Returning from my trip to Korea, I had to go through my mail, and once again I had received a letter from Kyoto city government. Like the one elevating me to random Kyoto citizen, this one also came in several languages: I received a form to apply for a temporary welfare benefit for 2015.

The accompanyiKyoto city temporary welfare benefit formng letter explained, that the increase of the Japanese consumption tax to 8% in April 2014 may have caused a financial burden for low-income people. As countermeasure, Kyoto city government has decided to pay a one time lump sum of 6.000 YEN to people who meet the eligibility requirements for temporary welfare benefits. Only those who lived in Kyoto at the beginning of this year, and who did not have to pay municipal taxes for the fiscal year 2015, may apply for these benefits.

Obviously, I fall into both those categories; into the second one because in order to pay municipal taxes you must have had an income the year before – which of course I did not. It’s nice to see that Kyoto city government is able – and willing too – to distribute some of the received tax money to its poorest residents, regardless of where they are from – as long as they are in Japan legally.

For a moment I was tempted to apply, but then again, I have plenty of money to fall back upon. Even though my application was perfectly legal – I would not have received the form otherwise – it would not be fair to those who really need the money.