MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) - Child poverty continues in Japan, with one-in-six children reported to be living in families with incomes below the poverty rate for the country, Yomiuri Shimbun reported Monday.
“Children from poor families are sending out an SOS, but they’re not being heard,” said Yukuo Shinbo, a professor of social welfare at Kanagawa University of Human Services.
Despite the ongoing increase in child poverty rates in Japan, according to Shinbo, the situation is not fully recognized, causing aid to be scarce and difficult to obtain.
According to Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s child poverty rate has been on the rise since 2003, reaching a record-high of 16.3 percent in 2012, July 15 Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry figures revealed.
Criteria categorizing poverty rates are set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. First household income is divided by the number of people in the household and each individual is placed into national rankings. Children whose families have less than half the median income of Japan — 1.22 million Yen in 2012 (approximately $11,730) — are recorded in child-poverty rates.
“I’m grateful to the people at the hospital. But the administration didn’t pay attention to us until I thought my children might die. I’m sure there are a lot of people like me,” a 28-year-old former temporary employee said of her difficulties in obtaining welfare benefits to feed her two daughters, Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
There is a startling correlation between divorce rates and child poverty in Japan. According to Yomiuri Shimbun, there are 1.24 million single-mother families in Japan, with an average annual income of 1.81 million Yen (approximately $17,403), half the income of single-father families. Only 10 percent of single-mother families receive welfare benefits despite a steady increase in child poverty.
This summer, the Japanese government is to release an outline of child poverty countermeasures, inspiring the Yomiuri Shimbun investigation of Japan’s current state of affairs concerning child poverty.