A Korean man living in Japan has reportedly adopted 554 children in order to claim 86 million yen in annual child support payments.
The man, said to be a Korean in his fifties, approached the benefits office at the city of Amagasaki in Hyogo prefecture, where he enquired about the possibility of claiming child support for his children.
He introduced his Thai wife and explained that the couple, in addition to their own child, were now the legal guardians of all the orphans at a Thai monastery, and had the official documents to prove it.
He presented a list containing the details of 554 children – the clerk reportedly asked “Which child is yours?” to which he replied “All of them.”
Japan’s DPJ administration recently passed a law providing free money to parents based on the number of children they have.
However, shortly after being passed it was realised that a major loophole had been left in the incompetently drafted law, as there was no upper limit on the amount that could be claimed or the number of children who could be claimed for.
Worse yet, the law allows parents to claim for children not living in Japan, and is available to non-Japanese residents of Japan (which is essentially reasonable as they have to pay the same taxes and national insurance contributions as Japanese).
Japan’s generally highly xenophobic right wing soon began spreading fanciful tales of benefits offices crammed with Chinese immigrants trying to claim a fortune in benefits for their non-existent families overseas.
These tales were soon disproven, but this case seems to demonstrate a kernel of truth – when the man approached the benefits office, he was able to claim a monthly allowance of ¥13,000 for each child, yielding an annual income of 86,580,000, nearly a million dollars.
Although legally entitled to the funds, the embarrassed Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said it would be “impossible” to provide him with the money, “as they are not living together.” There is apparently no legal basis for denying him the funds, however.
Just what will become of the 554 orphans is not recorded.