The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a male civil servant in my 20s. I am distressed by demands for money from my grandfather, who is in his 80s.
I currently live alone and give him ¥40,000 a month. Though I’ve kept up these payments for many months, I honestly can’t do this any more. When I lived with my family, I gave him ¥80,000 a month.
I had previously rejected his request, telling him it was impossible, but he then told me, “Okay, give me your bonus.” Against my will, I managed to scrape together some money for him.
This made me angry. His requests have escalated recently and he even demanded, “Borrow money and give it to me, because I want to fix the ceiling of my house.”
I don’t really have savings. I want to save money as there is somebody I would like to marry in the future.
My father is not with the family and my mother works. I can’t talk to her about money because her salary is not high. I get along with her, but I don’t want to move back in with her.
My grandfather took care of me when I was a child so I’d like to help him if I can, but that is honestly very difficult.
T, Chiba Prefecture
Dear Mr. T:
You should be commended for supporting your grandfather’s livelihood even though you are young.
I don’t know anything about your grandfather’s economic situation and your family’s relationships. If he has trouble making a living, everyone whose duty it is to support him, such as your uncles, aunts and others, should consult with each other and help him. You also have a duty to help him because you’re his grandson.
However, you’re not actually obliged to sacrifice your own livelihood. Everyone should maintain a normal lifestyle and support others if they can afford to do so.
It seems you have no such leeway as it is all you can to live alone. You’re not really in a position to help others. With this in mind, it is fine for you to reject his request and live as you please.
If he has no other relatives to support him, he can utilize the public welfare system. I suggest you talk to your mother and consult specialists at the local welfare office.
From now, support him emotionally and please work to improve your livelihood.
Sachiyo Dohi, lawyer