Monday, April 15, 2013

Isn't it time to cut military spending to fund human needs in Japan?

(Photo: Shiho Fukada,  The New Yorker: "People wait in line to receive a charity meal in Kamagasaki, Osaka. Once a thriving day-laborer’s town, Kamagasaki today is home to about twenty-five thousand mainly elderly day laborers, with an estimated thirteen hundred who are homeless.")

In January 2013, Tokyo increased military spending for the first time in 11 years: to 4.68 trillion yen ($52 billion).

Meanwhile, 310,500 people in Tohoku remain in temporary housing; Fukushima nuclear meltdown radiation is still uncontrolled; and Japanese people overall are becoming increasingly unemployed, under-employed, and even impoverished.

1 in 6 (more than 20 million) people in Japan live without food security, under the poverty line. In the last 10 years, over 700 Japanese people have starved to death.

According to the Gini Index (“the degree of inequality in the distribution of family income in a country”), in Japan has gone from .25 (1993) to .33 (2008). Japan also has one of the OECD's highest poverty rates (15%), close to Mexico's. It is even higher for the elderly.

At the same time, the consumption tax and government debt has increased.

Isn't it time to cut military spending to fund human needs in Japan?

(Tokyo already has the world’s sixth largest military budget.)


Sophelia said...

I knew that there were a lot of people living in poverty in Japan, but I had no idea the numbers are so high. Thank you for this important post.
Do you have a source you could share for the other statistics (I mean, except for the Gini Index)? I remember being given a flyer once about the percentage of people living in poverty who were single parents but I haven't been able to find the statistic again.

TenThousandThings said...

Thank you Sophelia.

The transformation of Japan from a middle-class society to a relatively poor country has happened so fast.

Found some of the information at Second Harvest Japan which links to a fact sheet in Japanese showing that the poverty rate of single parent households is 50.8%:

Sophelia said...

Thank you, there's a lot to read at that link.