Living with hunger in candlelight world
The Japan News -- Aug 26
One in six children live in poverty in Japan, supposedly one of the most prosperous countries in the world.

The nation's child poverty rate was a record-high 16.3 percent in 2012, according to figures released July 15 by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Some children give up on advancing to higher levels in school due to poverty, while others do not get enough to eat. How can we create a society in which a child's economic situation does not control his or her future?

The government plans to release an outline of child poverty countermeasures this summer. In anticipation of this, The Yomiuri Shimbun is examining the current state of affairs and exploring the issues involved.

Rise in divorce boosts child poverty

The child poverty rate represents the proportion of children whose families have incomes below the level that would allow them to live an average life. The criteria are set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Household income is divided by the number of people in the household and each individual is placed into national rankings. Then authorities count the number of children under 18 years old whose families have less than half-Y1.22 million in 2012-the median income.

The child poverty rate has been worsening since 2003. It rose 0.6 percentage point in 2012 compared to three years before.

The increase in one-parent households due to the rising divorce rate is thought to be one cause of the situation. There are thought to be about 1.24 million single-mother families nationwide. They have an average annual income of Y1.81 million, half that of single-father families.

Yet only about 10 percent of single-mother families receive welfare benefits.

深刻化する子どもの貧困の改善を目指して、政府が初めて作成する「子供の貧困対策大綱­」の案が示されました。経済支援だけでなく、教育の支援も強化します。 大綱の政府案では、基本方針として、貧困が世代を超えて連鎖することがないよう教育の­機会均等を目的としています。
News sources: The Japan News, ANNnewsCH
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