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Does Japan face poverty?


Japan is a developed country that has a reputation for being prosperous and wealthy. However, like many other developed nations, Japan still faces issues of poverty. In this article, we will explore the current situation of poverty in Japan, its causes and effects on the society.

Japan’s Poverty Statistics

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Japan’s poverty rate is around 15%, which is higher than some other developed countries. The poverty rate among children is even higher, with one in six children living below the poverty line. The elderly population is also affected by poverty, with many living on small pensions.

Japanese Snack Box

Causes of Poverty in Japan

One of the main causes of poverty in Japan is the lack of job security. Many companies are reluctant to hire full-time employees and instead rely on part-time or contract workers. This makes it difficult for workers to plan for their future and often leads to low wages and unstable employment. Another factor contributing to poverty is the declining birthrate, which has led to an aging population and a smaller workforce.

Effects of Poverty

Poverty has significant negative effects on individuals and society as a whole. Children living in poverty may not have access to adequate nutrition or healthcare, which can lead to long-term health problems. Poverty can also lead to social isolation and mental health issues. On a larger scale, poverty can lead to increased crime rates and social unrest.

Government Response

The Japanese government has taken steps to address poverty, including implementing policies such as increasing the minimum wage and providing financial support for low-income families. However, these measures have not been enough to eradicate poverty entirely.

Charitable Organizations

Several charitable organizations in Japan work towards alleviating poverty by providing food, clothing, and shelter to those in need. These organizations also offer job training programs and educational opportunities to help people break out of the cycle of poverty.

The Role of Education

Education plays a crucial role in combating poverty by providing individuals with the skills they need to secure stable employment and improve their economic situation. The Japanese government has made efforts to improve educational opportunities for low-income families, but more needs to be done to ensure equal access to education for all.

Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Japan’s economy and has worsened the situation for those already living in poverty. Many people have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced due to the pandemic, making it even harder for them to make ends meet.

Homelessness in Japan

Homelessness is a growing issue in Japan, with an estimated 4,000 people living on the streets. Many homeless individuals struggle with mental health issues or have experienced job loss or family breakdowns that have left them without a support system.

Solutions for Homelessness

Solutions for homelessness include providing affordable housing, mental health support services, and job training programs. Charitable organizations are also working towards providing practical assistance, such as food banks and shelter services.


While Japan may be considered a wealthy country, poverty still exists within its borders. The government, charitable organizations, and individuals must work together to address this issue through policy changes, educational opportunities, and support services for those in need.


1. OECD (2021). Poverty rate: Japan [Data file]. Retrieved from
2. The Japan Times (2021). One in six Japanese children live below poverty line: UNICEF report. Retrieved from
3. NHK World-Japan (2020). Poverty in Japan: Causes & Solutions.Retrieved from
4. The Asahi Shimbun (2021). Homeless population rises with pandemic fallout.Retrieved from

How does Japan handle poverty?

The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) was initiated by the Asian Development Bank in May 2000, with an emphasis on providing technical assistance to the most impoverished regions of Japan. JFPR aims to promote long-term social development by offering financial grants as well as teaching technical skills to the local population.

Does Japan have a low standard of living?

Keep in mind that Japan’s average living standards are already lower than other countries. Its per capita GDP at purchasing power parity is only 64% of the United States, 87% of France, and 92% of South Korea. This is in reference to relative poverty.

Which country has least poverty?

As of November 12, 2022, Iceland has the lowest poverty rate among all nations, with only 4.9% of its population living in poverty.

Is the majority of the population poor or wealthy in Japan?

In 2020, over half of the Japanese population, or around 53 percent, had a net worth between 100 thousand to one million U.S. dollars. The second largest group of people had a net worth between 10,000 and 100,000 dollars. These two groups combined made up about 86 percent of the population.

Is Japan a financially stable country?

The economy of Japan has a score of 69.3 in terms of economic freedom, placing it as the 31st freest in the 2023 Index. This score is slightly lower than the previous year by 0.6 points. In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan is ranked 6th out of 39 countries, and its overall score is higher than the world and regional averages.

Is it cheaper to live in Japan or America?

The average cost per square foot to purchase a home in the city center is approximately $335 in the US, while in Japan it is around $760, indicating a 57% increase. Nonetheless, home prices in Japan are generally lower than in the US, particularly since the onset of the Covid pandemic.

5. The issue of poverty in Japan is not limited to those living below the poverty line but also affects a significant portion of the middle class. Many families struggle to make ends meet due to high living expenses, such as housing and healthcare costs, and stagnant wages.

6. In addition to job insecurity, another factor contributing to poverty in Japan is the gender pay gap. Women in Japan earn around 30% less than men on average, making it more difficult for them to support themselves and their families.

7. The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted existing inequalities in Japan, with low-income households and marginalized communities being disproportionately affected. This has led to calls for increased government support and policy changes to address these disparities.

8. While charitable organizations play an important role in addressing poverty and homelessness in Japan, there is a need for greater government action and investment in social welfare programs. This includes increasing funding for affordable housing initiatives and expanding access to healthcare and education.

9. Another important aspect of addressing poverty in Japan is promoting greater social inclusion and reducing the stigma surrounding poverty and homelessness. This can be achieved through community outreach programs and public awareness campaigns that aim to change attitudes towards those living in poverty.

10. Ultimately, addressing poverty in Japan requires a multifaceted approach that involves both government policies and community-based initiatives. By working together, we can create a more equitable society that ensures everyone has access to basic necessities such as housing, healthcare, and education.

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