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Japan PM Kishida vows to address lack of 100,000-yen handout to divorced single parents

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, answers a question from Liberal Democratic Party legislator Yoko Kamikawa during a House of Representatives Budget Committee session on Jan. 24, 2022. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Jan. 24 announced that the government will look into giving a 100,000-yen (about $880) handout to divorced single-parent households that earlier missed out on it.

    The government settled on the handout for families with children aged 18 or younger as part of measures to alleviate the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Under the current scheme, single parents raising children since divorcing in or after September 2021 are ineligible for the handout unless they were recipients of a child allowance for that month. Calls to fix the problem had been mounting among opposition parties.

    "The government would like to rectify the unfairness, and review the method and consider having the handouts reach (single-parent households)," Kishida told a House of Representatives Budget Committee session on the morning of Jan. 24.

    Kishida's statement came in response to a question posed by former Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa, who currently serves as executive acting secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

    Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi revealed during the same Budget Committee session that the government has lodged a protest with South Korea regarding the latter's backlash over Japan's Council for Cultural Affairs' selection of Sado Island gold and silver mines in Niigata Prefecture as a candidate for nomination for UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage list, after Seoul claimed that the mines used to be a venue for forced labor for people from the Korean Peninsula.

    "South Korea's unique position is utterly unacceptable, and we have lodged (a protest) with Seoul. It is extremely regrettable that there are many false reports in South Korea, and we'd like to explain our country's position to the international community," Hayashi said.

    The foreign minister's statement came in response to a question raised by LDP policy chief Sanae Takaichi.

    (Japanese original by Hiroyuki Tanaka and Jun Aoki, Political News Department)

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