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Japan, ranked 34th out of 41 developed nations in UNICEF’s child poverty index
Japan has some of the worst wealth inequality and highest rates of child poverty among the world’s developed nations.
In UNICEF’s index Norway was ranked first, meaning that nation’s income gap among households with children was the smallest among surveyed countries. Norway was followed by Iceland and Finland. Japan was ahead of countries such as Italy, Spain, Israel and Greece. The bottom nations were Mexico, Bulgaria and Romania
The report may come as a “shock to those that believe that Japan is a relatively equal country and that not many children suffer dire poverty,” said Aya Abe, a professor of social security and poverty studies at Tokyo Metropolitan University.
The survey compared the incomes of the bottom 10% of households with children to the average income of 41 countries who are members of the OECD or the European Union.
The income gap in Japan was found to be 60.2% meaning the household income of Japan’s most underprivileged families with children was less than 40% of the average.
Widening income disparity
Japan has experienced widening income disparity over the past few decades. While the average annual income of households rose from ¥1.77 million in 1985 to ¥2.11 million in 2012, the income of the poorest fell from ¥902,500 to ¥840,000 during the same period.
Japan’s “relative poverty rate” among children, or the ratio of those aged up to 17 whose annual household income slips below half the median national disposable income, stood at 16.3% in 2012, one of the highest rates among OECD nations.
These results are likely to provide Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s critics with further ammunition that the nation, despite the application of the Abenomics policy mix, retains a serious and worsening poverty problem.