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2017 (Gyo-Hi) 292

2018.12.18
2017 (Gyo-Hi) 292
Minshu Vol. 72, No. 6
Judgment upon the case concerning whether or not it is appropriate not to deduct the amount equivalent to the amount of basic personal exemption in calculating the amount of collection relating to a decision on the amount of expenses to be collected under Article 78 of the Public Assistance Act (prior to amendment by Act No. 104 of 2013) for a person who wrongfully received public assistance without giving a proper notification on income from work
Case seeking revocation of a decision to change public assistance, etc.
Judgment of the Third Petty Bench, quashed and decided by the Supreme Court
Osaka High Court, Judgment of March 17, 2017
It cannot be considered as illegal not to deduct the amount equivalent to the amount of basic personal exemption corresponding to income from work in calculating the amount of collection relating to a decision on the amount of expenses to be collected under Article 78 of the Public Assistance Act (prior to amendment by Act No. 104 of 2013) for a person who wrongfully received public assistance without giving a proper notification on said income from work.

Basic personal exemption: A practice wherein the amount, which is set based on the amount of income and place of residence of a public assistance recipient, the number of persons who gain income from work, etc. in the same household, and other matters, is deducted from the notified amount of income when a public assistance administrator assesses the income of a household receiving public assistance under No. 8-3-(4) of the Notice of the Administrative Vice-Minister of Health and Welfare dated April 1, 1961, titled "Regarding the Guidelines for the Provision of Public Assistance under the Public Assistance Act"
Articles 78 of the Public Assistance Act (prior to amendment by Act No. 104 of 2013) and Article 61 of the Public Assistance Act



Public Assistance Act (prior to amendment by Act No. 104 of 2013)

Articles 78 When any person has received public assistance by filing a false application or by any other wrongful means or has had another person receive public assistance, the governor or mayor of the prefecture or municipality that has paid the public assistance expenses may collect all or a part of said expenses from said person.



Public Assistance Act

(Obligation of Notification)

Article 61 A public assistance recipient shall, when there has been a change to his/her income, expenditure or any other condition related to his/her livelihood or when there has been a change to his/her place of residence or household composition, promptly notify the public assistance administrator or the welfare office director to that effect.
1. Paragraph 1 of the main text of the judgment in prior instance is modified as follows.

Of the judgment in first instance, the part concerning the claim for revocation of the decision on the amount of expenses to be collected is modified as follows.

(1) The decision on the amount of expenses to be collected that the director of the Kadoma Welfare Office made on February 7, 2012, for the appellee of final appeal is revoked in relation to the part exceeding the amount of collection of 2,339,835 yen.

(2) Other claims of the appellee are dismissed.

2. The total court costs are divided into 200 parts, of which, one shall be borne by the appellant of final appeal and the rest shall be borne by the appellee.
Concerning the reasons for a petition for acceptance of final appeal stated by the counsels for final appeal, FUJITA Kyotomi, et al.

1. The appellee who had received public assistance under the Public Assistance Act (prior to amendment by Act No. 104 of 2013; hereinafter referred to as the "Act") received a decision on the amount of expenses to be collected (hereinafter referred to as the "Decision on the Amount of Collection") to the effect that the amount pertaining to income from work (the amount after deducting the amount of income tax subject to withholding; the same applies hereinafter)and the like would be collected under Article 78 of the Act, from the director of the Kadoma Welfare Office, who had received delegation of authority from the mayor of Kadoma-shi, on the grounds that the appellee had wrongfully received public assistance without giving a notification prescribed in Article 61 of the Act in relation to the income from work of the appellee's eldest son, who is a member of the same household. Therefore, the appellee filed this case against the appellant to seek revocation of the decision, etc.

Article 78 of the Act provides that when any person has received public assistance by filing a false application or by any other wrongful means or has had another person receive public assistance, the governor or mayor of the prefecture or municipality that has paid the public assistance expenses (which means expenses required for providing public assistance; the same applies hereinafter) may collect all or a part of said expenses from said person. In this case, the parties dispute whether or not it is illegal not to deduct the amount equivalent to the amount of basic personal exemption as mentioned later in calculating the amount of collection relating to a decision on the amount of expenses to be collected under said Article (hereinafter referred to as the "amount of collection under Article 78 of the Act").

2. The outline of the facts lawfully determined by the court of prior instance is as follows.

(1) On October 26, 2005, the director of the Kadoma Welfare Office decided to commence public assistance under the main clause of Article 7 of the Act, deeming the appellee residing in Kadoma-shi as the householder and the appellee's eldest son as a member of the household.

(2) On June 1, 2009, the appellee's eldest son started working on the condition that wage is paid in the following month. He gained income from work of 2,339,835 yen in total (the amount after deducting the amount of income tax subject to withholding; hereinafter referred to as the "Income from Work") between July 2009 and August 2010. However, despite knowledge of the fact that his eldest son was working as mentioned above, the appellee did not give the prescribed notification until said fact was revealed through investigation by a public assistance administrator around July 2010. As a result, public assistance expenses (livelihood assistance, housing assistance, and temporary assistance) of 2,421,640 yen in total were paid to the appellee between July 2009 and August 2010, deeming that the Income from Work does not exist for the appellee's household.

(3) On February 7, 2012, the director of the Kadoma Welfare Office made the Decision on the Amount of Collection setting the amount of expenses to be collected as 2,359,765 yen against the appellee under Article 78 of the Act, on the grounds that public assistance was wrongfully received due to failure to give a notification on the Income from Work, etc. of the appellee's eldest son. The aforementioned amount includes the amount equivalent to the whole amount of the Income from Work.

(4) Basic personal exemption is a practice wherein the amount, which is set based on the amount of income and place of residence of a public assistance recipient, the number of persons who gain income from work, etc. in the same household, and other matters, is deducted from the notified amount of income when a public assistance administrator assesses the income of a household receiving public assistance under No. 8-3-(4) of the Notice of the Administrative Vice-Minister of Health and Welfare dated April 1, 1961, titled "Regarding the Guidelines for the Provision of Public Assistance under the Public Assistance Act." It is intended to increase the incentive to work and promote self-support, as well as reproduction of the labor force, by compensating demands of daily life that increase due to engaging in work.

The total amount of basic personal exemption corresponding to the Income from Work is 384,080 yen (hereinafter this amount is referred to as the "Amount of Basic Personal Exemption").

3. The court of prior instance determined as summarized below based on the aforementioned facts and ruled that the Decision on the Amount of Collection is illegal in the part ruling that the amount equivalent to the Amount of Basic Personal Exemption is to be made subject to collection, and revoked said part.

The amount of collection under Article 78 of the Act in the case where a notification on income from work has not been given properly is limited to the difference between the amount of public assistance expenses actually paid due to failure to give a notification on the income from work and the amount of public assistance expenses that would have been paid if a notification on the income from work has been given properly.

If a notification on the Income from Work had been given properly, the Amount of Basic Personal Exemption should have not been found as the income of the appellee's household, and this means that public assistance expenses were also paid in relation to the amount corresponding thereto. In that case, the amount corresponding to the Amount of Basic Personal Exemption must be deducted in calculating the amount of collection under Article 78 of the Act because it is not included in the aforementioned difference.

4. However, the aforementioned determination of the court of prior instance cannot be upheld for the following reasons.

(1) Public assistance under the Act is provided based on a requirement that a person who is living in poverty shall utilize his/her assets, abilities and every other thing available to him/her for maintaining a minimum standard of living, is provided to the extent that makes up the shortfall of demand of a person requiring public assistance that cannot be satisfied by the money or goods possessed by said person, and must be one that sufficiently satisfies but does not exceed the demand pertaining to a minimum standard of living (Article 4, paragraph (1) and Article 8 of the Act). The Act ensures that the aforementioned premises of the public assistance system are secured, for example, by providing that a public assistance recipient shall, when there has been a change to his/her income, expenditure or any other condition related to his/her livelihood, promptly notify the public assistance administrator, etc. of that fact (Article 61).

Article 78 of the Act is also understood as provisions intended to grant the prescribed right of collection for the purpose of protecting the public assistance system from abuse. Therefore, where a public assistance recipient wrongfully received public assistance by lying about the status of his/her income, the amount corresponding to the part of said income that the public assistance recipient should have utilized for maintaining a minimum standard of living should be understood as being extensively subject to collection under said Article.

(2) Income from work should originally be utilized by a public assistance recipient for maintaining a minimum standard of living. Basic personal exemption is an operational practice wherein part of the amount of income from work is excluded from the assessment of income when a public assistance recipient properly gives notification on income from work. As mentioned above, public assistance should be provided based on proper notification on the income, expenditure or any other condition related to the livelihood of a household receiving public assistance. Therefore, it cannot be said that a public assistance recipient should be allowed to hold the amount equivalent to the amount of basic personal exemption even in the case where the public assistance recipient wrongfully received public assistance without giving such notification, and it is not prohibited from making said amount subject to collection under Article 78 of the Act in light of the aforementioned purpose of said Article.

Therefore, it is reasonable to consdier that it cannot be considered as illegal not to deduct the amount equivalent to the amount of basic personal exemption corresponding to income from work in calculating the amount of collection under Article 78 of the Act for a person who wrongfully received public assistance without giving a proper notification on said income from work.

(3) When this determination is applied to this case, as the appellee wrongfully received public assistance without giving a proper notification on the income from work of the appellee's eldest son, who is a member of the same household, it cannot be considered as illegal that the director of the Kadoma Welfare Office did not deduct the amount corresponding to the Amount of Basic Personal Exemption in calculating the amount of collection relating to the Decision on the Amount of Collection.

5. The determination of the court of prior instance that differs from the above contains violation of laws and regulations that obviously affects the judgment, and the counsels' arguments are well-grounded as arguments to this effect. Based on the aforementioned facts, etc., there are no other circumstances where the Decision on the Amount of Collection should be considered as illegal in the part concerning collection of the amount equivalent to the Amount of Basic Personal Exemption, and said part should be considered as legal. Therefore, the claim for revocation of said part should be dismissed, and it is reasonable to change Paragraph 1 of the main text of the judgment in prior instance that differs from this as set forth in the main text.

Accordingly, the Court unanimously decides as set forth in the main text of the judgment.
Justice YAMASAKI Toshimitsu

Justice OKABE Kiyoko

Justice TOKURA Saburo

Justice HAYASHI Keiichi

Justice MIYAZAKI Yuko
(This translation is provisional and subject to revision.)