真のジャーナリスト寺澤有・山岡俊介・白井康彦~物価偽装による生活保護費の大幅減額、世に蔓延る不正についてお話を伺いました Talking with outstanding real journalists ~Mr. Terasawa Yu, Yamaoka Shunsuke, Shirai Yasuhiko~ about social injustice including a drastic reduction in public assistance payments with price fraud


Due to new technology and social media, media landscape is shifting.


Although many people have gained access to mass communication, simply having the ability to communicate on a large scale doesn’t make a person a journalist.


A journalist is someone who regularly engage in gathering, processing and disseminating news and information to serve the public interest.


It is vital for people to understand which information is trustworthy and which information is unreliable, especially in this age of information overload.


On Saturday, November 11, 2023, we Hitomi Law Office members were lucky to have had the opportunity to talk with outstanding real journalists, Mr. Terasawa Yu, Mr. Yamaoka Shunsuke, Mr. Shirai Yasuhiko,


Mr. Shirai Yasuhiko is being thoroughly investigated for the worst level of statistical fraud carried out by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, “price falsification.”


Mr.Terasawa Yu is the only Japanese person selected as one of the “100 Heroes of the World Who Fight for a Free Press” by the international journalist group “Reporters Without Borders.’”


Mr. Yamaoka Shunsuke is an editor-in-chief of “Access Journal,” a web magazine that distributes a wide range of topics from listed companies, politicians, organized crime groups, the entertainment world, to anti-nuclear power plants, Inheriting the will of “The truth behind rumors”, there’s no taboo.
He stopped Amway Japan’s over-the-counter listings and had Chairman Takefuji, giant consumer finance company at that time, arrested.


We Hitomi Law Office members were lucky to have had the opportunity to talk with outstanding real journalists, Mr. Terasawa Yu, Yamaoka Shunsuke, Shirai Yasuhiko, about social injustice including a drastic reduction in public assistance payments with price fraud.


Japanese government lowered the amount of welfare payments by maximum level in 2013.


In making revisions, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has done “distortion adjustment” and “deflationary adjustment”.


What’s “distortion adjustment”?


Japanese public assistance program, also known as livelihood protection program guarantees a minimum standard of living for all citizens in poverty.

Public Assistance Act:
(Minimum Standard of Living)
Article 3 The minimum standard of living guaranteed by this Act shall be where a person is able to maintain a wholesome and cultured standard of living.

(Principle of Standard and Extent)
Article 8 (1) Public assistance shall be provided, based on the level of the demand of a person requiring public assistance, which has been measured according to the standard specified by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, to the extent that makes up the shortfall thereof that cannot be satisfied by the money or goods possessed by said person.

(2) The standard set forth in the preceding paragraph shall be one that sufficiently satisfies but shall not exceed the demand pertaining to a minimum standard of living, taking into consideration the age, sex, household composition and location of the person requiring public assistance and any other necessary circumstances according to the type of public assistance.


The standard amount for public assistance is based on careful study of various circumstances such as recipients’ inhabited area, household composition or sex, so sometimes “distortion” occurs among recipients. Some households receive exceeded assistance to ensure the minimum standard of living while others may not be sufficient.


To solve this problem, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has done “distortion adjustment.”


What’s “deflationary adjustment”?


“Deflationary adjustment” means to change the amount of livelihood assistance according to price fluctuations.


If these two adjustments are mad correctly, there’s no problem. However, in the 2013 revision, abnormal adjustment s have been made.


The department in charge of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare did not inform the members of the Standards Subcommittee that they were implementing a “one-half treatment” in which the rate of increase or decrease for each household type was reduced to one-half.


That was done without announcing to the media either. That was completely covert operations.


“One-half treatment” was like a magic. It has changed the household type, which should be calculated to be an increase revision to a reduction revision by “distortion adjustment + deflationary adjustment.


As a result, it was decided to lower the standard of livelihood assistance by an average of 6.5% and a maximum of 10% and implemented in three installments.


Over 1,000 plaintiffs had been seeking an annulment of the government decision, the largest ever reduction of the amount of welfare benefits, at 29 district courts nationwide. Those group lawsuits are collectively referred to as Inochi-no-toride trial.


The “deflationary adjustment” is adjusted using the headline price index (CPI) as an indicator, but there was a problem with the way this CPI was calculated.

総務省統計局は戦後一貫して国際基準に則った「ラスパイ レス算式」を使用してきました。

Since the end of World War Ⅱ, the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has consistently used the Laspeyres formula, which conforms to international standards.


The rate of decline in prices at that time was 2.35% using the Laspeyres formula.

ところが、生活扶助相当CPIの算出では、2008年〜2010年の期間は「パーシェ算式」 、2010年〜2011年の期間は「ラスパイレス算式」(10→11)という異なる算式を混ぜて計算していました。

However, in the calculation of the CPI equivalent to livelihood assistance, the period from 2008 to 2010 was calculated using the “Paasche formula”, while using the “Laspeyres formula” for the period from 2010 to 2011.


As a result, the price decline rate for households on welfare was calculated to be 4.78%, which is more than double the deflationary effect.



In the “Laspeyres formula”,
Price at the reference time×(Price at the comparison time/Price at the reference time)=Price at the comparison time

While in the “Paasche formula”,
Price at the time of comparison × (Price at the reference time / Price at the time of comparison) = Price at the reference time


The major difference here is that the denominator and numerator of the multiplier (the price at the reference point and the price at the comparison point) are reversed.


As a result, even if the prices are at the same reference point and comparison point, if one price goes up, the other one goes down, so if you choose the one with the higher rate of decline between the two values calculated, the price will go down. This means that you can easily increase or decrease the rate.


For example, if the price at the reference point/price at the comparison point = 0.98, then the price at the comparison point/price at the reference point = 1.02, resulting in a 2% increase and 2% fall, or a 4% discrepancy.


A simple calculation can yield a difference of twice as much, so the use of the two formulas can be seen as arbitrary.


Furthermore, there is a problem with the selection of the reference point in the calculation. If we are to “take into account the price trends that were intended to be reviewed last time,” we should start from 2004, when welfare standards were lowered last time.
It can also be said that it is arbitrary to use 2008, when prices rose abnormally, as a starting point.


These frauds committed by the relevant department of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, reduced welfare benefits by 58 billion yen. Just imagine how many people’s livelihoods were threatened.


Trials regarding the unconstitutionality of the 2013 welfare allowance reduction are currently being held across the country.


On October 2, 2023, the Hiroshima District Court handed down a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by 63 welfare recipients in Hiroshima Prefecture, with Hiroshima City and five other local governments as defendants, ordering the cancellation of the reduction in welfare expenses.


By this judgement, out of 22 cases that were decided, 12 cases were won in favor, which exceeded the 10 cases in which cases were lost.


While I think it is a given that there will be a winning verdict, it is strange that there are 10 losing verdicts.


I can’t stop doubting the fairness of the verdict, perhaps because the state or local government is the other party. “


The “Inochi-no-toride Trial’” is still ongoing, and each verdict serves as a precedent and influences the next verdict.


I would like to ask the judges to make a fair judgment based on their own common sense.