One Japanese in six is living in poverty says the latest Welfare Ministry report [en]. According to OECD figures [en], Japan has one of the highest poverty rates in the developed world and is 4th after only Mexico, Turkey and the U.S.
Ever since the high economic growth of the 1960s, Japan has inhabited the myth that all Japanese people belong to the middle class. However, Japanese-style employment, which is at the heart of this myth, has been transformed by the increase in nonregular employment and other factors, and a growing number of Japanese live in poverty.
As many debate on their blogs, nowadays the income gap in Japan is far from being new. When the economic Bubble burst in the early 90s it revealed the weaknesses in the Japanese system and since then many experts say the country has never completely recovered from recession.
Ysaki suggests how this problem has always existed but have been regarded by most Japanese as a somebody else's problem.
Although there is certainly a problem and it is one very close to us we pretend not to see it and in doing so, we have come to convince ourselves that it is none of our business.
Miyabi-tale considers that the issue has a long history and that responsibility must be traced back to political inertia.
Under the LPD government, slogans such as ‘In Japan there is no poverty’ or ‘A total of one hundred million middle-class households’ used to be announced but it has again become apparent that this was far from being the truth.
There are those though who prefer to consider the other side of the coin.
Ukkii hopes that this black period in the Japanese social and economic history would bring a return of the strength of spirit for which the Japanese people are renowned.
Is it all right for things to go on like this until the country's economy recovers?
When the Japanese people were poor after the war, they did their best with no hesitation and managed to improve the situation as we now know.
If only we again had the same HUNGRY SPIRIT of that time I am sure that even if we can't immediately change the whole country, keeping our companies strong and competitive is still possible.
I am an employee but I try to see things from a CEO's point of view because if we are far-sighted, there are many discoveries and improvements to be made, which can be applied to a variety of things.
The phrase ‘hungry spirit’ is perhaps forgotten nowadays but I'd like to put it forward again.