quote of the day

It is unprecedented to see such a widening income gap in Japan. Our society is definitely becoming a class society.


Yoshio Sasajima, an economist at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo. He says the growth of the working poor -- not seen in such numbers since Japan surged to wealth in the 1980s -- has been a shock to a country that once prided itself on being a bastion of economic equality. (AP)

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the working poor are poor because they are honest working people. if they had their hand in the till like most of the company presidents/politicians/bureaucrats/elites - i.e. mislabeling, selling tainted foods, scamming people out of their study abroad or study english money, fiddling with pension fund money, ad naseum - they would be rich too.

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The financial situation is starting to mirror the real situation, is all.

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Actually the gap has been here all along Dr. Yoshio "Einstein" Sasajima. Every economic system and every nation has an income gap between rich and poor -- DUH!

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ptolemy: He wasn't talking about the gap between the rich and poor, but between the poor and middle class, which has been really low before in Japan. It became like this because Japanese companies had a very equal wage policy (your time in the company determined wages), and there was plenty of blue collar jobs. Because the wages were quite high, a lot of family business and restaurants received a 'trickle-down' effect, thus leading to a very large middle class, with very low unemployment. Low wage jobs were usually taken by students and others who hadn't yet entered the work force.

Of course, since Japan is no longer employing such a massive industrial work force, there's not enough high-paying jobs to go around, and because of demography, not enough students and young people to fill the low-wage jobs or help out in the family business, which means a lot of people that would be unemployed 'blue collars' are now working in low-wage service jobs. These should really be thought of as unemployed when deciding national economic strategy.

I would also like to agree somewhat with outofmydepth, before, if you were an honest worker, you had a good-paying job in a large company. Now, if you're an honest worker, you're most likely killing yourself at some konbini or bentouya. Of course, Japan isn't outsourcing everything like certain countries, so there's hope for the future at least ^_^.

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Low wages are a huge problem, not just for people struggling on little money but for society as a whole. When you work full-time and are still robbed of the dignity a job should be giving you, you stop caring. A country where too many people have stopped caring is going to have serious social problems. Japan also needs to avoid the mistakes made in many western countries, where wages have become so low that it is more lucrative for some people to be unemployed. Being on benefits has become a career choice. In Japan the problem is the opposite, with lack of help for single parents for instance. Japan needs to find the right balance because it is clear the old family structures are falling apart, there is a need for much more state help for vulnerable people.

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Why would Yoshio Sasajima,an economist at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo, be shocked by the widening gap between the rich and the poor? He is an economist at a university that teaches neo-conservatism like most other universities around the the world. Meiji Gakuin University has even produce Finance Ministers and other high officials for the Japanese government. So must share some responsibility for the wealth gap or does this mean universities don't think about the problems their graduates are going to cause. I'm just a dummy with degrees in history and politics with a minor in psychology and I am amazed at how many university trained neo-conservative politicians are in "socialists parties" and don't understand that their concepts are neo-conservative. If an economist is shocked by the wealth gap it leaves little hope for the Japanese economy.

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Sorry but it does say "working poor". Guess it threw me off. The article isn't very clear.

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When you work full-time and are still robbed of the dignity a job should be giving you, you stop caring.

The job doesnt owe you anything. Come to think of it, life doesnt owe you anything.

It is up to you to define your happieness. Whatever "dignity" means to you, it is up to you to find out how to get it...not the government.

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