Millions of Japanese Children face Poverty: Yet, Japan supports $1 Billion for International Children
Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The government of Japan pledged $1 billion dollars to support the development agenda of the United Nations (UN) last year and other projects continue to persist in helping international nations in 2018. However, internally in Japan, child poverty is a real issue. Similarly, instead of Japan supporting the agenda of the UN, why aren’t political elites in Tokyo taking the internal demographic crisis seriously and focusing on important issues?
In other words, the political elites in Japan are continuing to ignore serious domestic issues. For example, child poverty, the need to support single-parent families, tax credits to boost the ridiculously low birthrate and other policies to alleviate this internal crisis, focus on pension issues, and other important ills that face people in this nation. Instead, Japan is squandering the taxes of ordinary people on international development projects, financing major global institutions, holding elaborate meetings, and other areas that are self-serving – and outside the remit of helping Japanese citizens.
According to a report by UNICEF (2017) of the top 41 industrialized nations reviewed the nation of Japan came 34, in relation to child poverty. This shocking reality still doesn’t seem to wake up political elites in Japan. Hence, it is all well and good for the ruling elites to manipulate taxes raised from the hard work of ordinary people by funding international projects and agendas but charity should begin at home. Especially when the government is manipulating the taxes of people based on lofty international ideals.
The Daily Mainichi stressed in 2017, “Japan’s child poverty rate is 16.3 percent. One in six Japanese children is from a household below the poverty line. With fixed expenses like rent and utilities eating up much of these families’ budgets, it’s spending on food that gets squeezed when there isn’t enough money coming in. And so a family’s economic woes end up dictating what and how much food a child can get.”
This rate is even higher in certain prefectures. For example, child poverty is well above the average in the prefecture of Okinawa. Deutsche Welle – focusing on regional poverty in Japan – reported in the same year, “In some parts of Japan, such as economically depressed Okinawa Prefecture, the problem is even starker. Earlier this year, prefectural authorities released statistics showing that 29.9 percent of children are existing below the poverty line, a figure that is 80 percent higher than the national average.”
Hence, while the Foreign Ministry of Japan announced $1 billion dollars over two years to help children and youth internationally in 2017, how about focusing on child poverty at home in 2018 and in the proceeding years? Likewise, the objective of the UN is a far cry from the need to boost the Japanese birth rate and ease the way into university life for the most disadvantaged in society. Similarly, child poverty rates for single parents is alarming in Japan, to say the least. Therefore, after more than two decades of negative to very little economic growth in Japan – and with serious rates of internal child poverty – then charity should begin at home, especially when millions of Japanese nationals need assistance.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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