Resolution Requesting to Break the Chain of Poverty and to Realize Respectable Living for All People
It is said that Japan is an economic power, however, poverty and economic gaps are widening in this country and the number of people who are unable to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living is increasing.
Due to increase of unemployment, unstable employment, and jobs with lower pay, over 2 million people have faced the difficulties in maintaining livelihood, borrowed money from moneylenders at a high interest rate, and failed to be multiple borrowers. In addition, people lose their jobs, families, and houses one after another and such conditions reproduce and worsen from generation to generation, that is, the chain of poverty occurs. Tragedies are continuously reported that people who had been omitted from the society died from starvation or committed suicide because of economic hardship.
Under such situation, the public assistance is the final safety net for social security, however, welfare offices often illegally refuse even receipts of applications for the public assistance reasoning that "you can work", "you have a duty supporter", "you are homeless", "you have too high house rent", and so on. It is estimated that only 20% of those who are eligible to receive the public assistance actually receive welfare payments. Furthermore, the Public Assistance Law does not apply to foreign nationals and it has been practically applying mutatis mutandis to only a partial foreign nationals. Recently the government is accelerating measures to cut the budget for the public assistance by abolishing the additional public assistance for aging people, decreasing the additional public assistance for single mothers, lowering basic amounts, and restraining the application of the public assistance.
However, the state and local governments have the responsibility for breaking the chain of poverty and realizing respectable living for all people in light of Article 25 of the Constitution of Japan protecting the right to maintain wholesome and cultured living, Article 13 of the Constitution of Japan protecting the right to pursue happiness on the basis of the principle of individual dignity, and Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights requiring to ensure the realization of the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living.
Therefore, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations strongly urges the state and local governments to face the fact that poverty and the economic gaps are expanding and to undertake the following measures.
I. Public Assistance System
II. Improvement and Enhancement of Safety Net around the Public Assistance System
We have recognized that the JFBA has not actively acted for those who are economically vulnerable and has not made sufficient effort to resolve problems on the application for the public assistance and on homeless people. Therefore, we have firmly decided to make all our efforts to support those who are facing difficulties in maintaining their livelihood, and will conduct research, make recommendations, and support counseling services so that more attorneys would engage in the related activities.