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Japan’s Poverty Rate Remains Well above OECD Average (News)

Tokyo, June 27 (Jiji Press)--Japan's relative poverty rate in 2015 fell slightly from the previous 2012 survey, but remained well above the average for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member economies, a government survey showed Tuesday. The relative poverty rate, which measures the proportion of people with a disposable income of less than half of the median income of the…

Child Poverty, the Grim Legacy of DenialAbe Aya

Foreign tourists visiting Japan see clean, safe city streets filled with neat, well-dressed people. They encounter almost none of the familiar signs of urban poverty, such as slums decorated with gang-related graffiti or homeless people begging in the streets. These outward appearances have helped maintain Japan’s international reputation for economic fairness and equality. It is an image the Japa…

Japanese Women Face Tough Reality in Work and MarriageKawaguchi Akira

Despite much-trumpeted policies aiming to encourage female participation in the workforce, Japanese women must contend with both an economic gender gap and the gap between their aspirations and the reality for careers and marriage. Gender studies specialist Kawaguchi Akira assembles a range of data to analyze the situation for women in Japan today.

Wrestling with Poverty and Income InequalityKomamura Kōhei

Japan is not the only industrialized nation that has seen an increase in income inequality in the past few decades, but it is one of the few countries where the poor are actually getting poorer. Komamura Kōhei draws on hard data to document this trend while examining its social and policy implications.

Sparking Social Change: Public and Private Partnerships in Japanese ODAKitano Naohiro

As an increasingly diverse range of financing and investment across different sectors of society is directed at developing countries, official development assistance is making up a smaller portion of resources flowing to less-developed areas. With an eye to the future, the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Kitano Naohiro considers the role Japanese ODA should play as it moves forward.

The Barriers to Budget Balance in JapanOkazaki Tetsuji

Despite the crisis-level size of its public debt, Japan continues to run large deficits financed by additional borrowing. Economic historian Okazaki Tetsuji examines the barriers to restoring health in government finances.

Don’t Hurt Recruits to Help Senior BureaucratsHorie Masahiro

The government has decided to sharply slash the intake of new civil servants and offer reemployment to those who retire. Veteran bureaucrat Horie Masahiro, now vice president of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), argues that personnel management for the civil service must not be hard on the young and soft on senior mandarins.

Is Too Much Riding on the National Achievement Test?Hayakawa Nobuo

In April 2012, Japan’s national achievement test was held for the first time in two years. The examination was first introduced as a response to rising criticism of the “room-to-grow” educational policy, called yutori kyōiku in Japanese (yutori meaning “relaxed” or “pressure-free”). Critics of that policy argued that competition was a necessary ingredient for raising students’ academic performance…

The Rise of China and Its Significance for East AsiaShiraishi Takashi

What does the rise of China really mean for the other countries of East Asia? In this essay, Shiraishi Takashi, editor-in-chief of Nippon.com and president of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, stresses the need for a multifaceted perspective.

Pursuing Comprehensive Reform of Japan’s Social Security and Taxation SystemsTango Yasutake

Statistically speaking, Japan’s fiscal situation is the worst of all the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Although Japan’s national budget for fiscal 2012 totaled ¥90.3 trillion, Japan had only ¥42.3 trillion in tax revenue. The ¥44.2 trillion shortfall was made up by issuing government bonds. On top of this, the unusual measure was taken of issuing a…

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