Japan's child poverty rate hits record high

TOKYO — Japan’s child poverty rate has hit a record high, according to a government survey, prompting criticism that Tokyo wasn’t doing enough to fix the problem.

The health and welfare ministry report showed the child poverty rate rose to 16.3% in 2012, the worst result since the survey started nearly three decades ago and one of the highest levels among the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The rate measures the percentage of children living in households with an annual net income below the poverty line—1.22 million yen per person.

Japan ranked sixth-highest in child poverty in the OECD after Mexico, Israel, Chile, the United States and Turkey.

“This didn’t surprise me,” said Masato Hirayu, a child poverty activist. “It is a natural result of the government’s inertia in fixing the problem.”



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