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Japan's relative poverty rate as of 2007 was found to be 15.7 percent. That relative poverty rate was up from what it stood at in 2004, which was 14.9 percent, according to the OECD survey. Japan has the fourth highest poverty rate among the 30 OECD member nations. Japan has 19 million people who are living below the poverty line. The elderly, older workers, recently unemployed graduates and single mothers make up the majority of people who are living in poverty. The OECD survey found that 59 percent of those who are living in poverty are single parents. The Gini coefficient for Japan is 37.6 in 2008. [1] Japan has been experiencing a significant increase in the number of people living in poverty. The labor Ministry reported that almost one out of every 6 people live in poverty, which accounts for about 17% Japan’s total population. This equates to nearly 20 million people in Japan living in poverty. Many people believe Japan is generally middle class, as the Japanese government kept poverty statistics in a secretive manner up until 1998. The government knew about the poverty problem, but was hiding it,” said Makoto Yuasa, head of the nonprofit Antipoverty Network. “It was afraid to face reality.” [2]

Japan's Gini Coefficient

Gini japan.gif


Social Welfare in Japan

Employers are compelled to enroll their employees in health insurance, employee pension, unemployment insurance, and workers accident compensation insurance. Employers are expected to bear the full cost for compensation insurance. Employers and employees share the cost of other safety nets.[4] Japan has a public assistance program that services 2.02 million people. Welfare benefits cover eight categories; food, clothing and utilities, housing costs, compulsory education, medical care, elderly care, cost for giving birth, job training, and funerals.[5]


(2010) Poverty in Japan. Retrieved April 23, 2012 from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ed20100125a2.html

(2012) The WorldFact Book. Retrieved April 24, 2012 from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2172.html

  1. "The World Facebook: Bangladesh." Https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bg.html. 11 Apr. 2012
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/22/world/asia/22poverty.html
  3. http://www.economist.com/node/7066297
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_welfare_in_Japan#Social_Insurance
  5. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20110705i1.html
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