Even the most developed societies are struggling with inequality.
Stringent privacy laws and a culture of keeping up appearances make it hard to spot much of the poverty in Japan. In central Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward, another affluent neighborhood that is home to the University of Tokyo and the Tokyo Dome baseball stadium, a joint project between government and local groups identifies poor families and covertly provides them with some free groceries so that neighbors don’t know. Seven cases of domestic violence have been found via the program.
“People are afraid to be known as poor households and that fear is increasing their stress,” said Hironobu Narisawa, the ward’s mayor. “We want to support them in a closed, invisible way so that they won’t be stigmatized.”