Japan is considered a wealthy nation and one of the largest economies in the world with a negative unemployment rate, good security and an organized use of taxes. Many end up creating the illusion that in Japan there are only rich people, and if we imagine the minimum wage of 5000 reais and a cost of living that is even lower than in Brazil, we can dream that in Japan poverty is zero or very different. than poverty in Brazil.
Japanese culture also has its problems, the way Japan works ends up leaving 20 million people on the poverty line, mostly single women and the elderly. It is clear that poverty in Japan is different from the poverty that many people around the world imagine, but a large part of the population lives in limit on your salaries.
Poverty may be seldom visible, but it is present in poor neighborhoods and slums, between the homeless people, people who lose all credibility in the job market, people who lose their material possessions in natural disasters or those who use their entire salary to pay expenses and debts. No matter the country, poverty is inevitable, as we are part of a capitalist system that does not benefit everyone.
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Single mothers and poor elderly in Japan
Japan makes financial life difficult for single mothers, especially if they have children during school. Many pregnant students end up dropping out or even being forced to drop out of their studies and are left without college. This ends the chances of finding decent jobs, leaving the mother to resort to factory and half-danger jobs while caring for the child alone.
Job prospects for single women and seniors are often not good. Many Japanese companies only hire strong young people and avoid hiring people who are uneducated, who are approaching old age or who have other specific problems. The jobs these people get are low-paying (50% of the average salary) and with no hope of promotion.
It doesn't matter if the single mother receives government aid or if the senior is retired. The amount they receive is insufficient to support themselves, making them dependent on the family or working odd jobs to earn extra money. Some even steal, the rate of retirees stealing in Japan has soared in recent years.
Visible poverty on the streets of Japan
It's hard to say how many Japanese are technically "poor" in Japan, but it's fair to say that we don't easily find rows of homes and families living in dire conditions or people starving. Japan hides poverty so well that we can hardly imagine that there are poor Japanese people.
In big cities like Tokyo we will find people lying on cardboard at night on the street, tents and tents of homeless people appearing in parks and disappearing at dawn. And mostly hungry people in a line waiting to get some soup. Of course, not everyone is living on the street because they are poor.
There are many personal aspects that make a person live in poverty, such as pride or the idea of never accepting help from the government or family. Others are simply kicked out of their homes or run away for some personal reason. Some are just crazy, we cover all of that in our article on homeless in japan.
The truth is that there are poor people who live on the street collecting cans and doing jobs that offer very low remuneration. We can see these examples of poverty in anime and dramas like Hinamatsuri and Yamada tarou monogatari.
Other reasons that cause poverty in Japan
As much as Japan is a rich and cheap country, some things end up making poverty spread differently in Japanese society. Raising a child in Japan is extremely expensive, healthcare is paid, public schools are paid, various services that could be free require a certain cost, even if small, it can be a source of poverty.
Taxes, despite being well used, are also not usually low. A large percentage of your salary is usually used to support household expenses and food. Japan is also a capitalist country dominated by great leisure and appealing entertainment that makes you waste your money without even realizing it, leaving many bankrupt.
The aspects of poverty in Japan are so obvious and yet it is inexplicably difficult to convince people that they exist. Loan sharks, hostess clubs, concerts, prostitution, pachinko and many other factors contribute to bankruptcy and slave labor for many Japanese people. Some children even live with their parents in adulthood as hikikomori without working.
There are numerous reasons why the Japanese face financial difficulties, the important thing is to make it clear that even if poverty is not at high levels or heavy as in other countries, it exists and is among society as in any country. What is your opinion on the matter? I hope to be able to address more aspects on the subject in other articles. We appreciate the comments!