Home Sociology Social Work in East Asia
Even though the rise of accreditation of social work can be found in Japan since the late 1980s, the professionalism of social work is still developing. The different working statuses between certified social workers and certified care workers remain despite them obtaining their jurisdictions from the same legislation.
In this sense, it is difficult to determine how many social workers in social welfare services are 'professional social workers' (Japanese National Committee, 1986). This is because, firstly, in Japan social work as a profession has not received full recognition until very recently. Secondly, bureaucratic dominance over the social work profession has negatively influenced the education, employment, and qualifications of social workers (Ito, 1995). Before 1987, the Certified Social Workers and Certified Care Workers Law (CSW-CCW Law) had not been enacted, so it was hard to clarify the number of practical social workers on the one hand and to judge their quality of services on the other. The legislation in 1987 promoted official certification for social workers in Japan, and afterward certified social workers gradually came to be accepted by Japanese society. However, at the same time bureaucratic dominance over the social work profession distorted the welfare market and interfered in social workers' professional autonomy.
Therefore, the development of professionalism of social work in Japan is decided by the relationships between the public and private sectors, and their interactions may affect the transformation of Japanese social work education. In effect, the development of professionalism of social work in Japan was a unique process in which the role of government, the political situation, and cultural factors amalgamated.
Year The Development of Welfare Legislation
1874 Relief Ordinance
1909 Reformatory relief work, organizing mutual assistance
1911 Grace foundation Saiseikai labor movement
1917 Rice riot, Social Work introduced (reforming houses, child care on a
1922 Health Insurance Act
1932 Relief Act, unemployed excluded
1934 Reform of Health Insurance Act
1937 Military Assistance Act, protection of mother and children
1938 National Insurance
1941 Pension Insurance for Workers
1944 Welfare Pension Act
1946 Livelihood Protection Act
1947 Workmen's Accidents Insurance Act, Unemployment Insurance Act, Children's Welfare Act
1949 The Disabled Welfare Act
1959 National Health Insurance Program was implemented 1961 National Pension Law was implemented
1963 Welfare for the elderly
1973 Free Medical Care for the Old
1975 Council for Fiscal Institutions: 'already caught up with western levels,' recommending restriction of social welfare
1987 The enactment of the CSW-CCW Law
1997 The enactment of the Psychiatric Social Worker Law
Source: Compiled by the author
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