Japan sees record 2.05 million welfare recipients

A record 2.05 million people were living on welfare benefits in Japan in July, beating the previous record set 60 years ago in the aftermath of World War II, the government said Wednesday.

The report released by the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry said 2,050,495 people received benefits during the month, breaking the previous highest monthly average of 2,046,646 marked in 1951 when Japan started recording the data.

A ministry official said that the latest numbers reflected Japan’s economic doldrums and a rapidly greying society.

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Releasing 70,000 Psychiatric Patients Shows Japan Debt Task and Homeless Risk

In the hallway of St. Pierre Psychiatric Hospital north of Tokyo, an elderly woman sits on the floor next to a bulging brown duffle bag, her arms wrapped around her knees, mumbling about being taken home.

She has packed her things many times since she was admitted for schizophrenia more than 20 years ago, in the belief someone is coming to fetch her, said psychiatrist Manabu Yamazaki, the hospital’s owner.

Her hope mirrors that of the government, which wants to empty 70,000 beds to reduce the highest rate of psychiatric hospitalization among developed nations, lowering its 1.8 trillion yen $23.5 billion annual mental-health payments. Facing the world’s largest public debt and the fastest aging society, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is trying to curtail growth in the country’s 34.8 trillion yen-a-year health bill.

via Releasing 70,000 Psychiatric Patients Shows Japan Debt Task.