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Japan: Single-Father Households Receive Government Support, Like Single-Mother Households

(Aug. 24, 2010) Japan's Amended Child Rearing Allowance Law (Law No. 40 of 2010) became effective on August 1, 2010. Now, single-father households may receive the same allowance from the government accorded to single-mother households. The Child Rearing Allowance Law had excluded single-father households from the low-income households qualified to receive a child-rearing allowance since the Law's enactment in 1961. (Law No. 238 of 1961.)

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Committee of the Diet (Japan's Parliament), the rationale for granting the allowance only to single-mother households was the difficulty that women had in finding employment with decent wages and the financial straits single-mother households often experienced as a result, compared with two-parent households and single-father households. Although it is still true that single-father households have more income on average than single-mother households, single-father households nevertheless, have been shown to have more financial difficulties than two-parent households. Also, more women have been able in recent years to engage in occupations with high remuneration. (Health, Labor and Welfare Committee Minutes, House of Councillors, No. 20 of 174th Diet Session (May 25, 2010).)