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Local parents defaulting on school lunch payments

Date Posted: 2007-03-16

The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture is drawing attention to high default rates on school lunch program payments.

Roughly 20% of the students receiving the lunch benefits aren’t paying their share in Kunigami-son, while eight other Okinawa cities and towns have high default rates as well. Kin-cho is not receiving payments in 20.4% of the cases, while Nago City is losing 18.2% of its payments.

Nanzyo City registers a 16.4% default rate, Kadena-cho 14.2%, Motobu-cho 13.7%, Yonabaru 12.6%, Nishihara-cho 11.4%, Kitanakagusuku-son 9.8% and Haebaru-cho 9.6%

Officials say the typical defaulting family has children ages 5~10. The Prefecture says apathy and moral issues are behind the defaults, but the official responsible for actually collecting the school lunch money disagrees. He says the problem is that the number of “families is increasing that cannot pay, even when they want to”.

Okinawa’s default rate is almost 20 times the overall Japan rate. More than 1,800 cases are now in default, costing Okinawa ¥296 million.

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