• Troubleshooter

I borrowed money from my uncle, now he wants things from me

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m an unemployed woman in my 50s. I am single and my parents have already died.

More than a year ago, I lost my job due to the coronavirus pandemic. While I could just barely make ends meet, it got to a point where I very reluctantly borrowed hundreds of thousands of yen from my uncle in his 80s.

The other day, I invited him to my home because I wanted to repay some of my debt. However, he refused the money and suddenly clung to me, saying into my ear, “Just do what I tell you to do.”

I was upset, and I resisted and refused. Then he made a sulky face like a young man and threatened me saying, “Unless you let me do what I want, I will let yakuza gangsters collect the money from you and let them do whatever they want to you.”

I was really shocked. I felt like my childhood trust was betrayed. He did not care about the feelings of someone who was financially struggling amid the pandemic and was just trying to satisfy his pleasure. That is his nature, which I have become disgusted with and hate.

However, he is my relative and I don’t know how to deal with him. Please tell me what I should do.

— B, Saitama Prefecture

Dear Ms. B:

I am sorry you have found yourself in this mess.

Your uncle has lost his mind. Threatening you by saying that he would let yakuza gangsters collect the money you owe is a crime. You could file a complaint against him so that he realizes what he said. But you probably do not want to go that far.

In any case, in order to cut ties with him, you should repay your debt to him and never borrow money or go near him. You will need to find a job as soon as possible so that you don’t have any vulnerabilities.

Since you do not have money right now, you should honestly talk about your issue at a welfare office or other institutions and ask for advice on everything you can do, such as whether it is possible to receive relief in the form of livelihood protection and whether you can use public systems, such as a loan program to be lent necessary funds for living. Ask about free lawyer consultation services as well. Given the current social circumstances, I hope they understand the hardships you are facing.

There is a system under which participants learn new skills at a vocational training school to join the workforce again while receiving funds necessary for living. I think you can look into the details of the system and try it as one way to become self-sufficient. You must become stronger.

— Megumi Hisada, writer