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Japan child poverty rate hits record high

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A boy sifting through floating garbage as he collects recyclable items to sell.

A new report shows that child poverty in Japan is at its highest level in the last three decades as critics rap Tokyo for failing to address the crisis.

The child poverty rate increased to over 16 percent in 2012, Japan’s Welfare Ministry said in a report published on Tuesday.

The figure marks the worst rate since the country started taking records nearly three decades ago.

Japan’s child poverty rate is also one of the highest among the 34 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The report revealed that over half of single-parent families are living below the poverty line, while nearly two-thirds of families with children said their financial status was bad or very bad.

Decline in household incomes is the main reason for the country’s high poverty rate, the report added. Japan is also showing a growing wage gap.

An increase in the number of low-paid contract positions in Japan has been the result of a weak economy coupled with deflation over the past two decades.

The Japanese economic slowdown comes despite aggressive measures taken by the government to boost economic growth after years of stagnation.

Economists say the Japanese government should implement promised economic reforms. Tokyo’s bold pro-growth program, a mix of big government spending and central bank monetary easing, is not enough to boost the economy, experts argue.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who came to power in December 2012, has vowed to revive the economy by unveiling a series of measures, known as Abenomics, to help ensure long-term economic growth for country.


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