Children of poor, jobless single moms have become an underclass in Japan


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.”

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Yoshiaki Nohara — The Japan Times

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Modi’s actions fail to live up to his words

Modi meets Jinping

A critical piece on Indian PM Modi from The Japan Times.

Modi borrowed the language on Nov. 8 to order a “surgical strike” on black money, removing from legal tender the two highest denomination 500- and 1,000-rupee notes that accounted for 86 percent of India’s currency stock. Demonetization showed Modi confuses impetuous and headstrong for bold and decisive leadership.

In summary, it caused considerable damage and disruption to the economy and adversely impacted the material conditions and rights of the people, without discernible success in meeting the declared goals. However, although dubious as an economic decision, it paid off as a political gamble, proving Modi is a party politician, not a national leader. Modi has been determined to consolidate, expand and centralize state power more than unleash the creative business potential of the Indian innovator, entrepreneur and trader.

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Ramesh Thakur — The Japan Times

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