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Chapter 23 Social Security

  This chapter contains statistics on social security, including pensions, public medical insurance and social welfare.

System of social security and the brief history

  In 1950, the Council of Social Security System defined social security in its recommendations as follows. "It is a system in which measures are taken for economic security for sickness, injury, childbirth, disability, death, old age, unemployment, large families and other causes of impoverishment through insurance or direct payment by governments. It is also a system in which the needy will be guaranteed the minimum standard of living by national assistance. At the same time, public health and social welfare will be enhanced, whereby all people will be able to live their lives to which every person is entitled as a member of society."

  Historically, the scope of social security is based on this framework presented by the Council of the Social Security System. And since 1958, the Secretariat of the Council has been compiling social security statistics as "The Annual Report of Social Security Statistics."

  Subsequent to the reorganization of the Council of Social Security System in January 2001 into the Social Security Council under the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research has been compiling the Annual Report until now.

  The system and scope of social security are still based on the framework defined in the "recommendation" by the Council of Social Security System.

Total expenditure for social security

  The expenditure for social security is compiled from the budget and settlement statistics by the Executive Office of the Advisory Council on Social Security System.

Broad definition of social security

Narrow definition of social security

Social insurance - Association-managed health insurance, national health insurance, employees' pension, employees' pension fund, national pension, employment insurance, workmen's accident, compensation insurance, seamen's insurance, Government Officials Mutual Benefit Association and nursing care insurance

Public assistance - Public livelihood aid

Social welfare - Social aid for physically disabled persons, welfare for the aged, geriatric medicine, children's welfare, measures for physically and mentally disabled children, child-support allowance, mother-and-child welfare, school meals, national rehabilitation and relief assistance organization and other social welfare

Public health and medicine - Tuberculosis control measures, mental hygiene project, communicable diseases prevention, public health center, general waste treatment facilities, sewerage improvements, improvement of national and public medical organization and other public health measures

Health of the aged - Geriatric medicine etc.


Pension to civil servants, pension to local public officials, pension to the bereaved families of former military men and other pensions

Support to war victims

Pension to the bereaved families of the war dead, medical care for atomic bomb victims and other support to war victims

Social security-related programs

Housing, etc.

Construction of public houses, improvement of residential areas and electrification

Measures for employment (against unemployment)

Various projects against unemployment, promotion of the employment of persons in middle and old age and other measures for employment

Social security benefit

  The scope of social security benefits is decided by the following standards of social security provided by the International Labour Organization for international comparison.

1. The purpose of programs is to provide benefits for either risks or needs listed below.

  (1) Old age, (2) Bereaved families, (3) Disability benefits, (4) Industrial accidents, (5) Health and medical care, (6)Family benefits, (7) Unemployment, (8) Housing and (9) Public livelihood aid and others

2. The social security system is established by law, thereby granting specific rights to or imposing responsibilities upon people by governmental, quasi-governmental or independent organization.

3. A program is under the control of governmental, quasi-governmental or independent organization. Or, it is placed under the control of private organizations that are entrusted to execute the duties legally stipulated.

National Medical Care Expenditure

  The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare estimates medical care expenditure spent for medical services to sickness and injuries at medical organizations during the fiscal year under review.

Survey of Income Redistribution

  The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare conducts the survey to illuminate the effect produced by income redistribution through the social security system and taxation system by income bracket and by attributes of household and household members. The statistics thus obtained are used as basic materials for planning effective policies for the future. The first survey was implemented in 1962. Then, it was carried out in 1967 and 1972. Since then, it has been conducted every three years.

Social insurance

  Statistics concerning social insurance are mostly derived from administrative records.

  In 1922, a social insurance program that deserved to its name was established for the first time in Japan. However, the program was limited only to a short-term insurance scheme that would compensate for a suspension of income due to an illness or an injury caused by accident etc.

  Beginning in the mid-1930s, social insurance programs of Japan were rapidly improved and expanded. The systematic framework of an illness insurance program was established through the enactment of the National Health Insurance Law and the Employees' Health Insurance Law in 1938 and 1939 respectively. The framework of a long-term annuity insurance program was established by the enactment of the Seamen's Insurance Law in 1939 being followed by the Labourer's Annuity Law in March 1941.

  Subsequent to the end of World War II , the social security system was gradually developed and improved in the postwar growth of the economy. In 1961, a universal medical care insurance and pension system was started in which every Japanese person would be covered by public medical insurance and pension.

Medical care insurance

  Occupational insurance includes a health insurance program for general employees and health insurance plans for specific occupations such as day labourers and seamen and mutual aid associations for national government employees, etc. and private school personnel. The national health insurance program is operated by local governments. Health insurance schemes are divided into an association-managed health insurance plan established by the health insurance association and a government-managed health insurance plan for employees in small and medium-sized enterprises.

Annuity Pension insurance

  Occupational insurance includes welfare annuity insurance for general employees and various mutual aid associations. The national pension plan covers those people who are not members of other plan. There is also a welfare annuity fund from which the old-age pension of the welfare annuity insurance is partially paid and, in parallel, additional payments are made. At the same time, there is the national pension fund that fulfills similar functions to the welfare annuity fund. In addition, there is the farmers' pension fund in which farmers who satisfy certain requirements among the insured by the national pension plan can be members, who are entitled to a management transfer pension and a farmers' old-age pension.

Survey on Membership of Public Pensions

  The Administration Department of the Social Insurance Agency carries out a survey on each individual member of a household concerning his/her membership in public pensions. One purpose is to collect data on relationships between public pension membership, on the one hand, and household, employment and regional characteristics respectively on the other. Another purpose is to find out how widely information on the public pension scheme has spread among the general public and reasons why some people do not apply for membership. Its data are used as basic materials for the management of the public pension scheme.

Employment insurance

  This is an insurance program for people who are able to and wish to work but cannot find jobs.

Worker's accident compensation insurance

  This is an insurance program in which workers are compensated for their sickness or injuries incurred during their duties or commuting.


  The pension is a program in which the national government or a local public body pays a pension to public officials when they either retire or pass away after they have worked for a period of prescribed years or when they have been injured in connection with their duties. There are two pension plans: the war pension plan and the civil pension plan. This system was absorbed into the mutual benefit association in 1963, and so, the system applies only those who retired or died before 1962.


System of social welfare statistics and brief history

  When the "Disaster Relief Regulation" (a decree of the Cabinet in 1874), which paved the way for the public assistance system in Japan, was issued, social welfare statistics were not available. In 1886, the "Statistical Report on Home Affairs" was stipulated to specify which report forms should be used in reporting certain affairs. They included report forms on the disaster relief table, the table on burial of those found dead on the street and the account on foundlings and the cost of bringing up those children. This is the prototype of the present "Statistical Report on Social Welfare Administration." The first volume of the "Handbook of Social Work Statistics," which included reports submitted by prefectural governments based on the "Statistical Reports on Home Affairs," was issued in 1914. In 1938, when the Ministry of Health and Welfare was founded, some statistical reports on home affairs were transferred to the "Statistical Reports by the Ministry of Health and Welfare."

  After the end of WWII, the General Headquarters of the Allied Forces issued a memorandum concerning the development of social welfare. Based on the memorandum, the Ministry of Health and Welfare revised the "Statistical Reports by the Ministry of Health and Welfare" in 1950. In 1951, the revision came into force. The existing reporting system was established by the revision of 1956.

Administrative records on social welfare (Case Reports of Welfare Administration)

  The Ministry of Health and Welfare (currently the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare - MHLW) prepares the administrative records on social welfare based on the reports from prefectural governments and governments of designated cities. The reports are concerned with implementing organizations and social welfare facilities that are engaged in protection and relief assistance such as welfare office, child consultation center and women's consultation center. These organizations are required to submit reports in the forms stipulated for the administrative.

Survey of Social Welfare Facilities

  The Ministry of Health and Welfare (currently MHLW) has been conducting the survey since 1956. Its purpose is to grasp the fundamentals of social welfare facilities such as the number of social welfare facilities and information on employees and inmates. Its findings are used as basic materials for scientific and rational management of social welfare administration.

Survey of National Medical Care Insurance Services

  The survey was carried out since 1955 as the "Social Medical Survey" (Designated Statistics No. 79) which was composed of two pillars: "Sickness and Injury Survey" and "Survey of Medical Care." In 1974 the name of the survey was changed to the above title and conducted as a notified statistical survey to explore primarily medical services. In 1978, sickness and injuries were added as survey topics. In 1983, "geriatric medicine" was separated as a topic. The national health insurance program and the association-managed health insurance program were included as survey topics in 1986 and 1999 respectively.

  The survey is conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Comprehensive Survey of Living Condition of the People on Health and Welfare (Designated Statistics No. 116)

  Refer to Chapter 24 Health and Medical Care.


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