Social welfare in Japan

Social welfare in Japan

Social welfare, assistance for the ill or otherwise disabled and for the old, has long been provided in Japan by both the government and private companies. Beginning in the 1920s, the government enacted a series of welfare programs, based mainly on European models, to provide medical care and financial support. Government expenditures for all forms of social welfare increased from 6% of the national income in the early 1970s, to 18% in 1989. The mixture of public and private funding have created complex pension and insurance systems. But a much older tradition calls for support within the family and the local community, and this is one of the reasons why Japanese society is the way it is.

The futures of Japan's health and welfare systems are being shaped by the rapid aging of the population (see Elderly people in Japan). Medical insurance, health care for the elderly, and public health expenses constituted about 60% of social welfare and social security costs in 1975, while government pensions accounted for 20%. By the early 1980s, pensions accounted for nearly 50% of social welfare and social security expenditures because people were living longer after retirement. A fourfold increase in workers' individual contributions was projected by the twenty-first century.

Pension system

In Japan, pension system is very complex. There are three types of pensions arranged by the government and corporate organizations.

;An elementary part:Providing minimal benefits. A basic pension(premium is fixed amount);A secondary part:Providing benefits, based on income until retirements. Employees Pension Insurance、a Mutual Aid Pension(A premium is a fixed percentage of monthly income);A third part:Company Pensions(An Employees' Pension Fund, Tax-qualified Pension Plan. A premium depends on organizations)

After becoming an insured person of an employees' pension plan or a mutual-aid pension, a people are also regarded as an insured person of a basic pension automatically.

A major revision in the public pension system in 1986 unified several former plans into the single Employee Pension Insurance Plan. In addition to merging the former plans, the 1986 reform attempted to reduce benefits to hold down increases in worker contribution rates. It also established the right of women who did not work outside the home to pension benefits of their own, not only as a dependent of a worker. Everyone aged between twenty and sixty was a compulsory member of this Employee Pension Insurance Plan.

Despite complaints that these pensions amounted to little more than "spending money," an increasing number of people planning for their retirement counted on them as an important source of income. Benefits increased so that the basic monthly pension was about US$420 in 1987, with future payments adjusted to the consumer price index. Forty percent of elderly households in 1985 depended on various types of annuities and pensions as their only sources of income.

Some people are also eligible for corporate retirement allowances. About 90% of firms with thirty or more employees gave retirement allowances in the late 1980s, frequently as lump sum payments but increasingly in the form of annuities.

Public assistance

Japan also has public assistance programs benefiting about 1% of the population. About 33% of recipients are elderly people, 45% were households with sick or disabled members, and 14% are fatherless families, and 8% are in other categories.

Social Insurance

Companies in Japan are responsible for enrolling their employees in various social insurance nihongo |Social Insurance|社会保険,| Shakai Hoken systems, including health insurance, employee pension insurance, employment insurance, and workers' accident compensation insurance. The employer covers all costs for workers' accident compensation insurance, but payments to the other systems are shared by both employer and employee.

Minimum wage

The Minimum Wage Law, introduced in 1947 but not enacted until 1959, was designed to protect low-income workers. Minimum wage levels have been determined, according to both region and industry, by special councils composed of government, labor, and employment representatives.

ee also

*Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (Japan)
*Health care in Japan
*Social education in Japan
*Elderly people in Japan

References

* - [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/jptoc.html Japan]

External links

* [http://www.sia.go.jp/e/index.html Social Insurance Agency]
* [http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/index.html Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare]


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