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Pandemic reveals hidden poverty in wealthy Japan

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By Hiroshi HIYAMA

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Well that’s what you get when inadequate leaders around the world decide to play God and close down everything, deciding that saving a certain age bracket mostly, is more important than the mental welfare of millions of others, or their livelihoods, suicide risk etc. not a day goes by when I’m not disgusted by pathetic clumsy heavy handed government lockdowns and restrictions.

-17 ( +30 / -47 )

Hidden poverty is correct. It’s been hidden from official records for decades. The pandemic is making it shine through.

57 ( +59 / -2 )

If people want to go out and risk dying that’s their prerogative. And if they want to stay home and shield that’s on them too. And if people want to work through this, more power to them, they are the heroes.

-26 ( +18 / -44 )

Simian, we just have to decide what a human live is worth. What should we as a society be willing to pay, with public money, to save your live or that of your loved ones? Let the haggling begin.

Let me suggest an amount based on age and amount of public money spend vs possible future earnings.Persons under 18, no more than maybe 10k USD, younger than 12, no more than 1k USD. Working people up to 50: 250k. For every year above 50, reduce by 10k.

Where do you stand on this Simian, spend more or less?

11 ( +19 / -8 )

"The pandemic, rising joblessness and falling wages have directly hit the working poor, people who were barely getting by before," said Ren Ohnishi, who heads the Moyai Support Center for Independent Living, an anti-poverty group.

Around 40 percent of workers are in vulnerable "non-regular" jobs with lower wages and contracts that can be terminated easily. Many also struggle to access welfare.

That is the beauty of UBI proposals versus welfare. It is capitalism that does not start at 0 and create misery.

Means-testing is not only wasteful and creates a parasitic bureaucracy it creates contradictory rules that can be very difficult to navigate for people on the edge of homelessness.

The rising poverty is only hidden if you are a clueless LDP pol like Abe or Aso or a Nikkei economist.

22 ( +27 / -5 )

Ignored does not equal hidden.

43 ( +43 / -0 )

if you don't have money in japan ,it means that you are dead. Nobody will help you or give you 1 yen.

Unlike japan Some other countries (Not all of them) help their citizens up to 1 point. . This benifit is called public funds.

Unfortunately, Japan doesn't have this kind of benefit system..if you work ,you can earn money and have some money ,if you donot work at all ,You are unwanted in japan even if you are japanese..Japan system is not for the poor

23 ( +27 / -4 )

That's what happens when people constantly elect the same politicians and don't demand change.

More than 10 million people in Japan live on less than 2 million yen a year, while one in six lives in "relative poverty" on incomes less than half the national median.

Those 10 million and their loved ones should have voted the LDP out.

Around 40 percent of workers are in vulnerable "non-regular" jobs with lower wages and contracts that can be terminated easily. Many also struggle to access welfare.

Thanks mainly to Koizumi's labor reforms in the early 2000s. Again, those 40% should have voted the LDP out and voted more left wing parties in.

Sorry, but no sympathy from me. They're Japanese. They can vote. They by and large chose to keep the status quo. We as foreigners are disenfranchised and have to play the cards we are dealt. But they HAD and still HAVE a choice to vote out the people that put them in this predicament. They never do. You make your bed you sleep in it.

20 ( +26 / -6 )

Yet the government can pass trillion yen budgets that would be able to take care of the impoverished?

The system never allows it to!

20 ( +21 / -1 )

When your Finance Minister recommends Cup Noodles, you have a problem.

I was Suprised when I first got to Japan the size of blue tarp towns, people living in card board boxes. Poverty is rife, as is corruption, it might be a rich country if you are involed with the government or certain companies, other then that it's sadly Cup Noodles.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

Hidden poverty my arse! It's only been "hidden" from the politicians and people who dont want to look or acknowledge it's existence!

Talk to any of the social services folks at your municipal office, or take a hard look at the people who are receiving welfare and other support benefits and the "hidden" becomes plain to see!

20 ( +23 / -3 )

"I know for certain the middle class is collapsing..."

What do you expect? This is the result of the "market reforms" that everyone (except me) have been urging. Market economics (neoliberalism) is aimed at shifting national income from the low and middle income population to the tiny super wealthy. You're naïve if you haven't realized that by now.

16 ( +22 / -6 )

But campaigners say the most vulnerable have still been hit hard, with statistics masking the high rate of underemployment and poorly paid temporary work.

Currently temporary worker count 40% of the whole workforce, even company in Japan is not famous for doing layoff. If economy isn't good, those temporary worker are the one who will get their contract cut, before any measure is taken.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2018/02/12/editorials/job-security-irregular-workers/

11 ( +11 / -0 )

I am poor. I am retired and my income (pension) is a little over the poverty level of 2,000,000 yen a year. However, throughout my life, I did not make efforts to become wealthy. Being rich and a good life is a different thing. I did not want to sacrifice my life for money. Life is given only one time to us. For me, freedom of life and spirit was more important than money. I did not want to become a slave of businesses. Look, people in southeast Asia, they are poorer than Japan but they look they are living a lot happier than us.

35 ( +36 / -1 )

@aly,

Excellent post.

I couldn’t agree more.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Comfortable politicians have closed down the country without balancing out the for the negative consequences of such drastic measures. The man made misery is taking a terrible toll also.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

@Vanity: your income is low, but you sound like a person that lived by their means and did not waste money on unneeded consumer goods. I also bet you saved well, and that is what many people do.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Around 40 percent of workers are in vulnerable "non-regular" jobs with lower wages and contracts that can be terminated easily. Many also struggle to access welfare.

All thanks to Takenaka Heizo under Koizumi. He’s at it again with Suga.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

So families receive notices saying things like 'your son is applying for welfare'," he said. "It's a very Japanese system. Everyone has the legal rights to use it. But society does not necessarily tolerate that."

The usual tatemae bs...look at us advanced" Japan we have such a " strong safety net" that other countries envy us . Oh , you wanna use it you say..uh..ahhh...sorry, that's a bit regretable, can you go ask someone else? ...

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Things in life get more and more expensive because rich people wanna get richer. Poor people don’t stand a chance since money is in the wrong hands. Capitalism is not what it was supposed to be.

In Japan, things get worse because if you don’t have “ power “, if you don’t have money, if you’re not “ successful “, Japanese society looks at you as if you were a ghost. A nobody. Unfortunately there are many “ ghosts “ out there. Like unwanted guests or neighbors but they can’t leave.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Aso declined to give 100k again

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Politics is art of redistribution. This classic rule is still valid.

Meanwhile modern politicians fail to achieve high productivity and growth by active statist interventions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"The system itself has rules that assistance from family members must be the priority. So families receive notices saying things like 'your son is applying for welfare'," he said. "It's a very Japanese system. Everyone has the legal rights to use it. But society does not necessarily tolerate that."

This is criminal and a use of Japanese psychology by those in power to deter access to welfare.

Have to make sure there are enough funds for crony contracts for LDP donors like Dentsu!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Let me suggest an amount based on age and amount of public money spend vs possible future earnings.Persons under 18, no more than maybe 10k USD, younger than 12, no more than 1k USD. Working people up to 50: 250k. For every year above 50, reduce by 10k.

The value of ones life is not for anyone to decide but the owner of that life.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

In an article like this, JT should post a link to organisations or websites where we can help.

A lot of us foreigners here in Japan are above-average wealthy so why don't we set a good example and donate money, clothes, food or whatever we have in surplus? Or sign up as a volunteer?

I'll start :

https://www.npomoyai.or.jp/volunteer

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Yuichiro, who did not give his last name to AFP, said he was sent from one government office to another before being told assistance was only for those with children.

Mr. Suga needs to step up. This is disgraceful.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The Japanese Government should provide an Unconditional Universal Basic Income of at least 3,245,550.00 yen (equivalent of $30,000 United States Dollars) to all of its citizens. Further, the amount should always be adjusted for inflation. If an Unconditional Universal Basic Income went into effect, it would enable anyone who ever falls on difficult times to have a cushion. The Unconditional Universal Basic Income would be the equivalent of throwing someone who is struggling to swim a life jacket. The Unconditional Universal Basic Income should also begin in neighboring countries like Taiwan, Mainland China and so forth and maybe even become a Worldwide Cushion/Life Jacket for everybody.

It is time to get rid of this whole nonsense with classes. There should be no Upper, Middle and Lower Class. Society would function much better as a Classless society. Everybody and Everything should be all equal. It would work much better if wealth and other necessities were distributed evenly. No one should ever be denied food, shelter, water, money and fun. No-one should have more than anyone else as everybody's needs are equally important. No one is special and/or better than anyone else. We are all human and live and breath in the same World. Governments should make sure that everyone's needs are being met and as a result, Universal Basic Income for Eternity would be a milestone and also a cornerstone for making sure everybody's needs are being met.

This is really infuriating how we have individuals who live a lavish lifestyle by owning multiple mansions in various cities/countries, multiple luxurious vehicles, buying designer goods that are necessary and then we have individuals who cannot afford a room. It is time to get rid of indulgence and learn to live with less. Why does someone need multiple gigantic mansions???? Why can't they just be satisfied with a basic/ordinary home????? Rather than having extreme wealth and extreme poverty, it is much better if everyone had their fair share instead so everyone can live a high quality life. Universal Basic Income for Eternity would at least allow for everyone to have the basic necessities and have fun, not be denied any chances in life whether it be professionally or personally. Basic Income would also ensure no one ever gets rejected socially.

In conclusion, if Unconditional Universal Basic Income went into effect for eternity, everyone would be able to sleep better at night, have less stress and therefore have a better quality of life.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

a reputation for a strong social safety net

As in so many other areas, Japan's reputation here bears very little relation to the actual facts.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Being rich and a good life is a different thing. I did not want to sacrifice my life for money. Life is given only one time to us. For me, freedom of life and spirit was more important than money. I did not want to become a slave of businesses. Look, people in southeast Asia, they are poorer than Japan but they look they are living a lot happier."

Absolutely agree and applaud your choices...sounds like a life well lived. I subscribe to the same way of thinking.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Aly:

Sorry, but no sympathy from me. They're Japanese. They can vote. They by and large chose to keep the status quo. We as foreigners are disenfranchised and have to play the cards we are dealt. But they HAD and still HAVE a choice to vote out the people that put them in this predicament. They never do. You make your bed you sleep in it.

My thoughts exactly. I'm way past caring what happens to the people here. They have a choice to vote for a different government, which may or may not led to positive changes, but when you elect the same elites and fat cats over and over again, nothing will change. People need help and yet they're too proud to ask for it. Nothing to do with me since I don't get a say any case.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

I'm way past caring what happens to the people here. They have a choice to vote for a different government, which may or may not led to positive changes, but when you elect the same elites and fat cats over and over again, nothing will change.

Spot on.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The Japanese Government should provide an Unconditional Universal Basic Income of at least 3,245,550.00 yen (equivalent of $30,000 United States Dollars) to all of its citizens.

Is that affordable? Sounds expensive

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Yeah. I know several women who lost their jobs in hotels, restaurants and retail, and are now having to sell their cars or other things to eat.

But at least the government gave travel discounts to rich people, right? :|

12 ( +14 / -2 )

The Japanese Government should provide an Unconditional Universal Basic Income of at least 3,245,550.00 yen (equivalent of $30,000 United States Dollars) to all of its citizens.

People cannot live a decent life on ¥3.2 million a year. Do you know how much it costs to live in downtown Tokyo or Osaka? If you are going to give away money for no other reason than for being alive, give people the dignity of the same lifestyle of those who have the authority to make it possible. In the US, members of Congress make $175,000 a year. In Japan it is likely similar to that. That is the amount that any universal payment scheme should start. Anything less is elitist and selfish.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

The problem behind all this is the fact, that the promise of the system is not working anymore. In the U.S. it once was called ‘from dishwasher to millionaire’ or similar, and there really were existing touchable sample people for that. If you work hard, you will become rich, your dreams will all come true, and the like. I don’t mean that handful bosses of big companies who were born rich or otherwise extremely lucky or strictly self-exploiting until success. No, the average could reach it with normal efforts or slightly above. Now have a look wherever you want. You can wash dishes in the U.S. or prepare and sell ramen soup in Japan as much as you like for 24hours a day without holidays for years, anything maximum effort, but you will never ever become a millionaire. Even studying the hardest and then building a sponsored start-up business won’t bring success in the very most cases. And so on and on, the promise doesn’t work for the majority anymore. In contrary, your little monthly income , you could earlier feed a whole big family from alone, will not even sufficiently feed you , from whatever hardly or easily earned, and will quickly disappear into a nothing soon after anything bad happens, let’s say some months of pandemic for example.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So families receive notices saying things like 'your son is applying for welfare'," he said. "It's a very Japanese system. Everyone has the legal rights to use it. But society does not necessarily tolerate that."

Try that in Harlem! Lol.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

"With an unemployment rate below three percent and a reputation for a strong social safety net..." Where are you getting your information, an LDP website?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

"People cannot live a decent life on ¥3.2 million a year." Half the population does, and single-parent households, particularly those headed by women, on significantly less.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Around 40 percent of workers are in vulnerable "non-regular" jobs with lower wages and contracts that can be terminated easily. Many also struggle to access welfare.

All thanks to Takenaka Heizo under Koizumi. He’s at it again with Suga.

Takenaka also happens to be president of one of Japan.’s biggest temp agencies...’.’one of those that prey on the vulnerabilities of the 40% with no regular job.

Funny that.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

the shame and stigma of being a welfare recipient made many reluctant to seek help.

Pride cometh before the fall!

This is what many Japanese people don't see until its too late!

Help is there for those who need it, but people don't want to be seen as "weak" for asking for help or to bother others with their situation by asking for help! This kind of thinking needs to stop!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Is there any country without poverty ?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Reality have kicked in folks.

But yes...lets go to travel and Tokyo olympics looms...most "important" things to do now ...?At least by opnion of jpn gov...

8 ( +9 / -1 )

How many welfare recipients could have been supported by the Abenomask pork barrel theft just to name one example.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

UBI of $30,000 guaranteed would never work. Not everyone is drowning or even swimming.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Pandemic reveals hidden poverty in wealthy Japan

Oh really?

Come talk to normal everyday people, not the government, corporations or CEOs.

Come talk to the common tax paying individuals. They'll tell you what's up, real quick.

There's nothing "hidden" at the bottom.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

How many people could have been supported with the money spent on Abe masks, still yet to see anyone wear. How many people supported on the money spent on a cancelled land based anti- rocket rocket! Those in power earn in a month what other people earn in a year of actually working. There as signs, red flags that those in charge are living in a bubble of an alternative reality. Or they just don't care.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I am poor. I am retired and my income (pension) is a little over the poverty level of 2,000,000 yen a year.

I hate to single out a poster like this, but this all depends on circumstances. You cannot rent anywhere expensive on that money or support any younger family members, but if you own your own home like most Japanese retirees, it's enough money to get by. Downsizing and/or moving somewhere cheaper are very common for retirees.

I had my youngest child at 45, so I'll hit traditional Western retirement age of 65 with a child still in college. The Japanese seishain system is built around everyone finishing at 60, but anyone who became a parent at 38 is likely to still be supporting a very expensive college-aged child. The average age for men having their first child in Japan has already risen to 33. I'm 53 but am very unlikely to have two million yen in passive income like a pension and drawn down savings at 65. Like millions of others, I'll just have to continue working in some capacity.

I support UBI, but the higher the level people expect, the less likely it is to happen. The first step is to get it changed from zero to non-zero. Once it is introduced and the sky has not fallen in, then we can see how much would be appropriate.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

As the comments move forward, lots of variations on the topic taking place and I think it is good.

I would like to remind everyone that those that get divorced, whether the wife or the husband, the one with the highest Kyosai Nenkin forfeits 50% to the ex spouse with the lowest or no kyosai nenkin. I do not know if you can start getting any back returns should your ex start collecting a higher return later.

Your regular kokuminnenkin money is not affected, but it is so much lower anyway. $100,000 equivalent salary for 26 years will get you four grand in that nenkin. Not sure how much forty years will get you. But imagine working forty years at fifty grand a year and if you have no kyosai nenkin nor savings? God forbid if you have a mortgage.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A lot of us foreigners here in Japan are above-average wealthy 

Er, speak for yourself....... ;)

That said, I have lost around a quarter of my income thanks to the pandemic, and while I wait for it to steadily recover, or find an alternative source to make up the shortfall, we are feeling the pinch.

However, last night, my wife showed me the latest guidelines for childcare allowances, astonished that, modest though our current monthly income is, we are not even close to being what is considered hard up.

I hope that if the government has any spare change left after bailing out the bars and restaurants they send 300,000 yen or so to any family on, below or soon to be below the poverty line (a line that is already set too low for the '3rd largest economy').

6 ( +8 / -2 )

You can criticize and say these people can only blame themselves for the situation they’re in but I disagree. Nobody wants to be taking handouts if they don’t have to and I believe most of these people honestly want to work but fell upon hard times and Covid hasn’t made things any easier.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is sad, Japan is no where NEAR what she was when I washed up on these isles in 91!

This decline has been going on for a LONG time, the virus has just sped things up.

The govt just DOESNT care, simple as that & YES Japanese KEEP putting the same party in so they are VERY responsible for whats been happening

6 ( +9 / -3 )

It is time to get rid of this whole nonsense with classes. There should be no Upper, Middle and Lower Class. Society would function much better as a Classless society. Everybody and Everything should be all equal.

Comrades Vladimir Ilich and Trotsky would be proud of you. The viper oligarchs too, the ultimate beneficiaries of those dreams about the perfectability of man and the need for social engineering of the kind you’ve adumbrated, would no doubt also say nice things. Give this man a comrade Castro Cuban cigar!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

In an authoritarian society and authoritarian institutions, the virtue signalling of volunteerism is reserved for the entitled only.

When I asked about getting a chapter of the international service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega started over here in Japan, the former Dean of an American university here in Tokyo informed me that volunteerism does not fit Japanese culture. That was just before the Great Tohoku Earthquake.

In my former tenured position at a Japanese college, my superiors (I had no colleagues) informed me that unlike themselves, I am not entitled, authorized, or obliged to do volunteer work — without their permission.

And even students at Japan's highest ranked university, though willing to accept my help as a volunteer for their speech contests, declined to let anyone know. It would have meant a loss of face for their elite status.

The chickens are coming home to roost, and everyone is betting they won't be among the unfortunate.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Wealthy Japan ?!?!?!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

AFP obviously knows nothing about Japan.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I often blame the Japanese people for allowing many LDP cronies in office who selling out Japan for rich foreign investors. However, the case for Japan is quite difficult as the USA has been keeping the claws on Japan, so the country must accelerate the neoliberalization. 

Oh yea?? How about, learning using some of that self-defense for a change? Instead of excuses and

whining about it like a–

If there weren't so many Looting (sure) Does Pay party members on the take, things have changed a long time ago. But this is now. The middle of that worst-ever pandemic. Worst in the last– oh yea, there was that Enron thing. That happened…

Difficult? Impossible? These Neolibs are all about just owning everything or giving it away to their besties with benefits both ways. Never paying full prices, always getting discounts and their "aid".

Yea, that's such a "fair fight". So many people just go with the marketing. Flashy suits and drivers.

Keep voting the same way. Insane. Same Looters year after year like always. What do you think? "One day some of that trickle will drip down a fancy tailored blue navy suit pant leg and shower me in the face too?

Once that happens, I'll be all rich like they are!" The make it rich J-American Dream is here too!

Until your turn comes, just button it. Empty your piggy bank for the Looters and take your economic beatings like the proud warriors you are.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Or get off your butts and do your real patriotic duty and vote another way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"How many people could have been supported with the money spent on Abemasks?"

"How many people could have been supported with the money spent on the Abelympics?"

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Two Million ¥en ?! = Poverty

I lived on less than One, as a “Local Hire” SOFA Status Employee working on base in Japan... and that was LONG before any “Pandemic”

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I sincerely hope that the ones who come forward are given the help they need.Please help the ones in need

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seino said less than 20 percent of the people he helps are women, but he believes "many more" have not come forward.

Seino believes, but in reality is it?

I would refer to this.

Yuichiro, who did not give his last name to AFP, said he was sent from one government office to another before being told assistance was only for those with children.

In my experience it is really assistance was only for women with children and older women.

This was what I was told for years as a single father.

10 years on a waiting list for city housing that I never got, started when my children were preschool and toddler, got every excuse under the sun why I didn't get a place why financial assistance was not going to happen as they kept requiring more and more papers and documents.

I was not alone the same was happening to two other single fathers I meet.

Mean time we watched how the single mothers many with far more stable jobs jumped right past us.

Never got a city apartment, never got the single parent assistance nor did the other two single fathers,

But this is not unique to Japan, my own country of birth despite the claims of equality has the same problem, homes for single mothers in our 5 major cities only one home open for single fathers, I guess the children of single fathers are less important than those of single mothers.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Steve Martin

Perhaps you need to get out of your little academy world and see what the real Japan is like.

Just about everything is based around some form of volunteer duty.

Those people that patrol warning of the danger of fire in winter. The local volunteer fire brigades, notice there are few if any city street cleaners that is because it is all done by community volunteers.

I was part of the local disaster volunteer group, after the Tohoku earthquake we mobilized and went up there.

Festivals, emergency preparedness, street cleaning, park cleaning, crossing guards, fire prevention, even who cleans the local area garbage pickup spot, all done by volunteers and community service.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Some comments are faulting the Jgovt for having people below or on the poverty line. I just can't blame them wholly. Just take my case. My job contract wasn't extended to accommodate some Jlanguage students/trainees. Being out of work Iam receiving unemployment insurance which depletes govt funds while those who are given the job meant for us aren't doing the same. At the time that most are laid off and out of work, hordes of them are coming in and presumably working and I dare say working beyond the 28hrs limit per week yet skipping the right fees. Some senior/sempai leaders/staff who are enamored by exotic beauties disregard the effect on the company production in particular and erosion of public funds in general. Yet some sectors would blame the govt for all of these social problems. There are rotten company employees/senior officials who don't realize that they are the reason why the retirement age is changed. The fund is depleted not just because Jpeople are living longer, it is simply because people who are legitimately contributing to the fund is regularly laid off to give way to some who don't even rightfully contribute.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What should we as a society be willing to pay, with public money, to save your live or that of your loved ones? Let the haggling begin.

That is one question, but for me the bigger question is HOW do we have the money spent?

I think a system of mandatory individual savings/investment accounts would fit nicely.

For one, it puts money in the hands of individuals, not central planners who don’t have a clue about how to spend it well

For another, if people are stigmatized for accessing welfare, make it mandatory for every adult to have one, therefore it is their own business when they access it.

The mandatory accounts should be funded be reduced taxes so that individuals can afford it. And similar reductions in costs on the employer side to enable them to contribute as well, similar to DC retirement fund setups. Once individuals have accumulated sufficient funds in their mandatory account, they can keep their extra money.

For those who are out of work, the government uses what does remain of our taxes to top up the accounts so that the needy are provided for adequately when they are not able to provide for themselves.

Japan has a massive public spending problem, and a large part of it is that poor and rich people are paying money to the government in taxes but only getting 50% worth back. Individuals can spend the money on themselves better than public leeches in Kasumigaseki can.

Of course, innovative reforms along these lines to put individuals and families back in control of the money won’t happen, because too, too many people care more about how government goes about helping people, more than they care about actual results. Too many demand that government must be front and center, even though for years and decades even, we have been complaining that the welfare systems are failing the poor and costing us too much money for the trouble.

We need to reform these systems fundamentally, and make all taxpayers winners in the process (and the central government bureaucrats can be discharged to pursue careers in other fields)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wolfpack, you clearly missed the sarcasm in my post.

But even when you take my comment serious, your remark that the owner of a life set the price is totally wrong, it is society that pays so it is society that sets the limits. I value my life much more then any individual in my society is willing to pay, so do you I presume.

If you can actually pay out of pocket what you think you are worth, nobody will be stopping you, but there are treatments on the market that cost society much more than the average person receiving will be able to put back into it. That is the "cost" of a socialist society, which I'm glad to live in.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Perfectly accurate.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

*I'm way past caring what happens to the people here. They have a choice to vote for a different government, which may or may not led to positive changes, but when you elect the same elites and fat cats over and over again, nothing will change**. *ITS ALWAYS THE FOREIGNER IN JAPAN WANTING CHANGE AS THEY SEE FIT! This is Japan this is the structured culture as they know it. If I can recall I read where Americans say the exact same thing where the citizens continue to elect the same officials over and over again.

*@Antiqusavings Festivals, emergency preparedness, street cleaning, park cleaning, crossing guards, fire prevention, even who cleans the local area garbage pickup spot, all done by volunteers and community service. ***This is called community activism, I think its a great honor where people should volunteer and do the above in the communities where they live, it appears to be socialism in a capitalistic society, its great if it is saving money on a local level but on the national level it looks as cost savings. Japans problem is no different than any other country and that is the rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poor and this pandemic brought it out front and center. Large corporations rule, technology is replacing alot of ways in which people work. Look at the industrial revolution, we as people are in a situation where technology and a pandemic is pushing change and we as people were not ready for it. **

3 ( +3 / -0 )

AntiquesavingToday 09:48 pm JST

Perhaps you need to get out of your little academy world and see what the real Japan is like.

More than a bit presumptuous, aren't we 'antique'?

Will have to leave out specific institutional names in accordance with this paper's policy, but ...

Been here 38 consecutive years, and I left that academic world more than 5 years ago precisely because those fellow 'professionals' would not tolerate a foreigner setting the bar higher than their customary comfort of tenure ... introducing students to a roving soup kitchen for the homeless (in Shinjuku), volunteering with students at a local kindergarten, introducing students to the local city NPO Kokusai Koryu Kyokai (where I was a board member), taking them to local events supporting the severely handicapped, putting together communication workshops for mental health care outpatients through the local City Government, several trips to help teachers in rural Cambodia ... I could go on, but the point is, what looks good for the school, does not necessarily make other faculty look good. The petty politics of academia is every bit as bad as in the business world.

If my credentials are not enough, see Stephen Vlastos's 'Invented Traditions of Modern Japan', Ivan Hall's 'Cartels of the Mind: Japan's Intellectual Closed Shop', or Miyamoto Masao's 'Straitjacket Society: An Insider's Irreverent View of Bureaucratic Japan'.

Your point about volunteerism and communities is well taken.

My point, in relation to the article above, is that volunteerism and institutions mix like water and oil, and rather than education communities, Japan is more into education as micro-managed institutions. That 'micro-managing thingy might be the biggest difference between empathy-driven communities and rule-driven institutions. A big difference. Volunteerism in institutions undermines subtle but rigid hierarchies of social currency.

This is especially true at the national level. The Japanese national government did not even officially acknowledge Japanese volunteer NPO's until 1995 when it became clear that the government alone could not handle the support and cleanup of the Kansai earthquake. One would think the needless overnight deaths of JAL 123 would have been a good history lesson for the national government. But no. During the course of the Fukushima meltdown, the U.S. military twice offered help, and was twice refused. To stay within this paper's policy, can not go into further detail.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Not hidden...just ignored.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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