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Poverty of Children Weakens Japan

Mai Watanabe

July 26, 2018

Poverty of Children Weakens Japan

In the world, 9.6% of people lives under $1.9 per a day. It is called “absolute poverty.” 60 million of children cannot attend school because of poverty.On the contrary, 90% Japanese think that they belong to the middle class. This thinking appeared in 1970s, and it is continuing to prevail among young or old people. So, most of the people think that poverty problem is only developing country’s problem, but in reality Japan has the same problems.    In Japan, 15.6% of people is called “relative poverty.” Relative Poverty is different from absolute poverty. The standard of relative povety in Japan is an annual income under 1.2 million yen. The standard is calculated the half of median of the equivalent disposable income. And it is still decreasing. It was 2.9 million yen in 1997, but it is 2.4 million yen now.

Statistics Knows

Osaka prefecture enforces the survey on actual situation concerned with the life of children of 5th grade and 8th grade and their parents. This survey indicates the difference between poor families and median or higher families. While only 0.6% of median or higher families answered it is difficult to go to hospital, 7.7% of poor families answered. Only 2.3% of median or higher families answered it is difficult to buy new clothes, but 27.6% of poor families answered.

   On the contrary, the rate of possession of smartphone of poor people is as same as the ones of median or higher families. Possible cause is poor parents are busy and away from home when children are at home, so a smartphone is important communication tool between parents and children. Similarly, the possession rate of television and video game is as same as the median or higher families. But the education side has a large gap. While 61.8% of median or higher families’ children take the practice like sports, musical instrument and so on, only 39.8% poor families’ children take the practice. Possession rate of book except comics or magazines is 63.8% in poor families.

   And most of poor families can’t save money for children. 80% of median or higher families have a fund of money for children, but only 20% of poor families do it. More than 70% of poor families answered that they would like to save money, but they can’t. Saving for future helps to go to high school or university. However, poor families can’t it and the education gap between them grows and grow.

Reproducing Poverty

Why poor families are poor? Some people say that they haven’t made efforts to study, so they are poor. However, they cannot get the opportunity to learn. Probably, their family doesn’t have enough money to go to high school and after the graduation or dropping out, they have to work. And their poor academic background causes poor salary. And if they have children, their life is more and more hard and their children can’t get opportunity to learn, too. Poor parents work hard, but they cannot get enough salary because they don’t have school career. So most of them work as part-time employment. The non-full time employment rate is growing, and it is 35% now. The wage gap between the regular employee and part-time employee is very big. Most of part-time employees earn under 3 million yen per a year.

Concern of Declining Japan

I concern that Japan would become poor country. If people always buy the cheapest things or even nothing, the amount of sales will decrease and companies will make a labor cost cut. Companies hire more part-timers employees because it is cheaper for them to pay for the regular employees. So increasing number of people become poor. Poverty is not another person’s problem.

   I wish the number of poverty is reducing. Therefore, Japanese government should hear the real voices of poor people and solve the education gap first.

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