According to Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare statistics, about 1.24 million people received public assistance in Japan in fiscal 2002. Of these recipients, 460,000 were foreign residents living in Japan. So a simple calculation reveals one-third of people receiving public assistance were foreigners.
Because private operators are cautious about renting housing to foreigners, many foreigners live in public housing. In some public housing complexes, 40 percent of residents are from overseas.
It is undeniable that many foreign laborers will settle in Japan and become elderly here in the future, so just how to cover their welfare costs will need to be discussed.
To prevent public assistance expenses from increasing, promoting collection of insurance premiums so these people meet the requirements to receive the national pension and national health insurance likely will become an issue that must be addressed.
Other issues to be considered include how to secure fair employment conditions, how to provide an education for foreign residents’ children, and how to deal with the financial burden local governments shoulder when preparing an environment in which these residents can live.
A huge number of foreigners have vanished after entering Japan and are staying here illegally. We also need to further strengthen the immigration control system and countermeasures against crimes committed by foreigners.
A Member of the House of Representatives
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外国人労働者受け入れの課題 (Problems with Acceptance of Foreign Workers)