CHIBA — A Ghanaian man living in Japan filed a suit with the Chiba District Court on Dec. 14 calling for this east Japan city’s municipal government to retract its rejection of his application for public assistance because he is of foreign nationality, which he claims contravenes the Public Assistance Act.
According to the complaint and other sources, the 31-year-old man came to Japan to study Japanese and other subjects in 2015, and graduated from a Japanese language school. He obtained a work visa and employment at a bakery, but because he suffers from conditions including chronic renal failure, he had to undergo dialysis treatment three times a week.
In 2020, he obtained residency status aimed at getting treatment, but because he couldn’t work and has no family to rely on, he applied to the Chiba Municipal Government for public assistance in November 2021. In December, the city rejected his claim by stating he did not have a status of residency corresponding to a citizen as laid down in Article 1 of the Public Assistance Act, among other reasons.
Regarding who is included in the scope of citizens as described by Article 1 of the act, Japan’s Supreme Court indicated in a 2014 ruling that foreign nationals are not included. But the plaintiff’s side is arguing that it “should be understood to widely include foreign nationals living in Japan.” At a press conference, the plaintiff said he was anxious because he cannot live without dialysis, and that he needs the public assistance.
The city of Chiba’s municipal government said, “We will refrain from comment as we have yet to confirm the legal complaint.”
(Japanese original by Tatsuya Naganuma, Chiba Bureau)