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Japan's child poverty rate hits record high

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One of the lowest birthrates and one of the highest child poverty rates! How on earth does a country manage that?

23 ( +27 / -4 )

This country can't take care of its poor and invalid, its children, its women, and the elderly who built the country out of the ashes of war. The so-called middle class aka working poor shoulder the burden in supporting society while corrupt politicians and the rich continue to rake in money and continue to portray the image of a rich and safe Japan to the rest of the world. We also have refugees in limbo from the tsunami disaster who have been relegated to the back burner only to receive attention when politicians need a photo op or when election time rolls around.

But hey, things are getting brighter, literally, we'll be able to turn on more lights and use more electricity 'cause the nukes are getting ready to start up, we need the juice for the Olympics right, turn 'em on. Abenomics is going to save us all...hooyah!

23 ( +25 / -3 )

the poverty line—1.22 million yen per person.

That doesn't make sense. A family of four is in poverty until they have more than 5 million yen a year? When the average income is about 4.5m?

Or is it per adult?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Making the rich richer and the poor poorer, Abenomics is really beginning to bite,

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Yup, my wife works while I stay home with the kids and this sounds about right. How companies get away with posting so little is beyond me.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

"This country can't take care of its poor and invalid,"

This problem is due to private-sector employers, not the govt. Social safety nets have actually improved somewhat over the years.

I'm working for private-sector Japanese clients who are reporting higher and higher profits and dividends, yet over the years have insisted on cutting my rates lower and lower. You can thank globalization, free trade and corporate welfare for that.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Ah, yes! Here is the third arrow of Abenomics. If more kids are living in poverty it also means that more families are too. As long as the corporations can show a profit it's ok. Next will be the unemployment rate skyrocketing as companies stop employing people to do made up jobs like waving red sticks in car parks and employing 20 little old ladies to clean toilets in buildings. This high poverty rate for children can also be attributed to the ridiculous cost of public schools in Japan. A thousand dollars for a uniform. 500 bucks for a school bag. Around three thousand bucks a year in fees. It's a bloody joke! The worst of Japan's economic woes are yet to come.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Whats terrible is that you will never see it. Atleast I have never seen child poverty in Japan.

Its obvious that the old oyagi based system is doing Japan a disfavor and with the severe government subsidized competition from Korea and China something radical has to happen soon...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is an affront to the moral decency of the nation.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Abe has money for a bigger military but none for the kids who who live here. Abe is spending money protecting these kids so they can starve.

This goes back to Koizumi and his following the bush economic policy of letting the rich get richer and the rest just fall. This is all about government policy, pure and simple. The middle class is getting savaged and the poor are getting worse everyday. The Abe response, cut taxes for corporations.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Would be interesting to know if this 'poverty line' has been going up or down in real terms adjusted for inflation (deflation).

Also if Bill Gates migrating to Japan would raise the poverty line.

Something seems fishy about the figures when I consider where the nation of my birth figures compared to Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan is becoming like the US. Sad.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Wow. Almost 1 in 5 children living below the poverty line. The long term effects of a problem like this will be staggering.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A family of four is in poverty until they have more than 5 million yen a year?

Yes, this is right. Especially if we define poverty as an income which doesn't support sustainable living standards. This is the amount required so a family of four can live independent of tax breaks and social benefits and pay full health insurance and pension contributions. It is an indictment on the government that minimum wage conditions don't take this into account.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Child poverty is not a government problem; it is a parent problem. Maybe it is time people stopped relying on government for everything and started making things happen for themselves.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

Abe ignores this data.....

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Sam if it's not the governments responsibility to ensure its citizens are safe, educated has access to medical treatment and food, guess we don't need a Government at all. For the 3rd biggest economy it's a disgrace.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Probably Abe is thinking of luring these kids to the future with no prospects thus easier to convince them to join the army with the promise of sufficient wages. On the front, he seems clueless about anything but thought of a long term plan once he retires what to do to make sure his constitution stays.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan ranked sixth-highest in child poverty in the OECD after Mexico, Israel, Chile, the United States and Turkey.

These are all countries that have followed the U.S. neoliberal model of capitalism that was touted to bring great wealth to the world but is actually just a cover for class warfare that transfers great wealth to a few at the expense of many, including children. When will people stop drinking the kool-aid?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Abe wants to encourage more births in Japan and wonders why there are so few... I believe one reason could be that people realize they would be under the "poverty line" and (although they would maybe love to have a "family") they prefer not to have any children who would only suffer from such a miserable situation.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"This high poverty rate for children can also be attributed to the ridiculous cost of public schools in Japan. A thousand dollars for a uniform. 500 bucks for a school bag. Around three thousand bucks a year in fees."

Even though most kids go to high school, it is not mandatory in Japan. Thus it is not free. I also don't think that a thousand dollars for a uniform is so expensive given that most students wear the same few pairs of pants, etc..for three years. Given the alternative of buying your own clothes, you could easily spend much more than that. As for the school bag, I have never heard of a bag costing 500 bucks. I work at a private school, and my kids bag is 5,000 yen. 50 bucks. Perhaps you are thinking of elementary school kids who pay 100-200 dollars for a randoseru bag. But even that is used for 6 years.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A family of four is in poverty until they have more than 5 million yen a year?

Yes, this is right. Especially if we define poverty as an income which doesn't support sustainable living standards.

The relative poverty line is defined as disposable income of less than half the national median income. According to Nikkei Shimbun, in 2012 the average household income was ¥5.37 million from which the relative poverty line worked out at ¥1.22 million per person. A high proportion of people living under the poverty line is an indication of a widening economic gap. It has nothing to do with supporting sustainable living standards. The more filthy rich people there are, the relatively poorer the rest of us are.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Remember about 7 years ago? They suggested the law of making babies free? But it was shut down that same month?

I think that should come back.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sam HuntingtonJul. 19, 2014 - 09:55AM JST Child poverty is not a government problem; it is a parent problem. Maybe it is time people stopped relying on government for everything and started making things happen for themselves.

The government increases consumption tax.

The government refuses to lower tarrifs that make food (especially fruit and vegetables) cheaper.

The government simultaneously pushes for more children to produce a labour force to compensate for the aging population.

The government also lowers the corporate tax rate.

The government also wants more women to work for cheap for companies and produce more tax money while ignoring that this will result in a net decrease in income because of the costs of child care and hiring help around the house.

The government refuses to pass or enforce laws that outlaw keeping young people on perpetual "temporary" contracts, resulting in young families being unable to make ends meet.

This is VERY CLEARLY a result of a set of government policies that favour Abe and his corporate cronies while putting more and more of the burden on the young and the poor, while simultaneously demanding that these people make more children to feed to Abe's vision of the Japanese Empire reborn.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Japan can invest money that used to go toward military hardware in their children instead, ensuring genuine national security.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

When people asked me in the past about what I liked about Japan, I avoided the usual fluff about cherry blossoms and washlets and told them that I admired the fact that Japan didn't create a minority of super rich while the poor were left to rot. Damn those who are creating a society in which more and more children are deprived. Even Japan is not immune to the neoliberal disease and it is losing one of its true beauties.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Living level of standards is too high. You ger people prefer to remain rich alone and spend on keitai rather than raising a family, which is an individual decision to take that many Japanese are so incapable to make. I d rather personnally be poor and happy but not in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is the broke generation of Japan. The next generation will the debt generation. The one after that.......? I doubt if there will be one cos nobody will be able to afford to have kids.

Here are the oxymorons of Abe's economics: He wants more women in the workplace, but refuses to set up labor laws for equal pay. He wants women to have more children, but cuts all the welfare assistance for families and does nothing about the daycare crisis. He is an idiot! Plain and simple!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Japan is becoming like the US. Sad.

It would be sad if tne median income in the US was lower than Japan, which it is not.

The problem with Japan and other more advanced industrialized countries is mainly demographics. People with higher levels of education tend to have fewer or no children, as they carefully consider the cost of feeding and educating children before having them. People with lower levels of education tend to have more children, as they always have. As the more highly educated (and financially better off) are not having children, a disproportionate number of children are born into families with poorly educated parents who earn lower incomes, hence the increase in the number of children living in homes with poverty-level incomes. The increase has nothing to do with more children being born into poverty, it is due to less children being born into wealthier families.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I do think that full-time workers deserve a little bit of a raise in wage, to meet living standard costs. Especially so that men (or in some/rare cases women) can support their wives during motherhood. Make it possible to live off one wage. People dont mind working hard, or long, so long as it has value, and they are felt valued. And the top people in a company should realize that paying off their company loan does not take priority to their workers -loans-. So what if it ups their (companys) ability to make loans and establish their credit ratings, they have to place more value on their workers than their credit ratings and be thankful for where they are at this point. Having said that I think it is normal for most families that when they have had the second child the first child is looking at youchien, and that cost becomes a burden around the parents' neck. Often enough to encourage the wife to take a job. I would suggest a big campaign to blow youchiens and child-care out of the sky. Campaign that the mothers are capable, that there is no value to such things as child-minding facilities (aka child concentration camps). Campaign to show how in this day and age, with computor technology, and all the facilities that the government have spent taxes on like museums, parks, -high quality by the way- and whatever else; that there is a way to raise your child without forking out cash to stupid child-care. Let the women who want a career use them and help others (the bulk of married women) to realize that they are just as capable as a youchien teacher to raise their child and meet with peers, read a book, play with toys, do crafts whatever else that children do at that age. Poverty is relative in some aspects, but your approach and your lifestyle can either make it or break it. Cutting out child-minding minded lifestyle would cut everyone a lot of slack.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Even Japan is not immune to the neoliberal disease and it is losing one of its true beauties.

That shipped sailed long ago. Only now the signs of income inequality in Japan, the same as the US and elsewhere an outcome of government policies, are becoming so dramatic the media can no longer hide the truth from the Japanese people.

Fact is Japan is not that far behind the US, number two in the world in 2013 for inequality as a result of failed policies from the reagan era. Only Chile is more unequal that the USA. Japan copied the failed reagan policies and now has very high inequality as well. Kids starve so rich in japan can become richer and contribute to the LDP.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It would be sad if tne median income in the US was lower than Japan, which it is not.

The median income means nothing, we know that in the US there are many rich people with huge income and many very, very poor people. Mix all the data and the US median incom could seem high, but only because of the big income of the super rich people. But there's massive poverty.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Alex80Jul. 19, 2014 - 04:05PM JST

It would be sad if tne median income in the US was lower than Japan, which it is not.

The median income means nothing, we know that in the US there are many rich people with huge income and many very, very poor people. Mix all the data and the US median incom could seem high, but only because of the big income of the super rich people. But there's massive poverty.

Spot on. The number you want it the "mode".

For example, if you have 5 people with the following salaries, $10k, $5k, $1k, $5k and $500k the "median" value is $104.2k, which in no way represents what the average man is earning.

The mode is the most frequently occurring number, which is $5k, which gives a much better picture of the reality.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"The median income means nothing,"

You're thinking of "mean income." Mean income means little, while median is the correct measurement approach in this case, as it doesn't allow the rich minority to skew the number.

Also, the US's "very very poor" are predominantly illegal immigrants who have chosen to be in the US (unlike Japan's poor) because they are still much better off there than their native countries.

"For example, if you have 5 people.... "

That's a useless example, since we're comparing measurements of a nation's entire workforce.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The median income means nothing,

Nonsense, it is an average, and is a valid measurement. Otherwise you could argue that climate change is not occurring because the measurements between the extremes of temperatures cannot be used to determine the average temperature, or it's future trend. But ifyou want something more interesting to read, take a look at personal purchasing parity, or the net amount of disposable income left after paying for regular living costs and taxes. In this scale Japan rates third-from-last among all developed countries, coming in only ahead of Greece and Spain.

If America were such a bad place to live, why have more than 12 million people gone to the danger and trouble of immigrating illegally? Income disparities exist in all countries, but no other country has fewer limits on upward mobility than America. Anyone can be part of the top 1%, and in fact, more than 80% of the wealthy in America were not born wealthy, they became wealthy on their own. No where else is easier to become wealthy or successful than in America.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Ahhh Abenomics. What can I say?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

For example, if you have 5 people with the following salaries, $10k, $5k, $1k, $5k and $500k the "median" value is $104.2k, which in no way represents what the average man is earning.

Many of you don't seem to understand what the median is. In your example, the median is $5k. When you have a few rich people, the impact on the median is almost negligible.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

None of the median, mean or modal values alone will tell you much about relative poverty within the population.

Generally speaking, the median is the income that 50% of the population are above and 50% are below. But you need to know about the spread below that value before making comments about relative poverty. For example, the 90th percentile value as a proportion of the median value might be used as an indicator of how much poorer those towards the bottom end of the scale are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But a weak economy beset by deflation over the past two decades has ushered in a growing number of low-paid contract positions, largely filled by women.

While the latter half of this sentence is correct, I don't think the first part holds much weight. The real culprit is all of the 'dispatch' / 'temporary staffing companies', which were ushered in by Koizumi's government (if memory serves). They created the era of the working poor by taking such a large percentage of - what used to be - decent, full-time salaries. Not only does this army of workers make about 1/2 ~ 2/3 of what their predecessors did, but they have higher medical and other expenses as well. Such a shame really, and the increase in the consumption tax didn't help!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is not acceptable especially a wealthy country like Japan. It is time the Abe government need to focus to resolve this issue and it should be a priority before travelling abroad given away billions of dollars. What is the point asking Japanese people to increase their birth rate, at the same time the government are not doing any things to address the child poverty issue. Now you know why Japan population is on a decline. People simply do not have the financial means or times to start a family. Mr Abe the problems are here, now let get it fix before asking for more.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese capitalism is predicated on the fact that people are easy to exploit here. Workers on the top are overworked and those on the bottom are overworked and underpaid. People with children are easier to exploit. This is the real reason the politicians want more children.

Do not have children. That is the first step in fighting exploitation and poverty. Do not have children. And check your condoms for punctures.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Please give a chance for childrens....They needs more aid from government.Specially those childrens living only with their mama.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Income disparities exist in all countries, but no other country has fewer limits on upward mobility than America. Anyone can be part of the top 1%, and in fact, more than 80% of the wealthy in America were not born wealthy, they became wealthy on their own. No where else is easier to become wealthy or successful than in America.

You make a slightly of-topic comment, but reveals you as a paid up, unquestioning believer in the American dream. The reality is somewhat different - evidence shows that in the USA, your birth is actually a pretty good determinant of your status as an adult, more so than most developed countries. America is one of the countries where it is more difficult to become wealthy or successful if not born middle class.

http://www.epi.org/publication/usa-lags-peer-countries-mobility/

Japan has far better social mobiliy than the USA - the Japanese child growing up poor is much more likely to rise up the ladder than his American counterpart. This is something I admire in the Japanese.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

One of the lowest birthrates and one of the highest child poverty rates! How on earth does a country manage that?

24 years and running on a "lost decade."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Somebody said this not a government problem but a family problem, and you are right to a point, but the government has to enforce that single parent s are getting child support from their partners, I can not understand how people can get away with not paying child support because they are divorced.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese people will keep on "saving", yens left at the bank are not returned back to the government as tax, thus increasing "debt" of the government to keep its spending as it is. Government issues more tax increases, Japanese people save even more, and government grow more debt.

Not to mention "inflation", I'm not an economist, but how could inflation be "normal" when population is decreasing, purchasing power is decreasing, total demand is decreasing ? Isn't it just an artificial price mark up to put up a show that the economy is recovering ? Price rise, demand falls.

The final blow to Japan would be when US economy crash again, when domestic demand and export all go down, Japan will be back to pre-edo period. This is why Japan gives out "billions" of yens to developing nations, this is so that these nations can hopefully spend those yens to import stuffs from Japan, still they're relatively small compare to US and China.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Abe should be focusing on issues like these and make Japan a better country than doing nonsense and stirring animosity with her neighbors. 20-30 years ago, we were all looking East at Japan and learning from them. China was really far behind. Japan can be a very prosperous nation if she focuses on the right issues. For Japan's sake, I hope Abe will somehow come to his senses or be replaced.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My home state of Georgia has a 27% child poverty rate. Japan is rich. The people are smart. Japan will survive.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@kabukilover

Japanese capitalism is predicated on the fact that people are easy to exploit here.

Rising poverty in Japan - and for that matter most economically developed nations - have many causes but the lack Marxism is not one them. Those here advocating ever more socialism are essentially arguing for more poverty. Do people not learn history anymore?

Do not have children. That is the first step in fighting exploitation and poverty.

Not having children is one of the primary reasons that Japanese economic fortunes look bleak in the future.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well said Jimizo.

@Zurch

"Japan is not that far behind the US, number two in the world in 2013 for inequality as a result of failed policies from the reagan era"

I've tried to find a source on that, and failed. Could you provide it? Thanks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OECD member countries:

Australia, Austria, Belgium,,Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark,Estonia,, Finland,France, Germany,Greece,Hungary,Iceland,Ireland, Israël, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxemberg, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland.Portugal, Slovak Republic,Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

That all countries. China is not included. Not bad after Mexico, Israel, Chile, the United States and Turkey. However, I doubt the validity of this rating. You mean Turkey children are better off than US where family owns 2 or more cars, children own i-phone, i-pad, at least one laptop computer in a family and look at bunch of fast food restaurants in USA. Are Turkey children living better?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Divorce and children I don't know where BBQ Demon got idea of 100 % custody. The father has zero right etc. Divorce is not necessarily the reason of child poverty.

Divorce in Japan.

There are four types of divorce in Japan:

Divorce by agreement (Kyogi Rikon), based on mutual agreement.

Divorce by mediation in a family court (Chotei Rikon), completed by applying for mediation by the family court (for cases in which divorce by mutual agreement cannot be reached).

Divorce by decision of the family court (Shinpan Rikon), which is divorce completed by family court decision when divorce cannot be established by mediation.

Divorce by judgment of a district court (Saiban Rikon). If divorce cannot be established by the family court, then application is made to the district court for a decision (application for arbitration is a prerequisite). Once the case is decided, the court will issue a certified copy and certificate of settlement, to be attached to the Divorce Registration.

Foreign citizens must show evidence that they are able to be divorced in their country of nationality and that the procedures used in Japan are compatible with those of their home country.

Joint custody of children ends upon divorce. In a divorce by agreement, the husband and wife must determine which parent will have custody of each child. In other types of divorce, custody is determined by the mediator or judge, with a strong preference toward custody by the mother (especially with regard to children born after the divorce).legal visa take to government .

Dispute resolution

Japan has a system of family courts ( Katei Saibansho) which have jurisdiction in the first instance over all intra-familial disputes, including divorce and child custody. Family courts employ a mediation system.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japanese capitalism is predicated on the fact that people are easy to exploit here.

It also relies on the fact that traditionally, family bonds are extremely strong here, and family members give each other a good deal more support than in most Western societies. Whenever someone has a major life event - gives birth, starts school, gets married, moves house, gets sick and hospitalized, suffers a misfortune, or holds a funeral ceremony - you can be sure that their relatives (and to a lesser extent friends and co-workers) will help them out with cash infusions, sometimes quite large ones. It is entrenched in society, and I think it's a very good custom actually. However, there are growing numbers of people who seem to have nobody to help them out at all, and have to rely on poorly paid jobs to make ends meet. These people are easy to exploit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Frungy and others, though, the Government did raise the personal income tax to 45%, effectively 55%, on anyone with a business, all 芸能人 and so on. American conservatives would not know what to think about a conservative leader who raises taxes on it rich people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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