08 April, 2009

Friendly Japansese bureaucracy

Both Japanese and Australian governments are currently giving out money to stimulate the economy. While I could delve into the wisdom of this, I am about as far from an economics major as you can get, so I'll keep my ill informed opinions to myself. But I can tell you about what it is like to apply for the money. Amazingly the government here has left it up to individual cities to design their own ways of making their residents apply for the money. We ourselves received 6 different envelopes, one for each member of the family, plus one extra. Our Japanese neighbours only received 2. Each envelope had about 3 sheets of paper in them...with over 120 million people in Japan, start to think about the cost. Lots of extra printing jobs for the printers! I didn't fill them out (that is my husband's 'job'), but a lot of stuff was written five times over. Then more people have been employed to answer questions and process the applications. After hearing that our colleagues in the north of Honshu had serious difficulties (they had to set up bank accounts in each of their names in order to receive the money, even the name of their baby), we decided to go to the city hall itself just to check that we'd done all the right things right, so to speak. We found a new temporary office set up at the city hall, just to deal with enquiries over these applications. It turns out that we had done everything correctly. And the money in our city is being handed to the head of the household, so no extra bank accounts are necessary. We do feel sorry for our friends in the north and hope that most other city/area governments are more sensible! Unfortunately, our youngest son is 28 days too young to receive one of the payments. But, really, the money is just a bonus, over and above the sufficient we already have, so we are grateful. Thankful for the abundance that we have, way and above what most people in this world survive on.

7 comments:

venzy said...

That's quite interesting - so you count as proper citizens for this and other such things? You have some kind of "permanent residency" visa or something? I've never really thought about that side of things.

Wendy said...

This is a payout for residents as of the 1st of February. We have missionary visas and yes we do qualify for various things including free medical care for under 6 year olds. We also received assistance for kindy fees as we qualified through the means test. All of this means forms in Japanese and visits to official offices. I am so glad for my friend Mrs Uchida who has helped me with so many of these things in the last 3 years.

JN said...

My envelope had 5 papers (3 double-sized and folded) plus an envelope. Such a very different experience from the American stimulus check, because checks aren't in common use in Japan.

Wendy said...

J, what did they have to do for the American money? Checks aren't common in Australia any more either. It's been a decade since I had a checkbook.

-J said...

They mailed my check to my Japan address, and I signed it and sent it to my U.S. bank to be deposited. How did Australia distribute theirs?

Wendy said...

I don't know, I assumed that because we are not resident in Australia we don't get anything. We don't get any other kind of benefit from there.

Catherine said...

Man, it all does seem a huge drain of money, once they add in the beaurocratic overheads. I wonder how much it will all really cost them?