Now that local governments have commenced the distribution of 12,000 yen economic stimulus handout to every man, woman and child in the country (registered foreign residents included), controversy has arisen concerning the eligibility of those who are already wards of the state — like convicts on death row.
Nikkan Gendai (March 7) became aware of this situation when objections to such handouts were raised in various quarters, including the National Diet.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications responded that it would be “difficult” to exclude the inmates of prisons, since occupation of a prison cell is apparently treated as a registered domicile. So barring any attempts to halt the dispensation, then, approximately 70,000 inhabitants of prisons — including 1,600 serving life sentences and 96 on death row — will be receiving their windfalls in due course.
The article did not elaborate on how the death row inmates, who are confined to their cells except for a daily exercise period and several baths a week — during which time they may not speak to other prisoners or guards — would be putting their 12,000 yen windfalls to use. Certainly requests for a stay of execution in order to use up any unspent balance would be unlikely to sway the authorities at the Ministry of Justice from carrying out the sentence.
Truly the government giveth, and the government taketh away. (A.T.)