False: Japan’ s Supreme Court rules ‘welfare for foreigners illegal’

A twitter post of a screenshot of a NHK’s news video story with the captions reading that the Supreme Court judged for the first time that “foreigners are not considered ‘citizens’ protected by the Public Assistance Act” has gone viral in Japan. This post has been retweeted more than 15,000 times. But it is false.

The misinformation tweet which said Japan’ s Supreme Court rules ‘welfare for foreigners illegal’

The issue in this case was whether it was illegal or not for “the government to reject the application for public assistance by certain foreigners”. The issue was not “whether it was illegal or not to provide welfare benefits to foreign nationals”.

The Supreme Court only ruled that as the government did not have a duty to protect foreigners, it was within their legal rights to deny a foreigner’s application for public assistance, and stopped short of denying the government’s current practice of providing foreigners with public assistance.

Therefore, it is wrong and contrary to the legal decision of the court to conclude that welfare assistance for foreigners was ruled illegal.

The original fact-checking report in Japanese is here.

(Hitofumi Yanai)

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