Per this link, it looks like the new Hatoyama Government is quickly moving to raise the money the government needs to deliver on promises made in the August campaign.
My take on the recent news is that the new government wants to send a signal that it’s really serious about making changes. So it’s willing to suspend plans that were put forth by the outgoing (Aso) administration. And if they can do that immediately, then fine.
That is democratic government in action.
Two things that seem high on the list are giving money to parents with children, and getting rid of the tolls on highways.
A lot of folks don’t realize this, but in Japan the government really doesn’t help you at all if you have children. It’s one of the reasons for the low birth rate here. The gentle irony, is that some of the people who are the most nationalist about “the Japanese” as “a people”, are the same ones who didn’t like the idea of giving $250 or $300 a month to parents as a child subsidy.
In America, the government has given money as support through the tax code for as long as I remember. I think it’s about $125 a child right now, done as a credit and deduction to the tax return.
So it’s really good that Minshuto is working to show this support. I don’t have children, but I can easily see that for folks that do, any extra money helps. And moreover, this is the next generation. These little kids are the ones who will be making things happen in the 2030’s and on. So we all have an obligation to see that the generation is successful.
To my following that is on the pension-and-visa issue, I want to point out that the new government is serious about the issues they ran on. And one of them was 70,000 yen pension minimum for everyone (probably pro-rated if you showed up sometime after adulthood).
So what I interpret this to mean, is that the government is going to be looking for folks to pay their pension contributions unless they have a justifiable hardship.
I invite comments challenging that. But I don’t see how it will work any other way . . .