Official web site states basically no welfare for gaijin

It says:

Can workers from abroad get benefits […]?

Usually people who come […] to work can’t get public funds. ‘Public funds’ means most welfare benefits and local authority housing. You might be able to get free hospital treatment and your children will be allowed to go to state school.



Before someone sends the link to with a suitably angry rant, I should point out that this is what the UK says. Furthermore, even EU citizens coming to the UK will soon find their dole money cut faster than the natives.

Other news like over half of British female MPs feeling discriminated against in Parliament brings other ranting from the usual peanut gallery about Japan into focus.

This, of course, does not excuse Japan, but before people make offensive, discriminatory or racist comments about Japan, perhaps they ought to educate themselves on how their own country treats people in similar situations.


  1. Dedicated Whale Researcher

    What I find most compelling about The Other Place, is that by post 5 or so someone has already pointed out the difference between Welfare and All The Other Social Benefits You Pay With Taxes (Pension, Healthcare, etc etc etc), and that this applies to the Welfare clause and not Social Benefits. But every single person ignores that, misreading “Welfare” as “All Social Benefits”, completely rendering the conversation a dump. Alas.

    Japan protects its interests to ensure that others don’t come to Japan on a tax-paying job for a month, Get Laid Off, and spend years sucking up welfare.

    I feel for the old Chinese lady in the article (but mostly am super interested in hearing why she chose not to naturalize. Not SPECULATE as to why, but actually hear the real reason. Again, “alas”), but yeah it’s again more “How dare Japan do what all of our native countries Do Worse!”

    Japan could be better. And I think an exception should be made for Old Chinese Lady, because it makes sense. But that discussion has been poisoned by people who won’t recognize the difference between “Welfare” and “All Social Benefits You Pay For With Taxes”.

  2. I would at least include perms, if nothing else. Not that I am currently in danger of requiring welfare benefits (I haven’t naturalized yet because I have a permanent source of income in the US that I might lose if I did, and that kind of negates any need for welfare in the first place), but I think it would be more fair than it is now.

    There’s a lot of soul-searching that needs to be done regarding the increase of foreign workers to offset the population decline, and this wasn’t a really prudent decision in light of that. But I fear it’s impossible to even approach this subject with people who are already determined to us this as evidence that Japan’s nothing but an archipelago of hard-hearted meanies.

  3. The problem with the debate has been that the American usage of the word “welfare” has implied all forms of social security, including health insurance and pension contributions, when the court case seems very much based on the lady claiming exceptional assistance against poverty. It has lured out the Ayn Rand in Japan brigade onto the message boards as well as the usual crowd.

    That said, I still think the court decision was poor, partly because I would incline to a more European/ social democratic approach, and also as it seems the question of dual-nationality ( especially among Chinese and Korwan residents of Japan) requires more historical generosity.

  4. I don’t think the above comparison with the UK stands up. The Supreme Court decision applies to permanent residents in Japan, not “workers from abroad”. The last time I looked, permanent residents in the UK had full access to welfare and social security.


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