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Japan's looming benefit cuts an undercurrent in Sunday's polls

Social welfare spending accounts for a third of 96 trillion yen budget and rises by about one trillion yen annually

Tokyo

HIROKO Shinohara frets about one issue Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has noticeably avoided on the campaign trail ahead of Sunday's election: the need to cut Japan's generous social welfare programme that supports millions of people.

"I hope my own pension is OK, but I need to work as long as I can and save money, just in case," said Ms Shinohara, 67, as she tended her family's sweet shop in Tokyo. "I really worry about people in their 30s and 40s now. Will there be any money left for them when they're...

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