Japan has a social welfare system that is not as liberal as the United States.
In Japan, citizens do not have a right to be supported by the government, but rather people have the right "and the obligation" to work.
Applicants for welfare are required to seek help from their families before they can get welfare and a person who is able to work is not usually eligible for public assistance whether or not that person has a job. Caseworkers inspect recipients’ homes to make sure they do not have banned luxuries like cars or air conditioners.
In Japan, receiving welfare is a social stigma.
When Japanese people get their first full-time job, they are dubbed shakaijin, or "members of society."
Nevertheless, things are changing in Japan. The welfare population recently exceeded 2 million or about 1.8 percent of the population.
Still, that is less than the USA where 4.1 percent of Americans are on welfare, 15 percent receive food stamps, and 2.3 percent receive grants through the Supplemental Security Income program, which for many is a form of lifetime welfare.
Japan has no food stamps and relies on a single program of cash grants.
In Japan, the largest group of welfare recipients is the elderly, amounting to 44 percent of households getting aid. Households with a sick or handicapped person account for another 41 percent. About nine percent are single mothers. Most of these are divorced or widowed, rather than never married.
Only one percent of Japanese births are to unwed mothers. Forty percent of births in the United States are to unwed mothers.
Most single mothers in Japan do not get benefits because they have parents or other family members who can support them.
Still, as in the USA, Japanese welfare recipients can actually receive more money than they can from working at low-wage jobs, and, of course, it is a moral crime, whether in Japan or the USA, whenever people on welfare have a higher net income than those who are working and have to support those who do not work with their taxes.
Japanese House of Councilors member Satsuki Katayama (LDP), an outspoken politician on the topic of welfare, said, "The biggest problems are peoples' declining desire to work and morality…. Japan cannot be allowed to become a society where honesty doesn't pay."