May 13, 2011

JAPAN: Nearly 2 million people on welfare

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TOKYO / The Japan Times / Life in Japan / May 13, 2011

Kyodo

There were 1,989,769 people on welfare as of February, but the number probably would have topped 2 million if data from Fukushima Prefecture had been included, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Thursday.

Fukushima's data were unavailable because the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disrupted many local government functions.

The national total for February is more likely to be close to the record monthly average of about 2.04 million set in fiscal 1952, when the country was still recovering from the war.

In Fukushima Prefecture, about 16,000 people were living on welfare as of January.

The figure may continue to rise for some time because many people who lost their homes and jobs in the twin disaster are likely to have started claiming welfare benefits in March, officials said.

(C) The Japan Times