“I only have a pension of 200,000 won a month…” Why a single man in his 60s in Japan won’t accept government assistance
- on May 30, 2023
“I have very little savings and my pension is 20,000 yen per month. I have a medical condition, so I can’t quit my job because of the medical bills. Life is very difficult, but I don’t have anyone close to help me.” (Mr. Kato, a 64-year-old man living alone)
The Japanese magazine “Weekly SPA” reported on the situation of the elderly living alone who are struggling with loneliness and poverty on the 27th. Japan is the largest country for the elderly living alone, with more than 6.3 million 먹튀검증people in their 60s living alone. Among them, men who live alone often have poor health and life management and are often cut off from society, making “lonely deaths” a serious social problem.
The protagonist of the article, 64-year-old Mr. Kato, lives on a pension and a part-time job. He receives a monthly pension of 20,000 yen (about $190,000) and earns an additional 100,000 yen (about $95,000) a month by doing home care four days a week. But after paying her rent, living expenses, and medication (for sinusitis and arrhythmia), she has little money left over.
“In principle, I’m supposed to receive a pension at 65, but I don’t have enough money to live on, so I’ve been receiving it early, at 60,” said Mr. Kato, who has worked as a temporary worker all his life. “The pension amount is heavily reduced from the normal amount, and I currently receive about 20,000 yen.”
In Japan, like South Korea, the normal age to receive a public pension is 65. However, depending on your financial situation, you can start receiving your pension as early as age 60. In exchange, your pension will be reduced by 0.4% per month, up to a maximum of 24%, depending on how long you’ve been working. 84-year-old man who lived next door died in solitude
Mr. Kato lives in an old rental apartment in Tokyo that is 50 years old. The rent is only 25,000 yen (about $240,000) a month, so there are many single elderly people in similar situations to Mr. Kato. With so many elderly people living alone, lonely deaths are not uncommon.
“My next-door neighbor, a man in his late 80s, lived alone, and he died of loneliness not long ago. He talked to me before he died, and when I asked him why he didn’t receive ‘welfare’ (Korea’s basic living allowance system), he said, ‘I don’t want to because I’m embarrassed.’ I have a small income, such as a pension, and I’m eligible for welfare if I apply to the government, but I’m worried. For now, I’m surviving by working, but what will happen in the future…”
He cited his elderly parents in his hometown as another reason for not applying for welfare. “My parents in the countryside will be contacted by government offices, and it breaks my heart (to think of them being contacted),” he sighs.
Kato’s room is overflowing with items she picked up from the neighborhood. Unmarried and friendless, the internet is his only source of communication./Weekly Spa
✅”The internet is my lonely companion”
“I’ve been single all my life and don’t have any friends, so my only hobby is the internet,” said Mr. Kato. “I comment on news and videos, and the other day I talked to a chatGPT (artificial intelligence service), and the conversation went well.” “Sometimes I get into ‘comment fights’ on message boards, and I think that actually makes me feel less lonely.” In the heated debates of the internet comment section, there are many elderly people like Mr. Kato who are fighting loneliness.
Meanwhile, the article about Mr. Kato’s story has resonated in the online space, with more than 1,300 comments as of July 27. Many respondents praised Mr. Kato for working hard and making the best of his life without receiving government assistance (welfare). Japan does not have a system like South Korea’s, where the government gives hundreds of thousands of won to people who didn’t prepare for it when they were young, just because they are elderly.
One netizen, a man in his 30s, wrote, “Maybe when we get older, the retirement age will be 80, so it won’t be considered pitiful to work at 64 like Mr. Kato,” adding, “I want to take care of my health so that my body can last until then, and when I die, I will surely borrow someone’s hand, so I want to save the minimum amount of money and pass away without any life-saving measures.”