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Japan's relative poverty rate is one of the highest among the OECD nations. The reason is that our taxation and social security systems are so feeble, making it impossible to rectify female poverty or


University of Tokyo Prof Mari Osawa, an expert on social security. More than 40% of working women earn less than 2 million yen a year. (Asahi Shimbun)

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I'd say there is as much chance of building igloos in Okinawa as there is of any meaningful reform in this area while the LDP remain in power.

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Imagine what might happen Japan's relative poverty rate, if Aso listens to Singapore Minister Mentor's advice to open up its immigrants/permanent residency/citizenship policy to foreigners.

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Most of the women I know make more than men here.

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most of my friends here are female and well educated, but it seems that unless you have trained for a specific vocation then you're gonna be an OL. a more general degree seemingly means jack

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If you're married and working and make more than 2 million (I think) then your taxes and health insurance rates go up beyond what you make. It makes good logical sense not to make more than 2 million. The government should address this issue soon.

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If a married woman earns over about 1.3 million, not only does she become liable to pay her own health insurance and pension premiums as well as income tax and local tax, her hubby also loses his spouse tax allowance. This means that a woman earning around 2 million is basically working to pay taxes, since she ends up with no more money in hand than her sister who earns 1.3 million. So it makes sense not to earn in the region of 1.3~2 million. And the law of diminishing returns continues to apply up to about 2.5 million. This is why there's a big gap between married female part-timers (earning up to and no more than 1.3 million) and married women in properly paid, full-time employment.

It's also a reason why employers aren't keen to invest in training the married female part-timer; the better she gets at her job, the higher her hourly pay rises, and the less work she opts to do because it's only going to go in taxes anyway.

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The reason is that our taxation and social security systems are so feeble

Another reason is that many women prefer to work short hours, and they can do it by sponging off their parents.

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What happens if the Japanese spouse marries a forigner who works in Japan but does not pay Japanese taxes? Does her tax burden increase also?

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Alphaape, foreigners working in Japan pay Japanese taxes. There's no escaping it as it is deducted from your pay check and the city will send you tax statements that you have to pay.

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Orchid64, I work on one of the bases as a GS. So my income is not taxed by Japan. So what happens to my wife's income? Since I pay US taxes is the cap on income for her recorded by Japan?

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my income is not taxed by Japan. So what happens to my wife's income?

If you don't pay Japanese taxes you don't get a Japanese spouse allowance, and they can't take away what you don't have in the first place. Dunno what happens about her pension and health insurance - I imagine that depends on whether she's included in your system and whether that's recognised by Japan (I imagine it would be) - but she should be paying income tax and local tax same as everyone else. There is no 'cap on income'; your wife is free to earn as much or as little as she likes.

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