a parent or both parents due to illness, disaster or suicide. Many of the families of such children are in financial difficulties due to the pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the organization, which covered 3,994 parents or other guardians of high school students with aid from the group and received responses from 2,647 of them, the proportion of those having jobs stood at 74 pct, down from 81 pct in the previous 2018 survey, and their average disposable income in September stood at about 147,000 yen. Nearly 60 pct of those with jobs are nonregular workers.

About 20 pct of all respondents have changed or quit their jobs due to the COVID-19 fallout, with nearly half of them seeing their work contracts not renewed, according to the survey, conducted between Oct. 20 and Nov. 3.

"I was forced to quit my job because of the pandemic," one of the respondents said, adding: "My child, who wants to go to university, borrowed money from the Ashinaga program. We have little money now."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press