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  Winter 2010

 Single Moms and All Children
Win Victory in Japan


Japan had a regime change last year. After a big fuss by activists, the new government decided to bring back "Additional Assistance for Families Headed by Single Mothers" in December 2009.

This system adds a certain amount of cash assistance for families on public assistance headed by single parents with children under 18. It was abolished in April 2009 after being gradually reduced since 2005. Instead of this "Additional Assistance", a "support" program for getting a job had been implemented for single moms.

Half of the mothers whose families receive public assistance are employed. However, many mothers still suffer problems due to hardships. These include difficulties after surviving domestic violence, sickness, and disability. (There are many children with developmental disabilities.) Also childrenís nonattendance at school, and a momís depression or sickness make problems for single mom families.

Moms are happy about the government bringing back the "Additional Assistance." It will enable them to pay the cost of school enrolment or school trips for their children. Or it will restore the amount of their money for food. This was decreased after abolishing the "Additional Assistance."

Regarding public assistance, we want the government to improve its operating system. Moreover, we must not forget about the single mothers who do not receive public assistance. Their income may be even less than those with public assistance. Therefore, the government should implement policies which can be a total support for single mothersí survival.

Poverty rates in Japan were announced recently. The poverty rate for children in families headed by single parents was 54.3%. What a terrible number!

Now the Japanese government is preparing to introduce a "Child Allowance"  like all European countries have. It will pay 13,000 Japanese Yen ($144 US) a month to all children. However, I believe that we definitely need further support for children.


Chieko Akaishi
Single MothersForum
(Translated by Shihoko Nakagawa)



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