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Increase in Senior Citizens Sees Record 1.64 Million Households on Welfare in 2017

The number of households receiving welfare benefits rose by 0.2% in 2017 to a new record high of 1.64 million households, according to a survey by the Ministry of Heath, Labor, and Welfare.

11 Die in Fire at Home for People on Welfare in Northern Japan (News)

Sapporo, Feb. 1 (Jiji Press)—Eleven people have died in a fire at a residential facility mainly for those on welfare in Sapporo, the capital of the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaidō. Around 11:40 p.m. Wednesday (2:40 p.m. GMT), a passerby made an emergency call to fire authorities reporting the blaze. The fire was brought under control around 5:15 a.m. Thursday after destroying the t…

Kumamoto’s “Baby Post” and the Right to Know One’s ParentsMorimoto Nobuyo

Since the “Stork’s Cradle” baby hatch was established at Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto 10 years ago, 130 children have been left there by parents who felt they could not raise the infants on their own. A journalist who has closely followed the story casts doubt on the claim that the hatch has been a lifesaver for unwanted children and points out that it violates the child’s right to know one’s biological parents.

Shibusawa Eiichi: Japan’s Moral Capitalist

Meiji-era entrepreneur and business leader Shibusawa Eiichi established and helped run over 500 banks and commercial enterprises during his lifetime, earning the reputation as the “father of Japanese capitalism.” But he also believed that morality and economic activity were inseparable and that public interest should come before profits. Using this doctrine, he was involved with some 600 social welfare organizations. The Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Museum in Tokyo tells the story of the influential industrialist and philanthropist.

The Plight of Japan’s Single MothersAkaishi Chieko

The number of single mothers in Japan is on the rise, and half of all fatherless families fall below the poverty line. Akaishi Chieko shines a light on a segment of Japanese society in which the old problem of gender discrimination converges with the new problem of growing poverty and income inequality.

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.

Skid Row, Yokohama: Homelessness and Welfare in JapanTom Gill

Several major Japanese cities have a slum district known as a doya-gai. The word doya is a venerable piece of Japanese street slang. It is the word yado (an inn) reversed, and it means a cheap lodging place. The nearest English equivalent would be “skid row”—in both cases, we are talking about a slum that is populated almost exclusively by men. The most famous ones in Japan are Kamagasaki, in Osak…

Seeking the Path to Full Deregulation of Online OTC Drug SalesIshikawa Kazuo

How can online sales of over-the-counter drugs serve the needs of consumers in an aging society? Ishikawa Kazuo, a senior fellow of the Tokyo Foundation, addresses the question.

South Korea’s Explicit Family Policy and Japan’s Implicit ApproachSōma Naoko

South Korea has reformed its family policy to respond to its declining birthrate, aging population, and other changes, such as the increase in international marriages. Sōma Naoko examines the situation in South Korea to shed light on approaches to family policy that might suit Japan’s needs.

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.

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