By William Wetherall
Final draft of report
commissioned but not published by
Filed 28 October 1987
Posted December 2002
Part 1: Who, where, and why
Part 2: Social security system
Part 3: Vulnerable groups
Part 4: Social pathology
Part 5: Case summaries
Part 6: Tables
Part 7: English sources
Part 1: Who, where, and why 1.1 Welfare trends in Japan 1.2 Japan's backyard poverty 1.3 Kinds of poverty 1.4 Income distribution Part 2: Social security system 2.1 Public assistance 2.2 Fukuoka prefecture 2.3 Families on relief 2.4 De facto poverty line 2.5 Employment and relief 2.6 Child welfare 2.61 Child Rearing Allowance 2.62 Special Child Rearing Allowance 2.63 Child Allowance 2.64 Widows' Welfare Pension 2.65 Motherless Family Tax Exemption 2.7 Dissemination of information 2.8 Political party positions on poverty Part 3: Vulnerable groups 3.1 The resident of skidrows, parks, and stations 3.11 Day laborers 3.12 Street people 3.13 Mental illness and homelessness 3.2 Minorities on relief 3.21 Residents of former outcaste communities 3.22 Ainu Japanese 3.23 Unassimilated poverty 3.24 Resident aliens Part 4: Social pathology 4.1 Delinquency 4.2 Crime 4.3 Welfare fraud 4.4 Crimes by mentally ill vagrants 4.5 Crimes against vagrants 4.6 Prostitution 4.7 Suicide 4.8 Fatherless families in shelters 4.9 Fatherless families on relief 4.10 Educational deprivation 4.101 College enrollment by economic class 4.102 Factors that limit class mobility Part 5: Case summaries 5.1 Starvation and Neglect Case 1: Elderly couple found one month after starving to death Case 2: Young couple in financial trouble starve son to death Case 3: Unemployed father fails to feed motherless children Case 4: Separated mother relieved of relief starves to death Case 5: Debt-ridden family on the run dies in a tent 5.2 Sheltered Fatherless Families Case 6: Retarded mother and delinquent daughter in shelter Case 7: Over-protected woman unable to do basic chores 5.3 Prostitution Case 8: Shinjuku mother cum prostitute 5.4 Crimes By Mentally Ill Vagrants Case 9: Paranoid revolt against poverty and rejection Part 6: Tables Table 1: Local differences in public assistance rates Table 2: Concentrations of poverty in selected social groups Table 3: Economic status of students at public and private colleges Part 7: English sources 7.1 General articles and books 7.2 Japanese government and related publications
Part 1: Who, where, and why
1.1 Welfare trends in Japan
- Poverty is decreasing, but dependency on welfare is increasing.
- Over one percent of Japan's population is on relief.
- Two percent more receive child welfare for low income families.
- Ten percent earn less than those on relief.
- The national relief rate has been stable, but prefectural rates have been moving up and down as local conditions vary.
- Peripheral prefectures have higher rates than central prefectures.
- The poor tend to concentrate in urban areas.
- Families have primary legal responsibility for poor members.
- People with cashable assets or ability to work cannot get relief.
- Most people on relief are sick or disabled, or elderly.
- Single-parent families, day laborers, vagrants, and foreign and Japanese ethnic and social minorities are more likely to be on relief than other groups.
- Low education and broken homes are major contributors to poverty.
- Poverty in an affluent society encourages delinquency and crime.
1.2 Japan's Backyard Poverty
Japan is now known as an affluent country. Some critics worry about the "spiritual poverty" which they believe that affluence has brought. A few of Japan's wealthier citizens have joined the elite club of international philanthropists who relieve their consciences and tax burdens by trying to save starving people outside Japan. But most people in Japan and abroad seem unaware of the people in Japan who are not fully sharing in the Japanese dream.
During a 1985 quirk of media concern about mass starvation in Ethiopia, a weekly magazine for commuting businessmen ran a picture of a "soapland" bath girl immersed to her plump midriff in a tile tub filled with milk. Below this photo was one of a black boy sucking his mother's shriveled breast. And on the next page was a shot of the food that office employees had left on their plates at a company banquet.
Conspicuously missing was a picture of a street bum picking a meal out of the refuse cans behind the banquet hall, late at night or early in the morning, before the garbage trucks came to carry the waste to a local pig farm or a landfill. Or a police photo of a mother found dead of starvation in her apartment.
Apathy or ignorance about the poor is part of the syndrome of affluence, even in the socialist states that preach the equal distribution of wealth, and in Japan which prides itself on being a large extended family that takes good care of its own. Some scholars and journalists, and welfare officials, recognize that poverty exists in Japan. But in the eyes of the country's securely employed, well-fed and smartly-dressed, Japan is supposed to be free of the welfare disease that plagues some other industrialized states.
In July 1986, a Kyoto tourist agency organized a tour for high school students to see a Calcutta slum. If the trip had not been cancelled, the cream of Japan's youth would have seen the kind of abject suffering that has moved some Japanese travelers to return to Japan and mount ideological campaigns against the "capitalist" and "racist" injustices of white western civilization. If the air-conditioned bus had detoured through Patna, the students would have dseen the place where a few months earlier a man had poisoned his wife, six children, and then himself, because he could not make ends meet.
The Japanese travel agency believed that its heart was in the right political pocket book. It figured that if more Japanese students could witness deprivation, they would realize how well-off they were and take more pride in being Japanese. They would stop bullying their classmates, and rather than question the purpose of their education, they would dream of saving the world by exporting Japan's superior moral traditions to culturally disadvantaged countries like India.
Indians in Japan were incensed by the plan. The Indian government tourist office reportedly refused to cooperate with the agency. An officer of the Kansai chapter of the Japan-India Association called the tour "inhumane" and said that the students could see poverty in Japan. The agency withdrew its first pamphlet and issued one proposing what a published letter from the Embassy of India in Tokyo called "a wholesome and interesting tour of India for youth from Japan.
1.3 Kinds of Poverty
Japan does indeed have its share of poverty. Government welfare spending increases every year, and private charities are also expanding. But both are mainly concerned with the handicapped and elderly. Anti-poverty measures rescue only those with nothing who have no where else to turn. People are not encouraged to go on relief, and the stigma of living off welfare remains a strong incentive to be self-reliant or depend on relatives.
Physical poverty is a condition of life defined by lack of wealth, or by lack of access to the necessities, amenities and opportunities of life that wealth can buy or represent. But there are many kinds of poverty-absolute and relative objective poverty, subjective poverty, and case and collective poverty.
People are absolutely poor if they lack the food, clothing and shelter required for survival. By this definition, there are very few poor people in Japan. Less than one person in one-thousand is living on the street or in a flop house, and only slightly more than one percent of Japan's population is living on relief.
People are relatively poor when they are able to survive, yet want to-but cannot-attain the wealthier standard of living of most other people in the surrounding affluent society. By this definition, all people in the lower income brackets-at least ten percent but as many as thirty percent-are materially poor.
Living standards vary with place and time, however. People on relief in Japan today objectively have more material wealth than the average person in many other countries in the contemporary world or in Japanese society a century ago. Yet even people of average means in Japan today are subjectively poor if they think that they are somehow deprived compared to others in Japan or abroad. By this definition, all people in Japan who feel that they are disadvantaged by a shortage of natural resources are poor, as are those who dwell on the notion that their "rabbit hutch" housing conditions are nationally inferior to housing conditions in most Euro-American countries.
As an object of social welfare policy, however, poverty is most conveniently classified into two types. Case poverty occurs when individuals or families are unable to secure the basic physical needs in a prosperous society, owing to their inability or unwillingness to earn their way. In Japan, most public assistance goes to individuals or families unable to earn their own livings because of physical or mental illnesses or disabilities, to elderly people with inadequate pensions, and to fatherless families. Relatively few people are on relief because they are unable to work due to alcohol or drug abuse, laziness, or inability to manage money.
Collective poverty affects groups of people who share certain conditions or traits which slow or impede their success in the surrounding society or world. An undeveloped country or a discriminated social minority may suffer such poverty.
Examples of collective poverty, also called insular poverty, are found in some economically depressed and developing prefectures, in isolated rural hamlets, in the flophouse ghettos of major cities, in some Korean and burakumin (former outcaste) communities, and in Ainu villages. Collective poverty may also strike enclaves of households engaged in cottage work, and towns and villages heavily dependent on specific and vulnerable industries like mining and fishing. While many Japanese communities are of mixed economic class, most big cities clearly have some predominately low-, middle-, and high-class neighborhoods. Class differences can be seen in the suburbs, too.
1.4 Income distribution
When individuals or households are divided into income groups, the ratios of people or families in the upper and lower income groups is a measure of how equally income is distributed. The same method can be used to show how assets are distributed. Several government agencies publish such distributions, based on total annual receipts, scheduled monthly pay, or income reported on tax returns.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare annually surveys the economic conditions of nearly 10,000 households. All families in the lowest fourth of the 1984 distribution had an income of less than 208,000 yen monthly, while families of four in the lowest quartile had incomes under 292,000 yen a month. The average income for all families in the lower quartile was 130,000 yen per month, which was lower than the model livelihood allowance for people on relief (152,960 yen basic allowance and 186,050 yen total benefit for a family of four living in Tokyo).
A comparison of public assistance benefits and lower-quartile means for the past decade shows that the absolute value of the model livelihood allowance has been pulling ahead. From 1975 to 1980 the total benefit vacillated around 1.3 times the lower-quartile mean. Since 1981 it has been over 1.4 times the mean.
Since the official minimum livelihood benefit corresponds to more than the mean income of the lowest 25 percent of the population, then more than 12.5 percent and as many as 20 percent of the Japanese population is living at or below the de facto poverty line. In the United States, people living below the poverty level in 1960, 1970, 1980, and 1984 were 22.2 percent, 12.6 percent, 13.0 percent, and 14.4 percent.
The most useful data for comparing the livelihoods of Japan's high and low income earners is published by the Management and Coordination Agency, based on its annual survey of income and expenditures of over 5,000 households. The 1986 survey showed that the lowest fifth of the 5,141 households sampled earned an average total annual income of 2.84 million yen compared with 9.91 million yen for the highest quintile. The second, third, and fourth quintiles were respectively 4.17, 5.24, and 6.63 million yen. The income of the lowest tenth was 2.37 million yen compared with 11.50 million yen for the highest decile.
The households in the upper income groups had fractionally more members and paid more taxes, however, so the gap in per capita disposable income would be smaller than the gap in gross income. Even then, the standard family on relief may have more money to spend than the low-income family which earns too much to receive public assistance but not enough to pay taxes.
Part 2: Social security system
Less than two percent of Japan's population is not covered by some kind of comprehensive health insurance which pays most of its medical costs. Practically all adults are also covered by some kind of pension insurance, some pensions pay too little to meet typical living expenses. The incomes of most full-time workers are also protected against short periods of unemployment and permanent disability. A variety of special provisions are made for the mentally and physically handicapped, the elderly, refugees, orphaned children, single-parent families, and other families with little or no income.
The nearly two percent who are not covered by general health plans, as either employees or dependents, are the bedrock poor. These include people on relief and chronically unemployed day laborers. The relief rate has been low and stable, but an increasing number of households with low incomes, especially single-parent families, are receiving some form of child welfare.
2.1 Public assistance
Impoverished individuals and families are provided means-tested benefits according to the Livelihood Protection Law [Seikatsu hogo ho] in force from May 1950 and most recently modified in May 1986. Seven kinds of cash and in-kind benefits are available in the form of livelihood, education, housing, medical, maternal, occupational, and funeral allowances. The program also allows a basic tax exemption, and it pays supplementary allowances to women who are pregnant or have just given birth, and to elderly people, fatherless families, handicapped people, homebound patients, radiation disorder patients, and orphans and foster children; and it allows numerous kinds of emergency relief for victims of fire and other disasters.
As a proportion of the entire population, the percentage of people on ordinary relief has been constantly decreasing since fiscal 1951 (April 1951 - March 1952), six years after World War II, when an average 2,046,646 individuals in 699,662 households a month received some kind of public assistance. By fiscal 1985, these figures had dropped to 1,431,117 individuals in 780,507 households.
The individual assistance rate thus fell from 2.42 percent of the population in 1951 to 1.18 percent in 1985. Individual relief rates in 1985 were lower in rural (1.09) than in urban (1.21 percent) areas. They varied considerably by prefecture, from highs like 4.17 percent (Fukuoka), 2.55 percent (Kochi), and 2.40 percent (Okinawa), to lows like 0.35 percent (Gifu and Toyama) and 0.36 percent (Shizuoka). These reflect regional differences: central Japan just west of Tokyo has the lowest rates; Kyushu, the Pacific side of Shikoku, and Hokkaido and northern Honshu have the highest rates.
The urban/rural difference is also seen in each region. Hence Tokyo prefecture's rate (1.14 percent) is near the national rate but is higher than the rates of all surrounding prefectures. The rates of Kyoto (1.33 percent) and Osaka (1.29 percent) prefectures are also higher than those of all surrounding prefectures, though Hyogo prefecture (Kobe city) is comparatively low (0.75 percent).
The urban/rural difference seems mainly due to a concentration in urban areas of the kinds of families and individuals who are most likely to need public assistance. Such a concentration is probably encouraged by the better capability and willingness of the larger municipalities to provide support. This is indirectly suggested by the breakdown of the kinds of families on relief.
2.2 Fukuoka prefecture
Regional differences are not easy to explain. Some prefectures may be stingier in their application of national criteria. Or people in some prefectures may be more willing to accept assistance. Other factors are the state of the local economy and demographics. In 1972, the year the United States returned Okinawa to Japan, the prefecture had a relief rate of 3.27 percent. By 1985 the rate had dropped to 2.40 percent, apparently due to increased prosperity.
The classic example of how Japan's anti-poverty measures respond to local needs is seen in the case of Fukuoka prefecture, which had to care for tens of thousands of unemployed coal mine workers and their families as a result of massive layoffs in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Until then, Fukuoka had been one of Japan's most prosperous prefectures, since it was the center of Japan's coal industry, and coal had been Japan's major source of energy.
In the 1950s, however, Japan began to use more oil, and the coal mines were forced to rationalize. This resulted in strikes, lockouts, dismissals, and both temporary and permanent unemployment. Japan's oldest and largest mine, at the Miike coal field near Omuta city in southern Fukuoka, was the center of a protracted nationwide labor dispute which began in 1959.
Accidents have plagued the industry. The ten worst coal mine disasters in Japan have all occurred after 1945. The worst two, and the worst four to seven, have all struck Fukuoka mines. The other worst four have hit Hokkaido mines, including the third worst at Yubari in 1981, which claimed 93 lives. In the worst disaster, an explosion at a Miike mine in November 1963 left 458 dead and 500 injured. The second worst took 237 lives at another Fukuoka mine in 1965. Two other major accidents in Fukuoka mines in 1960 and 1961 took a total of 158 lives. The fourth worst took 83 lives at a Miike mine in 1984,
The welfare response to such local unemployment and disaster is reflected in Fukuoka's public assistance rates. In 1951 the prefecture had a relief rate of 1.01 percent, the lowest in the country. But by 1955 it was nearly two percent, and in 1960 it became the highest in the country at 3.46 percent. In the following three years it jumped one percent a year--4.16 percent in 1961, 5.15 percent in 1962, and 6.21 percent in 1963, when it peaked. Fukuoka's relief rate dropped below six percent in 1965 and below five percent in 1970. If present trends continue it may fall below four percent by 1990.
The relief rates of most other Kyushu prefectures also peaked during the early 1960s (the others peaked in the late 1960s). But their rates did not rise nearly as sharply as Fukuoka's rate. The relief rates of all Shikoku prefectures, northern prefectures including Hokkaido, and Japan Sea prefectures like Tottori and Shimane, also rose and peaked about this time. Most of these peaks came in 1963, which caused the national rate that year to register a momentary peak in its otherwise downward drift.
2.3 Families on relief
The number of households on relief consisting of single members (the nominal head of household) has increased from about 25 percent in 1951 to 57.2 percent in 1985. This increase seems mainly due to the increase in older households from about 20 percent in 1955 to 31.2 percent in 1985. Sick or disabled households on welfare have increased from about 30 percent of the total in 1965 to 44.8 percent in 1985. Half (50.9 percent) of the heads of the single-member households in 1985 were sick or disabled, compared to only 36.6 percent of the heads of the households consisting of two or more members.
The percentage of fatherless households has remained relatively constant. After dropping from roughly 15 percent in 1955 to 14 percent in 1965 and 10 percent in 1975, it was back up to 14.6 percent in 1985. The rise after the drop is related to the increase in the population of baby-boom couples, and hence the population of women who are vulnerable to separation through death or divorce.
The sex and age breakdowns of the heads of new (as opposed to continuing and terminated) households receiving public assistance, however, suggest that male heads of households are going on welfare at older ages while female heads of households are going on welfare at younger ages. Most of the 9,973 men who started going on welfare in fiscal 1975 were in their forties (29.4 percent) or thirties (23.3 percent), while the 5,458 women who did so were in their thirties (23.6 percent), sixties (17.8 percent), or forties (17.5 percent). But most of 7,674 men who began going on relief in 1985 were in their forties (30.6 percent) or fifties (28.9 percent), while the 4,566 women who did so were in their thirties (28.8 percent) or forties (21.4 percent).
2.4 De facto poverty line
Physical poverty is usually a question of how much money an individual or family needs to survive. The poverty line is the income below which a family cannot maintain a defined minimum standard of living. The major factors involved in determining this amount are the type of family and the standard of living in the local community.
Japan, however, does not define a poverty line. Public assistance is given only to people who have no assets, are unable to work or to earn enough to support their families, and do not have relatives able to care for them. The system puts primary legal responsibility on the extended family, and it stresses the value of work.
Since 1960, the model family on relief has consisted of four members, a 35-year-old man who is sick, a 30-year-old woman who works, a 9-year-old boy in elementary school, and a 4-year-old girl, living in a 1st-zone city like Tokyo. From 1946 through 1959, the model family consisted of a 64-year-old man, a 35-year-old woman, a 9-year-old boy, a 5-year-old girl, and a 1-year-old boy.
Such models are defined only to facilitate descriptions of the public assistance program in general literature and statistics. Actual benefits are based on sliding scales, and so they are tailored to the circumstances of the individual or family in need.
Each year the government sets the amounts of the various kinds of allowances available under public assistance for three residential zones and two sub zones, or up to six categories. The livelihood allowance for the model family is now tied to the consumer price index. In 1946 it was 200 yen, in 1960 it was 8,914 yen, and in 1985 it was 160,387 yen. In addition to the basic allowance, the model family also received a 9,000 yen housing allowance, a 1,710 yen education allowance, and a 22,570 yen tax deduction in 1985, which brought the monthly payment to 193,667 yen. The same family living in a 3rd-zone municipality received a basic allowance of 131,517 yen and a total benefit of 157,697 yen. The 1st-zone total benefit was 156,266 yen for a fatherless family of three, 120,246 yen for an unemployed elderly couple, and 86,356 yen for an unemployed elderly woman living alone.
While the rate of reliance on public assistance has been stable if not declining, the compounding of basic benefits has been rising. In fiscal 1985, some 82.0 percent of all households on relief received the livelihood benefit, 62.0 percent received the housing benefit, and 19.2 percent received the education benefit. All of these were up from 1975, when respectively 76.9 percent, 45.8 percent, and 18.8 percent received these three benefits. The medical benefit has been used the most (83.8 percent in 1985, up from 81.4 percent in 1975), while the maternal, occupational, and funeral benefits have been used at declining rates of less than half a percent each.
2.5 Employment and relief
One reason the occupational allowance is rarely utilized is that very few heads or other members of households on relief are working. In 1985, only 15.8 percent of the heads of households on relief were working. In only 5.6 percent of the other households was a member other than the head working, while in 78.7 percent of all households no one was working. These figures are only slightly changed from 1975 when they were respectively 15.5 percent, 7.2 percent, and 77.7 percent. But they are radically different from the 1960 when 39.1 percent of the heads of households were working, while at least one member in 16.0 percent of the other households was working, and in only 44.8 percent of all the households on relief was no one working.
The breakdown of kind of employment among working heads of households on relief shows dramatic changes. Between 1960 and 1975, the percentage of permanently employed doubled from 13.6 percent to 27.38 percent, and it had doubled again to 50.8 percent by 1985. The percentage of heads of households on relief who worked as day laborers dropped from 34.4 percent in 1960 to 25.2 percent in 1975, and fell to 17.7 percent in 1985. The percentage of home industry workers, and workers in other categories, also declined.
Most of the over 1.4 million people receiving public assistance in Japan are not working, mainly because they are sick or disabled, or because they are too old or too young. But about 10,000 recipients are healthy enough to work if they could find jobs. Many can't find jobs because they lack the qualifications for available jobs.
The Health and Welfare Ministry is now trying get healthy people off relief by providing them with vocational training, through a program that is paid for half by the national government and half by the local government. Of 110 recipients enrolled in an experimental program in ten prefectures during fiscal year 1986, some 45 (41 percent) were able to get jobs after six months to one year of training. 6 of those who got jobs were able to go completely off relief, while another 11 were able to reduce their relief. The program is being introduced in nine more prefectures in fiscal 1987.
The program involves mainly on-the-job training. Employers who participate in the program receive 2,000 yen per trainee, per day, out of which they pay the trainee 500 yen per day. Trainees who make the grade are employed by the employer on a part-time or full-time basis.
2.6 Child welfare
Several semi-relief programs benefit the children of low income families which do not qualify for public assistance. Most of these programs are administered by the Ministry of Health and Welfare through prefectural and municipal governments. The number of children benefiting from these programs has generally been increasing faster than the population, partly because more families are becoming eligible, but also because relevant laws, enacted after the Child Welfare Law of 1947 (enforced from 1948), have been amended to relax eligibility conditions.
2.61 Child Rearing Allowance
The Child Rearing Allowance Law [Jido fuyo teate ho], implemented from 1962, provides income security for needy families with single or foster parents who are raising children under 18 years of age (under 20 years of age if the child is handicapped). Until 1985, a 32,700 yen monthly stipend was granted fatherless families consisting of a mother and one child if the mother's annual income was less 3.61 million yen.
From August 1986, a two-tier scheme was implemented which provides two different stipends depending on the mother's income. The benefit now pays 33,900 yen to a mother who is raising one fatherless child and earned no more than 478,000 yen the previous year in salary after the standard tax-table deduction. The benefit is reduced to 22,700 yen if the mother earned more than 478,000 yen but no more than 1,773,000 yen (a lower-class income). The income permitted increases with the number of dependents the mother can claim for tax deductions.
Determining eligibility is fairly simple in cases when the father has died. When the family is fatherless because of divorce, separation, abandonment or disappearance, the mother must show evidence that her spouse or the child's legally-obligated guardian is unable to pay child support. No benefit is paid if the spouse or legal guardian earned more than 5,768,000 yen (a middle-class income). This amount increases with the number of claimed dependents.
Foster parents of orphaned minors are also eligible to receive this allowance. But they are permitted annual incomes of up to about 8,000,000 yen (an upper-middle-class income level).
In 1985, in addition to the children in the 113,979 fatherless families who received basic relief under the Public Assistance Law, 647,606 children--2.0 percent of the 17-year-old and younger population-benefited from the Child Rearing Allowance. This was 2.6 times the number who benefited in 1975 (251,316) and 3.8 times the 1965 figure (170,346). Practically all such children have been in broken homes, but the proportions of children in the different categories of homes have changed.
Over the past two decades, the percentage of benefiting children in homes headed by a divorced women has doubled (from 38.0 percent in 1965 to 75.8 percent in 1985), but the number of children in such homes has increased 7.6 fold. The percentage of children in homes headed by an abandoned spouse has dropped (from 15.3 percent in 1965 to 7.3 percent in 1985) but the number has increased 1.8 fold. Children in homes headed by a disabled father have also increased 1.8 fold but are fewer percentwise (9.7 percent in 1965 versus 4.5 percent in 1985). Children in homes headed by unwed mothers increased 1.6 fold though the percentage has dropped (from 12.7 percent in 1965 to 5.4 percent in 1985), and they now exceed children in families headed by widowed mothers, which increased 1.3 fold while dropping in percentage (from 14.9 percent in 1965 to 4.9 percent in 1985).
Divorce is the leading cause of broken homes even in non-welfare families, and the number of single-parent families has been rapidly increasing. A Ministry of Health and Welfare survey of single-parent families with children under 20 years of age estimated that there were 718,100 fatherless homes and 167,300 motherless homes nationwide in August 1983. More fatherless homes (54.2 percent) than motherless homes (49.1 percent) were headed by a divorced parent, and more fatherless homes (40.0 percent) than motherless homes (36.1 percent) were headed by a widowed parent. But more homes in which one of the parents had disappeared were headed by women (5.7 percent) than by men (3.2 percent), and more homes were headed by women (9.1 percent) than by men (2.6 percent) who had separated for other reasons.
2.62 Special Child Rearing Allowance
The Special Child Rearing Allowance Law [Tokubetsu jido fuyo ho], implemented from 1965, now provides the parent of a mentally or physically handicapped children a monthly benefit of 41,100 yen for a child with a severe handicap, and 27,400 yen for a child with a moderate handicap. The allowance is paid only to the applicant has earned no more than 3,559,000 yen and the spouse or legally responsible parent has earned no more than 6,017,000 yen (both amounts increase with the number of tax dependents). An additional supplement is paid to homebound handicapped minors who need special care. Several other benefits are available to parents of handicapped children, and provisions are made for the welfare of all categories of handicapped adults.
122,162 children (including 2,696 with multiple handicaps) benefited from this allowance in 1985. This was 1.8 times the 69,386 (including 1,750 with multiple handicaps) who benefited in 1975. The 1985 breakdown was 45.2 percent physical handicaps (80.8 percent external handicaps, 19.2 percent internal handicaps) and 52.7 percent mental handicaps (94.6 percent mental retardedness, 5.4 percent other mental disorders). In the decade since 1975, mental handicaps increased in relation to physical handicaps, and internal physical handicaps (such as severe disorders of the heart, kidney, liver, or blood) increased in relation to external physical handicaps.
2.63 Child Allowance
The Child Allowance Law [Jodo teate ho], implemented in 1975, was originally intended to assist families with more than two children. A family received a monthly allowance of 5,000 yen per child for their third and each subsequent until the child completed its compulsory middle-school education.
The law was amended in 1985 to change the benefit in three annual stages beginning in 1986. From June 1986, the original allowance continued to be paid, and families with a second child up to age two became entitled to received a new 2,500 yen allowance. In fiscal 1987, the scheme provides 2,500 yen for a second child up to age 4 and 5,000 yen for each additional child in school through the 3rd grade. From fiscal 1988, it will pay 2,500 yen for a preschool second child and 5,000 yen for each additional preschool child.
The child allowance is granted only to low-income families. The qualifying income limit for a family of five presently varies from 2,316,000 to 4,235,000 yen--both lower- to lower-middle-class incomes.
The families of 2,045,718 children received a child allowance in fiscal 1985. 88.8 percent of the children were third children.
2.64 Widows' Welfare Pension
Widowed mothers of children under 18 years of age are provided a survivor's pension. An annual benefit of 622,800 yen was paid in 1986 for the first child, up to 186,800 yen for the second child, and up to 62,300 yen for each additional child.
2.65 Motherless Family Tax Exemption
Widowed or divorced fathers of who are raising dependent children qualify for a special income exemption of 250,000 yen on their national taxes and 240,000 yen on their residence taxes, if their annual income is not more than 3,000,000 yen.
2.7 Dissemination of information
Japan does not advertise its anti-poverty programs on prime-time television or in weekly magazines. But there is no shortage of information for those who seek it.
The social welfare sections in the municipal offices of big cities like Tokyo are well-prepared with a variety of information in the form of colorful and clearly detailed pamphlets, some of the them published by the wards themselves, explaining the kinds of services available and the conditions for receiving them. The Tokyo Metropolitan Welfare Bureau, and the closely-related Tokyo Metropolitan Welfare Council, a social welfare foundation, publish numerous brochures and bulletins on the many social welfare programs they administer. The latter maintains an information center which has a large and well-arranged welfare library open to both researchers and the public, and on-line computer information on welfare services and equipment.
Tokyo prefecture's annually up-dated pamphlet on social welfare services and policies has sections on "dowa" (referring to the "integration" of the descendants of former outcastes otherwise known as burakumin), and "San'ya" (referring to the flophouse area which caters to migrant day laborers and homeless people), in addition to the usual information on public assistance, child welfare, and other programs. Setagaya ward publishes a two color glossy brochure which summarizes the various kinds of child allowances, without figures, but it inserts a sheet which shows the latest values of the benefits and the income restrictions which apply for each kind of allowance.
Smaller municipalities generally have less information available in handout form for people who inquire about welfare services. They rely more on prefectural pamphlets and brochures, and publish little information themselves. Comparatively fewer people in the city, town, or village (but not necessarily a lower population rate) have need for such information, and the production costs per capita are too great. Nagareyama city, for example, with a population of about 130,000, has a small stock of a black-and-white Chiba prefecture guide to child allowances and services for fatherless families and widows. It also has copy-machine prints of locally-written instructions for its 200 recipients of public assistance. Other information is given orally.
Nagareyama, an hour or more commute from Tokyo, is paying for its proximity to the capital with a greater welfare burden. Nagareyama's assistance rate used to be one of the lowest in Chiba prefecture. Recently, though, it has been climbing, not because more local people are becoming destitute, but because poorer people are moving into the city from more expensive areas like Tokyo.
2.8 Political party positions on poverty
All major Japanese political parties address problems of social security and welfare. But no party seems to considers poverty a major problem. In 1984, the now defunct Welfare Party [Fukushito], which existed for only a few years, started a telephone counseling service mainly handicapped people. The founder of the party was Eisaburo Maejima, alias Eita Yashiro, a TV actor who became a diet member after falling from the stage and crippling himself.
In response to a telephone survey of the five major parties, the most socialistic parties seemed the least anxious to share information about their social policies. A representative of the Japan Socialist Party [Shakaito] said that he was too busy to talk about the party's welfare policies, would discuss the subject only on an appointment basis, and would not provide copies of printed materials beforehand. A representative of the Japan Communist Party [Kyosanto] would not send a copy of its policy guidebook but gave the names of some inconvenient bookstores where one could be bought. The Komeito (Clean politics party), founded by but no longer officially an arm of the Soka Gakkai church, gladly sent a copy of its bulky policy guidelines for 1987. And the Liberal Democratic Party [Jiminto] and the Japan Democratic Socialist Party [Minshato] went to the trouble to make copies of relevant pages from their policy guidelines.
JDSP is particularly concerned with fatherless homes. It advocates more income protection for fatherless families, in part by increasing available allowances and relaxing the conditions for receiving them; better job opportunities and working conditions for the mothers of fatherless families; preferential access to public housing for such families; more counseling; and revisions in the educational loan system provisions which would allow more fatherless children to attend high school.
JDSP also wants to improve public assistance by upgrading it from its present character as a safety-net program which rescues people after they become impoverished, to a more general scheme which would prevent poverty by providing better medical care, pensions, and child allowances to more low-income and needy people. The party feels that people receiving assistance should be allowed to earn more without jeopardizing their benefits. The basic stipend should be increased in regions where it is now lower and so minimize regional differences. The stipend itself should be put on a sliding scale so that more low-income families could receive assistance. The housing and education allowances should be increased, as should the tax exemption. The opinions and wishes of families receiving assistance need better representation on welfare councils. Families on assistance need more counseling and support. More needs to be done to regenerate destitute families, and to secure the economic independence and livelihood volition of low-income families.
The LDP claims, in general terms which lack specificity, that it is endeavoring to provide more support for fatherless families, people on assistance, and day laborers. It also states that it is promoting policies to improve employment opportunities for Southeast Asian refugees, returnees from China, and mothers of fatherless families.
The Komeito wants across-the-board improvements in all welfare laws and services. Its proposals are fairly specific and are similar to those of the JDSP, but they also cover improved working conditions and protection of migrant workers. Komeito also takes a swipe at the educational elitism and factionalism in employment, and it proposes to eliminate such biases in the hiring, pay, and promotion of civil servants and company employees.
Part 3: Vulnerable groups
While poverty can strike any individual unable to pay his way, some groups are more vulnerable to the social and economic forces because they share the attributes which tend to result in unemployment and therefore dependency on welfare. The elderly, and the mentally and physically handicapped, are obvious examples, but these groups are supported by their own welfare programs. Other groups, which more often than the general population rely on public assistance, include the residents of skidrows, parks, and stations like day laborers and vagrants, and minorities groups like the residents of former outcaste communities, Ainu Japanese, and resident foreigners.
3.1 Residents of skidrows, parks, and stations
The Airin (Kamagasaki) district of Nishinari ward in Osaka city is Japan's largest skidrow with about 20,000 resident and migrant day laborers. Tokyo's San'ya district, with an estimated population of 8,040 day laborers and vagrants as of December 1986, is the second largest but perhaps the most famous skidrow in Japan. Two other famous day-laborer areas are Yokohama's Kotobuki-cho and Nagoya's Sasajima. Many other big cities have a flophouse street with a hiring hall and a welfare center nearby, and charity soup kitchens amidst the food and drink places which cater to the local share of the country's tens of thousands of chronically unemployed and homeless.
"San'ya" refers to a part of Metropolitan Tokyo which is mainly in Taito ward to the west of Minami Senju station but also spills into Arakawa ward to the east. This section of Tokyo is near Ueno station, a huge train terminal that serves as a kind of "Ellis Island" through which many rural people migrate to the city from northern prefectures in search of "the Japanese dream".
In December 1984, some 7,217 or 17 percent of San'ya's population of roughly 43,000 residents were living in about 200 flophouses. Only 23 percent of the flophouse occupants were registered as residents in the neighborhood. The San'ya flophouse population has hovered around the 7,000 level since 1980, after reaching a peak of 15,000 at the time of the Tokyo Olympics two decades ago, and then falling to the 10,000 level, which continued through the oil shock of the early 1970s.
As the number of San'ya laborers has dropped, the population has become much older and more settled. In 1970, more than half of San'ya's residents were in their 30s or 40s and had lived in the area for fewer than 5 years. Now most laborers are in their 40s or 50s and have lived in San'ya for 6 or more years, including over 40 percent who have lived there at least 10 years. Such figures suggest how in Japan, as in other countries, poverty can become a way of life.
Japan's skidrows are characterized by their relative absence of women and families. Only 0.6 percent of San'ya's flophouse occupants in the 1984 survey were women. Unskilled women, more readily than men, can find jobs outside skidrows in the food, drink, janitorial and other service industries. But men more than women can be seen collecting cardboard and junk.
Most of San'ya's men are single and homeless. Some came from rural areas after failing as farmers or losing their jobs when a coal mine closed. Others are unable to hold regular jobs for personal reasons like alcoholism. Unemployed ethnic and social minorities may also end up in San'ya or other skidrows.
San'ya has long been a battleground between emperor-worshipping rightists and anti-imperialist leftists who contend for control of the day laborers. Huge street riots are perennial, with the police usually cast in the role of protecting themselves and uniformed rightist from stone-throwing laborers led by leftists. Two leftist film directors trying to document San'ya conditions have been assassinated on the street by gangsters. The first was stabbed to death in December 1984. The other was shot in January 1986. Caught between their alleged exploiters and their would-be liberators, the San'ya's laborers seem to gain little more than a steady flow of adrenalin.
3.11 Day laborers
Japan has about one-million day laborers, and roughly 50,000 of them inhabit the skidrows of Japan's industrial cities. The others generally enjoy better pay and working conditions, especially those who are employed on construction projects that take years to complete. But tens of thousands of "gypsy workers" employed by subcontractors on bridges, tunnels, and nuclear power plants may find themselves working long hours for substandard wages under very hazardous conditions.
The number of migrant workers from farms has been decreasing, however. And the 92,080 people with no fixed address on the 1985 national census were fewer than the 117,210 counted in 1980. Skidrow populations, though recently lower, may be growing again.
A 1984 survey of Tokyo's San'ya district showed that only 32 percent of the jobs available to the over 7,000 day laborers residing in the area came through public employment agencies or labor centers. The other jobs came through direct hiring (16 percent) or through brokers and other intermediaries (52 percent), many of them gangsters who supply labor to the small subcontractors that work for larger construction companies. Unemployment benefits are paid only if one has worked 28 days in the preceding two months, and so many laborers are willing to pay the brokers large cuts from their low wages in order to get the work credits they need to qualify for welfare.
Some day laborers also buy black-market labor stamps from gangsters, who obtain them from contractors who buy extra stamps from the government. The stamps are put in a laborer's unemployment-insurance booklet to show that he has worked. Gangsters may take the booklet as collateral when a laborer becomes indebted to them from gambling or usury. The laborer must then accept work through the yakuza, who parasite off the dependency relationship.
3.12 Street people
Japan's big cities are also havens for homeless people. Tokyo's train stations and public parks shelter several hundred vagrants who have dropped out of places like San'ya and survive off the garbage that flows from the plush entertainment districts. Compared to some other countries, Japan has few such down-and-outs. But seen among their smartly-dressed and brisk-walking compatriots, they conspicuously foretell what could happen if Japan were to suffer a major recession.
People who cannot afford a flophouse bunk or cubicle may be given shelter by a Christian mission. Others sleep where they can outside. Every winter some homeless people freeze to death or die from exposure. Unlike the poor who live in homes, the homeless rarely starve to death. San'ya day laborers, like street bums, suffer from malnutrition but they have fewer hygiene problems.
The ultra-modern Central Plaza Building beside Iidabashi station houses Metropolitan Tokyo's welfare council and information center. Along one side of the building is a long planter punctuated by several small squares, each lined with brick benches. Even during the day, some of the benches are occupied by vagrants, who have come only to rest, however, since there are no services in the building for them.
But not all public benches welcome bums. Ueno, Hibiya, and Yotsuya benches are built for sleeping. But the benches in the plaza at the entrance to Yoyogi park, near NHK, have two structurally meaningless "braces" on the seat. The braces separate the benches into three seats, but the benches could easily hold four adults or half a dozen kids. Couples are certain they are there to keep them apart, but the park bums know that they are meant to stop them from lying down.
Vagrancy and begging are violations of the Minor Offenses Act, but vagrants in Japan rarely beg. Nor are many vagrants arrested. The police in some cities periodically round up local hobos and derelicts for having no fixed address or for sleeping in public. Tokyo police generally ignore even station bums so long as they bother no one. And usually they don't. But at times they the victims or perpetrators of crime. Shinjuku ward alone has several hundred homeless people--760 in the 1985 census, up from 685 in 1980. Two welfare offices, at Haramachi and Takadanobaba, deal with vagrants and day laborers, but the Takadanobaba office is the most accessible from the Shinjuku station area and so it handles most of the traffic. Instant noodles are available around the clock to anyone who walks in the door.
During fiscal year 1986 (April 1986 to March 1987), the two offices dispatched 805 ambulances to pick up a sick or injured vagrant. In 206 of these cases, the vagrant was admitted to a hospital for treatment. Each month the two offices handled an average of 151 vagrants who came for counseling only (76 percent) or to receive or apply for some other service. 188 (10 percent) of the 1,815 cases throughout the year (16 per month) were hospitalized--165 (88 percent) as general patients, 13 (7 percent) as mental patients, and 10 (5 percent) as tuberculosis patients.
Also during the year, 299 Shinjuku vagrants were given necessities like tooth brushes, 850 were given food, and 10 were sent to designated local doctors who have agreed to examine them (some hospitals and clinics are said to refuse filthy vagrants). 873 (over two a night) were accommodated at a nearby Salvation Army facility for homeless people. And 752, all at Haramachi, were given bus tickets to enable them to travel to job sites; Takadanobaba sometimes gives petty cash for train fares.
296 Shinjuku vagrants qualified for some kind of public assistance out of perhaps ten times as many applicants in fiscal 1986. Some applicants do not qualify because they are able to work. But most are unwilling to put themselves under the control of a welfare office, which would require that they settle down, stop drinking, and accept work. A few are caught trying to duplicate benefits they already receive elsewhere under another name.
The social workers may never learn the true identities of some of the vagrants, many of whom have police records. The bodies of the homeless who are found dead, as many as ten a year from suicide alone in the Shinjuku area, are rarely claimed, even when their families are known. Perfunctory legal notices are placed in municipal bulletins. Personal belongings of any value are sold to help pay for the costs of cremation. The relics are placed in temples that care for the disowned, forgotten, and anonymous.
Female vagrants, though rare, exist. When seen, they do not appear as badly off as most male vagrants. Shinjuku counselors see five or six a month. They vary from prostitutes unable to care for their children, to escapees from juvenile or mental facilities, and in age they run from their teens to their seventies. But they are usually not beyond the age or condition for menial work, which women in economic straits may be able to find (or accept) much easier than men. Numerous unskilled, minimum-wage jobs are available to older women healthy enough to clean toilets in pachinko parlors and love hotels.
3.13 Mental illness and homelessness
Some of Japan's homeless are mentally ill, but Japan prefers to keep its misfits locked away. As of 1985, there were 334,589 psychiatric beds in Japan, 247,702 of them in 1,026 mental hospitals, the rest on mental wards in other medical facilities. At an occupancy rate of 101.9 percent there were about 340,000 incarcerated mental patients, or about 280 per 100,000 population, the highest among countries which report such data. Also high by international standards were rates of involuntary admission (80 percent), rates of detention in locked wards (70 percent), and average length of hospitalization (536 days in 1985). Nearly one million other people are being treated for mental disorders as outpatients, so about one percent of Japan's 121 million population is officially mentally ill.
Japan has been locking up more mentally ill people, and keeping them locked away longer, at a time when most industrialized countries have been discarding such "medieval" approaches to social control. Between 1955 and 1980, the number of hospitalized mental patients per 10,000 general population in the United States dropped five-fold from 34.4 to 7.0, while Japan's rate rose five-fold from 5.5 to 26.7.
The U.S. hospitalization rate rapidly fell because of federal and state programs to discharge as many patients as possible. But the "deinstitutionalization" was poorly managed, and thousands of mental patients were released into communities that lacked adequate mental-health facilities. Civil rights legislation outlawed most forms of long-term involuntary commitment, which made even short-term hospitalization difficult unless a patient was clearly a danger to himself or others. So many discharged patients who had no families to support them, and who could not support themselves, ended up on the streets with other homeless. Even when community-based care has been available, some of the mentally-ill homeless have avoided such support out of fear that they might be put back in custody.
A Japanese newspaper reported that the U.S. has about 2.5 million homeless people, 40 percent of whom may be mentally ill. In the U.S., these figures vary ten-fold from 0.3 to 3 million homeless, and about one-third are thought to be mentally ill. But Japanese media likes to portray the homeless on U.S. streets the same way it depicts racial and ethnic minorities, and social equality for women, as if to ask: Do we want this in Japan? And the collective answer seems to be: No.
3.2 Minorities on relief
Most of Japan's minority groups depend on public assistance more than the population at large. Data from nationwide surveys exist for social minorities like the residents of former outcaste communities. Annual statistics are compiled on foreign minorities, most of whom are the descendants of immigrants from former colonial territories like Korea and Taiwan. Other minorities who are more likely than majorities to be on welfare rolls include indigenous ethnic minorities like Ainu Japanese and Okinawan Japanese; resettled war orphans from China; Southeast Asian refugees; and racially-mixed orphans. An increasing number of immigrant workers, engaged in minimum-wage "dirty work" jobs, have elected relative poverty in Japan to absolute poverty in their own countries.
Numerous other kinds of social minorities require special support from social welfare or related programs. They include the physically and mentally handicapped; the homeless; the unemployed; migrant workers and day laborers; bedridden and senile elderly; orphaned and abandoned children; fatherless and motherless children; prostitutes; the survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; surviving ex-employees of the wartime poison gas plant on Okunoshima in the Inland Sea; disabled war veterans, war widows, and war orphans; the victims of environmental and occupation diseases; the victims of natural disasters and industrial accidents; and the victims of massive layoffs in depressed industries.
3.21 Residents of former outcaste communities
As of March 1987, the Management and Coordination Agency estimated that there were 4,603 former outcaste communities in about one-third (1,127) of Japan's municipalities in three-fourths (36) of Japan's prefectures. 1,166,733 (58.0 percent) of the 2,010,230 residents of these communities were officially classified as "dowa related" by virtue of their lineage. This means that they are objects of national and local government dowa (integration) policies, which are intended to improve the lives of the descendants of former outcastes, or at least those who continue to live in localities that were associated with outcastes until 1871 when a government edict abolished the eta (much filth) status. "Dowa related" people are unofficially called burakumin, or people of the buraku, which means "community" or "hamlet" but with connotations of "enclave" or "ghetto".
Of Japan's 47 prefectures, eleven do not have dowa areas or do not participate in the national dowa improvement program. They are Hokkaido and all six Tohoku prefectures (Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, and Fukushima), and Tokyo, Toyama, Ishikawa, and Okinawa. Hokkaido and Okinawa seem to have no buraku. Some of the Tohoku prefectures, and Toyama and Ishikawa in the Hokuriku region, seem to have buraku which oppose participation. Tokyo, also, chooses not to participate, though it has some buraku, and it summarizes its dowa policy in a welfare brochure written for the general public.
In March 1985, the estimates were 4,594 buraku in the same 36 prefectures, with 1,998,464 residents of whom 1,163,372 (58.2 percent) were dowa related.
Neither the 1985 or 1987 estimates were based on original surveys. Both represent only an updating of the June 1975 census by adding the data for newly participating dowa areas. Yamanashi and Miyazaki prefectures did not participate in the 1975 census, which counted 4,374 former outcaste communities in 1,041 of Japan's municipalities in 34 prefectures. 1,119,278 (60.8 percent) of the 1,841,958 residents of these communities were dowa related.
A smaller 6.77 percent (2,432) of dowa individuals surveyed in 1985 were receiving some kind of public assistance, or nearly six times the 1.18 percent rate nationwide. This was slightly lower, however, than the relief rates in both the 1971 dowa census (7.57 percent) and the 1975 dowa census (7.60 percent) of all participating communities, when the national rates were respectively 1.26 percent and 1.21 percent.
Some 7.60 percent (85,094) of the people identified as burakumin in the basic 1975 census were receiving some kind of public assistance, compared with only 1.21 percent for the entire population of Japan, 1.15 percent for the population of the surveyed prefectures (including the surveyed municipalities), 1.33 percent for the surveyed municipalities (including the surveyed dowa communities), and 5.35 percent for the dowa communities (including non-burakumin). The 1977 Prime Minister's Office report which disclosed these and other results of the census did not compute relief rates for the concentric surrounding populations. The rate for the non-burakumin residents of the dowa communities was 1.86 percent, the rate for the non-dowa communities in the municipalities was 1.16 percent, and the rate for the other municipalities in the prefectures was 0.92 percent. This suggests that poverty nestles in concentric distributions with burakumin living in the poorest centers with non-burakumin who, as a group, are slightly better off than them, but are poorer than the non-burakumin outside the dowa communities.
8.2 percent of all burakumin households were on relief as of June 1975, and 12.3 percent paid no residence taxes, compared with a total of 7.0 percent in both categories for all of Japan. 25.6 percent of the burakumin households paid only per-capita residence taxes and 53.9 percent paid the full residence income tax, compared with respectively 13.4 percent and 79.6 percent nationwide.
Various local surveys show that burakumin as a whole achieve less well in schools. Though the gap is gradually closing, burakumin youth continue to show higher rates of failure to complete the compulsory middle school education, and lower rates of advancement to high school and college. Literacy rates are higher among older burakumin than for Japan as a whole. Burakumin suffer from greater unemployment, less stable unemployment (more job turnover), less employment in larger companies, and less clerical and professional employment. Some surveys report higher rates of illness and physical handicaps among burakumin, and worse but improving housing conditions.
In November 1985, the Management and Coordination Agency carried out a detailed survey on the living conditions of 35,905 members of 9,978 dowa households. The households represented 99.7 percent of the 10,008 households that were drawn as in a roughly three percent sample of the 327,362 dowa households estimated as of March 1985. The households were drawn from 540 of the 4,594 dowa communities in all participating prefectures.
2.4 percent (238) of the sampled households were fatherless families, which was nearly double the 1.4 percent rate on a 1985 Ministry of Welfare nationwide survey. Motherless families (0.4 percent) and elderly families (9.1 percent) were only slightly higher than for all Japan (respectively 0.3 percent and 8.4 percent).
4.7 percent of the sampled individuals had some kind of disability, including 3.3 percent (1,173) who had disability booklets. These rates are apparently higher than the national average.
45.5 percent of the surveyed individuals were enrolled in pension plans, compared to 48.5 percent nationwide. 21.6 percent were enrolled in National Pension (compared with 20.9 percent throughout Japan), 19.2 percent in Employees' Pension or Seamen's Insurance (22.7 percent), and 4.7 percent in mutual aid association plans (4.9 percent). While the enrollment rate for the dowa sample is only slightly less than for the entire population, the dowa individuals are more likely to be enrolled in the lower-paying National Pension plan which is open to those not covered by the other plans. This tendency is also seen in the data on those receiving pensions. 10.5 percent of those in the dowa sample were receiving National Pension payments and 3.4 percent were receiving Employees' Pension payments, compared with 8.1 percent and 5.5 percent in nationwide Ministry of Welfare data.
Dowa families are more likely to go on relief, and to stay on relief longer, than families and individuals generally. The family relief rate in the 1985 dowa sample was 9.1 percent (906), of which 31.5 percent had been on relief for ten or more years, compared with only 24.6 percent of the 76,160 individuals on relief surveyed by the Ministry of Welfare in 1985. Another 26.7 percent had been on relief for five to ten years (compared with 23.6 percent nationwide), 15.5 percent for three to five years (15.8 percent), 18.0 percent for one to three years (22.5 percent), and 6.6 percent for less than one year (13.5 percent).
Of the 1,783 dowa individuals 15 years old or older who were benefiting from public assistance, only 15.9 percent were employed. 90 percent (1,599) of these 1,783 individuals were not attending school, and. 79.7 percent of these 1,599 individuals (all but 64 of them were adults) had only elementary school educations, and 14.3 percent only middle school educations. Only 0.9 percent had finished high school, and 4.7 percent (all of them aged 40 or older) had not attended school. But 7.2 percent could not read (and 10.1 percent could not write) at all. 12.2 percent could read (and 13.8 percent could write) only kana. 12.2 percent could read (and 13.8 percent could write) some characters, and only 59.8 percent could read (and 53.7 percent could write) normally.
Level of completed education was much lower for the dowa sample than for Japan nationwide, but it was higher than for dowa individuals on relief. 72 percent (25,996) individuals in the 1985 dowa survey who were aged 15 and older were not going to school. 64.0 percent of them had finished only elementary school, compared with 42.5 percent for all Japan in the 1980 national census. The census showed that 41.9 percent throughout Japan had finished middle school (compared with 28.2 percent of the dowa individuals), 15.1 percent had finished high school (5.7 percent), and 0.4 percent had never gone to school (1.5 percent).
The dowa individuals who were 15 years old and older and not going to school were also generally more literate than those on relief. Only 1.8 percent could not read (and only 2.6 percent could not write) at all. 3.7 percent could read (and 4.4 percent could write) only kana. 9.5 percent could read (and 11.6 percent could write) some characters, while 84.5 percent could read (and 80.9 percent could write) normally.
Various local surveys show that burakumin as a whole achieve less well in schools. Though the gap is gradually closing, burakumin youth continue to show higher rates of failure to complete the compulsory middle school education, and lower rates of advancement to high school and college. Literacy rates are higher among older burakumin than for Japan as a whole. Burakumin suffer from greater unemployment, less stable unemployment (more job turnover), less employment in larger companies, and less clerical and professional employment. Some surveys report higher rates of illness and physical handicaps among burakumin, and worse but improving housing conditions.
3.22 Ainu Japanese
24,381 Japanese of Ainu descent were living in 7,168 households in Hokkaido prefecture as of September 1986, according to a survey on Ainu life conducted by the prefectural government's public welfare section. Most (70 percent) lived in Hidaka district (43 percent) or in neighboring Iburi district (27 percent) in southeastern Hokkaido. Most of these Japanese are the offspring of past or recent marriages between Ainu minorities and Yamato majorities. Few are regarded as "full-blooded" Ainu.
This minimum estimate includes only Japanese who identified themselves as Ainu. Many Japanese of Ainu descent who can pass as Yamato Japanese have quietly assumed majority identities. Several thousand Ainu live in other prefectures, and many non-Japanese Ainu live in Sakhalin and the Kuriles.
A sample survey of 300 Ainu households showed an average annual income of 800,000 yen per person, which was less than half the 1.9 million yen per capita yearly income for Hokkaido in 1984. 6.09 percent of the Ainu were receiving public assistance in the 1986 survey, or 2.8 times the prefectural rate (2.19 percent). The Ainu rate was down from 6.86 percent (3.5 times the 19.6 percent prefectural rate) in 1979. A partial survey showed an Ainu relief rate of 11.57 percent in 1972 and a corresponding partial prefecture rate of 1.75 percent (smaller than the total prefecture rate of 2.10 percent).
In the 1986 survey, 36.4 percent of the Ainu households on relief but 28.5 percent of all the families on relief in the prefecture were elderly. The ratios were the opposite for fatherless families (18.3 percent Ainu, 22.3 percent Hokkaido) and families plagued by illness (38.5 percent Ainu, 42.4 percent Hokkaido). The 1979 survey showed a similar pattern.
Two-thirds of the 21 (three percent sample) of the 676 Ainu households on relief in 1986 had been receiving some kind of public assistance for three or more years, 5 for one to three years, and 2 for less than one year. A similarly small sample in the 1979 survey showed 77.1 percent on relief for one or more years.
In 1986, only 78.4 percent of all Ainu teenagers were going on to high school after graduating from middle school, compared to 94.0 percent for all Hokkaido youth. But this was up from 69.3 percent (versus 90.6 percent) in 1979, which was up from 41.6 percent (versus 78.2 percent) in the 1972 partial survey. Advancement rates from high school to college were 8.1 percent for Ainu against 27.4 percent for all of Hokkaido in 1986, both slightly down from the 1979 rates (8.8 percent versus 31.1 percent).
According to the Hokkaido Utari Association, which represents about 3,800 Ainu households living in Hokkaido, about one-third of the Ainu are seasonal workers who are jobless in the winter.
3.23 Unassimilated poverty
Though burakumin and Ainu are both indigenous populations, the burakumin have always been a social minority while the Ainu became an ethnic minority. The prehistorical origins of the burakumin are not clear, but since historical times they have been an integral part of Yamato society. The Ainu, though, lived apart from the Yamato nation, and they became part of Japan only after the Yamato people moved north and conquered Ainu territory.
The burakumin have lost the monopolies they once enjoyed in outcaste industries like leatherwork, but they do not appear to be poorer relative to the general population than they were before emancipation. But burakumin organizations are trying to protect what is left of their traditional buraku businesses.
"We are opposed to the entry of big capital and the liberalization of beef imports because the government takes no effective measures to protect small-scale businesses," a Buraku Liberation Research Institute official wrote in an unpublished letter. "Such protective measures hardly exist in Japan compared to those employed in Europe and the US."
This argument is partly motivated by proletarian ideology. But it is also based on a belief that modern burakumin will become poorer if further inroads are made into their customary industries by trade liberalization.
The Ainu were not poor at the time they became Japanese. Whatever their standard of living before their way of life came under pressure from dominant Yamato institutions, it was stable and fulfilling.
The Ainu argue that their poverty began when the Yamato majority which "settled" Hokkaido deprived them of their traditional fishing and hunting rights, and forced them to assimilate Yamato language and culture, or keep their own in small, segregated reservations.
The Hokkaido Utari Association is therefore pushing for legal recognition of the Ainu people as a nation within a multiethnic state, with rights to protect its language and culture, and its way of life, from further assimilation. The association wants to replace the prefectural Hokkaido Utari Welfare Policy, which merely "protects" but does not maintain Ainu life, with an Ainu Independence Fund, which would promote education and culture, and support agriculture, fishing, forestry, and other industries. More acreage would be provided for Ainu farms and fishing rights would be restored. Ainu representatives would be guaranteed seats in the National Diet and local assemblies. And the government would establish an Ainu policy council, with Ainu and other members, directly under the Prime Minister's Office.
If burakumin poverty comes from social conflict, Ainu poverty is a product of ethnic conflict. Both kinds of poverty result in pathology caused or exacerbated by past and continuing discrimination. And both persist because majorities and minorities are unable to agree-not only between but also among themselves-exactly what the problems are and how they should be solved.
3.24 Resident aliens
The Public Assistance Law does not, in principle, apply to aliens. However, from the time the law went into effect in 1951, many local governments extended its benefits to indigent aliens as a matter of course. In 1954, the Ministry of Health and Welfare directed all local governments to provisionally make all benefits available to foreigners in need, and the directive was updated in 1982. But since aliens have no legal right to receive assistance, they are more at the mercy of the discretionary powers of welfare officials than are Japanese.
In general, foreign applicants for public assistance must fully identify themselves by showing their Alien Registration Certificate, unless they have not been in Japan long enough to have to register, as in the case of a new refugee. Except for Koreans and Taiwanese who reside in Japan as former colonials and their offspring, and political and other refugees, local authorities are required to report an application to the prefectural governor, who then contacts a representative of the applicant's country of nationality to determine whether it can arrange for the necessary support. In emergency cases requiring immediate action, the application procedure can be waived under the same articles which apply to Japanese.
The percentage of individual foreigners in Japan who are receiving some kind of public assistance is only half the burakumin and rates but is four times the national rate, which includes foreigners. The rate of relief among foreigners rose from an initial 9.6 percent in 1951 (an average 59,968 individuals benefiting each month) to a high of 21.4 percent in 1955 (137,395 individuals). It rapidly dropped to 11.5 percent in 1960, 7.8 percent in 1965, and 4.7 percent in 1970, and it reached a low of 3.9 percent in 1974. After jumping to a small peak of 4.8 percent in 1982 it has been slightly falling, and as of 1985 it was 4.6 percent (38,844 individuals).
The above rates are based on the number of individuals on relief for the April-March fiscal year and the registered alien population as of the end of the calendar year. Some 850,612 resident aliens were registered in Japan as of December 1985, but the October 1985 national census counted only 720,093 foreigners. Presumably the registered population is larger mainly because it includes foreigners who were in Japan long enough to have to register but were not in the country at the time of the census. If the census population were taken as the truer measure of the alien population that is most likely to qualify for relief, then the 1985 relief rate would be a higher 5.4 percent.
Official statistics on foreign recipients of public assistance do not show breakdowns by nationality, but it is thought that practically all foreigners on relief in Japan are Koreans, while most of the rest are Chinese. Koreans, Chinese, Americans, and other aliens accounted for 80.3 percent, 8.8 percent, 3.4 percent, and 7.4 percent of the registered population in 1985, and for a similar 79.3 percent, 8.4 percent, 3.5 percent, and 6.8 percent of the 1985 census population (2.0 percent of which did not report their nationality).
Most of the annual increase in the foreign population is non-Korean and non-Chinese, because more Koreans and Chinese tend to naturalize. The rate of intermarriage between resident foreigners and Japanese is high, especially among Koreans. The bilineal revision of the Nationality Law, which went into effect from 1985, gives Japanese nationality to the offspring of internationally married Japanese women as well as to the offspring of foreign women married to Japanese men. This revision has already had the effect of reducing the population of Koreans born in Japan.
Roughly 80 percent of the Korean population were born in Japan, and the majority have permanent residence visas. Most Chinese were also born in the country and are permanent residents. Practically all of the Japan-born Koreans and Chinese are the second or third generation descendants of former colonials who settled in Japan when Formosa, Korea, and some parts of China were parts of Japanese territory, and who stayed in Japan after World War II.
Taiwanese and Korean colonials were technically Japanese citizens until August 1945. During the postwar occupation, Chosenese (Koreans) and Taiwanese (Formosans) in Japan became "third nationals" with ambivalent Japanese/alien status. The peace treaty which Japan signed with the Allied Powers on 8 September 1951, effective from 28 April 1952, separated Chosen and Taiwan from Japanese territory, and this resulted in the separation of Chosenese and Taiwanese from Japanese nationality. Chosenese, and Taiwanese who had not migrated to Republic of China (ROC) nationality, though legally still affiliated with "Chosen" or "Taiwan" as legacy entities, and therefore not de jure stateless, became de facto stateless, as "Chosen" and "Taiwan" were not states. Most Taiwanese had migrated to ROC during the Occupation of Japan, and most Chosenese would become Republic of Korea (ROK) nationals after ROK and Japan normalized their relations in 1965. Though most Chosenese were linked with the south of Korea under ROK's control and jurisdiction, some have not registered as ROK nationals out of sympathy for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which Japan still does not recognize, while a few have remained Chosenese out of interest in neither of the divided Korean states.
Koreans are more likely to be employed in lower-paying blue collar jobs than Japanese, or to be unemployed. Some studies have shown tendencies toward lower educational achievement and more delinquency. Some Koreans live in ghettos where the standard of housing and other facilities is notably lower than those of the surrounding community. Like the burakumin, who for the most are ethnic majorities, Koreans face considerable discrimination in education, employment, and marriage. Those with money are able to break out. Those without money or luck take what jobs they find. A larger percentage of Koreans than Japanese pursue careers in sports, the entertainment world, the food, drink and sex industry, and crime.
Part 4: Social pathology
Both case and collective poverty result from individual and group failures. The pathology of poverty-or the manifestation of economic failure for whatever reason-is seen in patterns of delinquency, crime (including welfare fraud, crime by mentally-ill vagrants, and crimes against vagrants), prostitution, self-destructive acts like suicide, and the gamut of family problems that stem from broken homes. A major contributor to absolute poverty is unemployability due to a lack of education, while the offspring of low income families may remain relatively poor because they lack economic access to higher education and hence better job opportunities.
The parents of poor families tend to be less-well educated and less-securely employed. In broken homes, the children may be raised by a working single parent who does not have enough time to supervise and play with them. This may result in lower achievement in school, and in emotional problems which may find outlets in delinquency.
Being raised in a single-parent home is a circumstantial if not a precipitating factor in a lot of delinquency. A 1983 Japanese study of delinquency among middle-school students in Kawasaki city, Kanagawa prefecture, found that 18.6 percent of the delinquent group were from fatherless homes and 14.2 percent were from motherless homes, compared with only 6.7 percent and 2.3 percent for middle-school students in general. So the delinquent group had 2.8 times the single-father rate and 6.2 times the single-mother rate for students generally.
Since single-parent (especially fatherless) homes are more likely to be on relief, the probability of children in such homes becoming delinquent would seem to be high. But since the adults in families on relief are usually not working, the children may have more supervision than in single-parent homes in which the parent must work. The family on relief may be better off economically, too, since they may be netting more than the low-income working family which earns too much to receive assistance.
If single-parent families produce more delinquents, as the percentage of single-parent families increase, so will the number of delinquents. But the percentage of delinquents from poor families has remained about the same or decreased. 20.0 percent (31,227) of the 155,777 minors who received guidance in 1984 for committing a criminal offense were from single-parent families. 10.4 percent (16,193) were from families that can barely make ends meet and may have to borrow money to get by. In 1975 these figures were 15.6 percent single-parent (4.3 percent fatherless, 11.3 motherless) and 11.5 percent poor. Only 2.1 in 1984 were from affluent families, while 83.6 percent were from families of ordinary economic means.
These tendencies are even stronger for delinquents who are placed in reformatories. A 1981 survey of 3,153 minors in correction centers throughout Japan showed that 39.6 percent were from single-parent families (16.9 percent motherless, 22.7 percent fatherless) and 4.1 percent had no guardians. The parents of 20.7 percent of the youth were working as day laborers in other irregular jobs, and 18.4 percent were unemployed.
Robert Yoder, an American sociologist, studied delinquency among middle-school and high-school students in two Kanagawa prefecture neighborhoods. One neighborhood was lower-middle class and the other was upper-middle class, and the schools were ranked respectively higher and lower in quality.
In a doctoral dissertation completed in 1986, Yoder observed that the upper-middle-class students did better academically and misbehaved less than the lower-middle-class students. He attributed the differences to environmental factors like adult expectations, and to the stigmatization that results when adults treat adolescents as failures or misfits at school and in the home.
Students in the upper-middle-class families perceived their environment as congenial. They were expected to study for the future and were given the opportunity to study, and they did. Students in the lower-middle-class families tended to view their school and community, and even their homes, as hostile. The prevailing attitude of the teachers, police, and parents was that the students were destined to do poorly in school and to misbehave, and they did.
Statistics on motives in crimes against property show the obvious, that they are usually committed for economic gain. But one does not need to be poor to want more wealth. And the line between legal and illegal means of securing wanted wealth is based on method, not motive or need. One's need for wealth beyond the biological subsistence level is mainly psychological. A person with the legal means to eat and stay warm and otherwise survive, may rob, steal or embezzle, or cheat on income tax, or resort to fraud, blackmail or even murder, in order to maintain a higher standard of living to which one is accustomed or aspires, or to pay gambling debts or support other compulsive habits. In this sense, individuals subjectively define their own "poverty line" below which they wish not to fall and may resort to illegal means to in order to falling.
4.3 Welfare fraud
It is difficult in Japan to get on relief without reason, for initial checks on claims are very thorough. But people on relief may try to continue to receive benefits after they no longer qualify. The Japanese government uncovers relatively few cases of such abuse, but the number of households found to be improperly receiving assistance, and the amount of improper assistance, is increasing at a time when the percentage of households on welfare is going down.
Local welfare offices routinely check the qualifications of people who are receiving livelihood assistance. The purpose of the checks is to eliminate improprieties by looking at the income and assets of the recipients and promoting employment.
In June 1987, the Ministry of Health and Welfare reported that checks on the average 1,430,000 households which received assistance each month (1.18 percent of all households) in 1985 found only 974 households that did not qualify. Payments were cut to all of these households, and 17 of them were reported to the police on suspicion of fraud.
Though the number of households improperly receiving assistance was only 0.07 percent of all recipients, it was a record high, up about 25 percent from the 800 average of the previous three years, and over double the roughly 400 cases found in 1980 when the number of welfare recipients was about 1,427,000 (1.22 percent of all households).
A record 1 billion yen in benefits were improperly paid in 1985. This was up from about 800 million yen in 1982 and 250 million yen in 1980, and it exceeded 1 million yen in improper payments per unqualified household.
Some 70 percent of the unqualified households were uncovered through direct investigation by case workers in welfare offices. But 20 percent were discovered through reports from other residents and locally appointed volunteer welfare commissioners.
The reason for the climb in discovered overpayments at a time when the percentage of households on welfare has been falling is apparently due to tighter bureaucratic controls rather than more to dishonesty. The heads of most of the disqualified households had failed to report or had under-reported their income, pension, insurance or savings.
In one case, a family of six was made to repay some 6.6 million yen it had received in livelihood assistance over a 2-year, 6-month period. The father, who had been injured in an automobile accident, had gotten 6.3 million yen in unreported unemployment and hospital benefits, while his wife had failed to report that she had income from a waitress job.
The more stringent qualification checks seem to have provoked a record number of physical attacks on welfare officials by disgruntled recipients. Some 74 officials were injured in 53 attacks reported in 1985, respectively 18 and 10 higher than in 1984.
The violence in some of these cases is like the withdrawal symptoms in drug dependence. People who depend on welfare become very anxious when society tries to reduce or cut its aid in the name of protecting its own interests. One way to express anxiety is through an aggressive act against an external object or person. Another is through suicide or other self-destructive behaviors.
4.4 Crimes by mentally ill vagrants
Japan, like other countries, has homeless people who prefer their impoverished freedom to the tender-loving confinement of an asylum. Generally they bother no one, but some have been involved in crimes, mostly theft or public-nuisance offenses. A hermit living in a cave in Zushi, Kanagawa prefecture, preferred to buy food with money he robbed, rather than beg or rummage through garbage cans. He was arrested in 1985 after a nine-year career during which he committed some 2,000 robberies totalling about 5 million yen.
In 1980, a series of violent crimes by mentally-ill people, some who happened to be vagrants, began to stir fears about public safety. In August 1980, 38-year-old Hirobumi Maruyama ignited a bucket of gasoline he had thrown into a bus in front of Shinjuku station, killing 6 and injuring 14. Maruyama was from a poor family and his estranged wife and son were on welfare. In June 1981, a knife-wielding man went berserk on a Tokyo street, killing four passersby and injuring two others, then holding a woman hostage for seven hours before he was arrested. The man had been mentally ill and was taking stimulant drugs. A wave of such crimes by men with a history of mental illness and drug abuse moved the government to study measures to prevent indiscriminate killings.
Media coverage of violent crimes by the mentally ill has created the impression that mental illness constitutes a major public hazard. Some 1.0 percent (2,332) of the 238,133 adults arrested in 1985 on criminal charges, excluding traffic accidents, were thought to be suffering from a mental disorder. Only 20 percent (465) of the arrestees associated with mental illness were classified as clearly mentally ill. The other 80 percent (1,867) were only suspected of being mentally ill. Even if 1.0 percent is taken as an accurate estimate of mental illness among arrested suspects, it is on a par with the estimated one percent of the entire population that is being treated for some kind of mental incapacity.
But mental illness is far more likely to be associated with arson and homicide than with less violent crimes. 10 percent (179) of the 1,734 adults arrested on homicide charges were thought to be mentally ill (28 percent of them certain), and 20 percent (143) of the 714 arson suspects were thought to be mentally ill (22 percent certain). The mental illness rate for all other categories of crime were one percent or less.
A limited government survey in 1983-1984 showed that about half of all hospitalized mental patients could have avoided hospitalization if their families had helped them, while half could have been discharged if their families would have accepted them. But a 1986 poll by the National Federation of Associations of Families of Mentally-Ill Persons found that two-thirds of the families wanted institutional care for their hospitalized members or were not willing to look after them at home.
From this it appears that the number of homeless would increase in Japan if mental institutions were to discharge all patients who do not really require hospitalization. But this is unlikely to happen despite legislation which would make it more difficult to forcibly commit unwanted mentally ill relatives.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare, in response to a 1986 International Commission of Jurists report on Human rights and Mental Patients in Japan, and pressure from Japanese attorneys and mental health professionals concerned about patient rights, has drafted a bill to revise the Mental Health Law. Approved by the Prime Minister's Cabinet in March 1987, the bill encourages voluntary admission and greatly stiffens medical criteria for involuntary detention.
In theory a hospital would have to obtain the written consent of the patients it admits, inform them of their right to request release, and release them upon request. But in practice the status quo could continue. Mental hospitals are booming. Greater profits will continue to be made from a reimbursement system which encourages involuntary admissions. And families with money will still be able to persuade doctors to involuntarily admit troublesome or embarrassing relatives.
The police also want to keep the mentally ill off the streets. The government has argued that the police need stronger holding powers to keep Japan's streets safer than those of other countries. Public reaction to cases of indiscriminate violence has been to demand more protection in the belief that real or possible victims have a higher claim to human rights than actual or potential criminals.
In 1983, the Ministry of Justice started to draft a new Penal Code with a "security detention" provision that would allow police to hold any person thought to be temporarily suffering from an impairment of their mental faculties, or judged mentally incapable. The provision was aimed at released murderers, arsonists, rapists and other felons who the authorities feared might repeat their crimes. The ministry also considered a plan to establish its own mental hospitals where those subject to security detention could be committed.
4.5 Crimes against vagrants
Though crimes by the homeless and mentally ill have attracted a lot of public attention, so have crimes against the homeless. Indeed, nearly 100,000 homeless who wander around Japan's major cities, over 10,000 in Tokyo alone, are finding themselves an endangered species, and many have been killed or seriously injured by juvenile bullies.
In 1983, a gang of middle school boys attacked defenseless hobos in a Yokohama park, killing 3 and injuring 13. Also in 1983, a vagrant was found beaten to death in a Tokyo graveyard. In 1985, five Tokyo boys aged 15-20 beat up a hobo, breaking his legs an other bones. Another hobo was killed when an intoxicated Tokyo man dropped a metal beer keg on his head. In 1986, three Osaka boys aged 13-17 shot three bums in the face with an air gun. In 1987, five boys aged 14-17 assaulted a vagrant in a park near San'ya, hitting him in the face and setting fire to his hair.
Other vagrants are hazardous to themselves. In January 1984, during the New Year's holidays, a middle-aged hobo starved to death in a Yokohama park, after living in the park for about one year. In December the same year, an elderly hobo sleeping in the Yaesu shopping arcade under Tokyo station burned to death when his newspaper bedding caught fire. In 1985, a Yokohama vagrant drowned when he was thrown into a river during a fight with three other vagrants he had been living with under a railroad bridge.
Industrialized prostitution in an affluent society prefers younger women who are driven to the trade by a desire to become more affluent rather than to escape poverty. The immediate need for food and shelter may motivate adolescent runaways to accept the offers of street recruiters, but the loquacious water trade has a greater demand for college coeds and office ladies with middle-class or higher standards of living to uphold. Still, impoverished women have the option of working in any number of jobs which may lead to prostitution.
Housewives, and divorced, abandoned or unwed mothers who work as cabaret hostesses, may indulge in casual prostitution to supplement their earnings. Women who walk the streets are not necessarily desperate, but only the most desperate would work a skidrow, which are all but free of women-much less prostitutes-and full of men with little or no money and alcoholically numb, malnutritioned libidos. But wives living with an unemployed husband in skid rows are known to resort to prostitution in order to support their family.
Many suicides, too, are triggered by economic distress, yet just as with crime, the distress may be caused by falling below a psychological rather than physical poverty line. National Police Agency statistics show that 7.3 percent of all suicides committed in 1979 were attributed to economic motives. By 1983 this had doubled to 14.5 percent, mainly because more people were over-extending themselves and defaulting on high-interest personal loans. The government reacted to media pressure by lowering the interest ceilings, reducing the supply of money to the loan industry, and discouraging coercive collection methods. By 1986 the number of suicides attributed to economic reasons had fallen to 10.8 percent. In all countries, though, suicide rates rise when markets crash, and during recessions and depressions.
Unemployment is clearly a major factor in suicide. Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics for 1975 and 1980 show that the age-group adjusted suicide rate for males 15 years old and over was about six times higher for the unemployed (179.9 in 1975 and 156.4 in 1980) than for the employed (27.4 and 26.9). The rates peaked for unemployed men in their thirties and forties (average 260 for 1975 and 1980), at which ages they ran about ten times the rates for the employed. The 1980 figures showed that primary industry employees had the highest collective rate (44.5), followed by secondary industry (17.5) and tertiary (16.5) industry employees. Coal mine industry employees had the highest rate (186.4), followed by forestry and hunting industry employees (95.7), farm industry employees (46.9), and electricity, gas, water, and heat supply industry employees (42.9).
4.8 Fatherless families in shelters
Women with minor children but no means of support, and no place to live, can usually find refuge in public or private homes for fatherless families, whether or not they qualify for relief. Fatherless families outside such facilities are usually better off than those in the facilities, and some fatherless families on relief whether inside or outside a shelter may be better off than fatherless families in general.
Parentless homes not only foster more delinquency and lower educational achievement, but many result from such factors. Education is also a problem, for both parent and child. The poorer fatherless families tend to be headed by mothers with lower educations, and they are often ill-prepared to guide the educations of their offspring.
In July 1978, Tokyo prefecture had 45 facilities (19 public and 26 private) capable of accommodating 1,163 fatherless families. They were sheltering 1,001 families (86 percent of capacity), 806 (80.5 percent) of which took part in a survey of their life situations conducted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Welfare Council.
Practically all of the families were mothers with children. 45.4 percent (366) of the mothers had only school-aged children, 35.1 percent (283) had only preschool children, and 17.4 percent (140) had both preschool and school-aged children. Only 10.2 percent (82) of the families were fatherless because the father had died, compared with 33.5 percent of all fatherless families in Tokyo. The husbands of 73.2 percent (60) of the widowed mothers had died from illness. The other husbands had been killed in a traffic accidents or disaster, or had committed suicide.
In 89.8 percent (724) of the sheltered fatherless families, the father was alive but absent, compared with only 66.5 percent for all fatherless families in Tokyo. In 59.4 percent (430) of these families the mother was divorced and in 14.5 percent (105) she had never been married. Other reasons for the father's absence included running off, separation, state of life unknown, imprisonment, abandonment, and hospitalization. At least 9.1 percent (73) of the 806 mothers had been married twice and 0.6 percent (5) had been married three times.
The mothers in the Tokyo facilities were typically about ten years younger than the typical mother in all fatherless families. The mode for the former was 28.8 percent in the 30-35 age group. In the later, the mode was 24.1 percent in the 40-45 age group.
Some 49.5 percent (399) of the mothers in the Tokyo facilities had not graduated from only middle school, compared to 33.3 percent for the mothers in all fatherless families in Tokyo. 39.3 percent (317) had finished high school compared with 42.8 percent among all fatherless families. 3.1 percent (25) of the mothers in the shelters but 10.4 percent of the mothers in all fatherless families had graduated from a two-year or four-year college.
All the mothers were receiving some kind of welfare. 78.8 percent were receiving an education allowance for their children, 77.2 percent were receiving a child-rearing allowance, and 40.6 percent were receiving some kind of public assistance.
Only 26.2 percent (211) of the mothers had been working before entering the shelters, but 77.7 percent (626) were working while in the shelters. Many who had been working before entering the shelter had gotten new jobs. Of the 23 mothers who had been working in service jobs like cabaret or bar hostesses, waitress, massage parlor or public bath attendant, or hotel work, only one had continued to work as a waitress.
Most of the mothers had lived in Tokyo for 10 or more years, 19.2 percent for 10 to 19 years and 32.5 percent for 20 or more years. But 3.7 percent (30) had been in the city for less than one year.
64.3 percent (519) were admitted into a shelter within one year of losing their spouse through death or separation, and most of these (51 percent) had been separated for less than one month (18.3 percent of the 806 total) or for from one to two months (14.4 percent of total). One majority of mothers (52 percent) had lived in a shelter for from one to four years, but another majority (51 percent) for two or more years. The highest percentage (22.8 percent), though, had been accommodated for one to two years.
Tokyo shelters for fatherless families, and the families they shelter, have decreased since 1978. In July 1987, there were 42 facilities (22 public, 20 private), or three less than in 1978, capable of accommodating 1,011 families. At the end of June, 819 families (81 percent capacity) were being sheltered, but by the end of the July there were only 816 families, 36 percent (294) of which were on relief. During the month of July, 19 families were admitted to the facilities but 22 left.
Of the 831 fatherless families in Tokyo shelters at the end of March 1987 (fiscal 1986), the mothers of 60 percent (490) were divorced, 20 percent (168) had never married, 6 percent (52) had been abandoned by or did not know the whereabouts of their husbands, and 4 percent (33) were widows. During the fiscal year, 216 families were admitted and 261 were discharged. The main reasons for admission were: no place to live (47 percent); job, health, and other problems affecting ability to make ends meet (31 percent); and bad life environment (14 percent). The main reasons families left the facilities were: moving into public housing (51 percent); marriage, taken in by relatives, and other changes in family situation (20 percent); and solution to livelihood problems such as getting jobs (16 percent). 52 percent of the divorced mothers and 46 percent of the never-married mothers were admitted into the shelters mainly because they had no place to live. Divorced mothers left the shelters mainly because they moved into public housing (51 percent) or solved their livelihood problems (20 percent). Never-married-mothers left for a variety of reasons, but mostly because they got married (20 percent) or moved into public housing (20 percent).
4.9 Fatherless families on relief
In July 1986, Tokyo prefecture surveyed 800 fatherless families which were on relief and had minor children. Data on the 750 families which responded showed that 70 percent of the mothers were divorced, up about 18 percent from a 1976 survey, and about 15 percent more than for fatherless families in general. 16 percent had separated or were living apart for other reasons, 11 percent were widows, and 4 percent had never been married. 53 percent of the mothers who had separated from their husbands or were living apart for other reasons had not divorced because they did not know their husband's whereabouts.
97 percent of the 750 families were two-generation households, compared to 86 percent for fatherless families generally. The 750 families had 1,422 children or 1.90 children per family. 46 percent of the mothers had two children, 32 percent one child, 17 percent three children, and 5 percent four or more children, which was similar to the figures for all fatherless families. In only 4 percent of families did children with living fathers meet their fathers once or more a month, while in 87 percent of these families the children never saw their fathers.
The mothers had gone on relief mainly because they were unable to get by with their present incomes (49 percent), or because they were unable to work (32 percent) since childcare took all their time or they were sick. Even among those who had working, many had lost their jobs or had to quit because of illness. At the time of the survey, however, 74 percent were working, but only 28 percent of them had full-time jobs while 66 percent worked in temporary jobs, part-time jobs, or on a daily basis. Some 44 percent of those who worked said they did so despite poor health. The average six-month income was 72,200 yen, with 31 percent between 50,000 and 74,999 yen and 27 percent between 75,000 and 99,999 yen.
45 percent of the mothers had gone on relief within three months, and another 16 percent had gone on relief within one year, of the time their families had become fatherless. 95 percent of the mothers who were not widows were not receiving education allowances for their children at the time they went on relief.
4.10 Educational deprivation
Japanese Education Today, the 1987 report by the U.S. Department of Education, claimed (p. 54) that "Children from families in the lowest 20 percent income bracket have a 1 in 3 chance of attending a university compared with a 9 in 10 chance for those from the top 20 percent income bracket. This situation does not compare unfavorably with the situation in most other major nations. Yet the class differentials at leading institutions are much greater. Four of every 5 students at the University of Tokyo come from professional or executive homes. Few working class youth are represented. Special treatment for students from poor families or other disadvantaged groups is not a matter of national policy."
While affluent families may thus "monopolize" access to elite universities, and hence elite government and corporate jobs, educational opportunity at the sub-elite level seems to be increasing in Japan. This trend may merely reflect the commercialization of mass higher education as a middle-class commodity in an industrialized society. Yet there is class mobility, and the doors to elite education remain open to anyone able to pass the exams and pay the fees, which are the lowest at the national universities.
4.101 College enrollment by economic class
In 1974, some 33.6 percent of all college students came from families with incomes in the highest quintile, while only 10.3 percent were from families with incomes in the lowest quintile. By 1984 the distribution of students by income class had considerably flattened and the high-low gap had narrowed to 28.2 percent upper-class students versus 18.5 percent lower-class students. Lower-middle-class students also increased (13.5 percent to 15.9 percent) while middle-class slightly decreased (18.3 percent to 17.3 percent) and upper-middle-class students notably decreased (24.3 percent to 19.7 percent).
Most of the flattening, however, has occurred among the four lower classes of students, which accounted for 71.8 percent of all students in 1984 or an average 18 percent per class. Upper-class students continue to outnumber each of the other four classes by ten percent.
But class disparity in university enrollment varies considerably by the kind of university. In the decade between 1974 and 1984, lower-class students came to outnumber upper class students in both national and other public universities, while upper class students continue to dominate the enrollment in private universities.
The national universities have been the most egalitarian and their class disparity has been the lowest. In 1984, the disparity was 20.7 percent upper class and 24.4 percent lower class, versus 21.3 percent and 18.3 percent in 1974. The disparity for other public (prefectural and municipal) universities was 19.7 percent upper class and 22.8 percent lower class in 1984, compared with 29.8 percent and 12.3 percent in 1974. Private university student bodies were 37.1 percent upper class and only 7.9 percent lower class in 1974, but the gap had narrowed to 30.9 percent upper class and 17.2 percent lower class by 1984.
Class differences vary by sex and division. Female students more than male students, and daytime division students more than evening division students, tend to be from wealthier families, in all three university categories. Though admission, tuition, and facility fees are much lower at national and other public universities, living expenses are the same as for private universities. More private university students than public university students, and more prefectural and municipal university students than national university students, depend entirely on their parents for economic support while in college. Female students are also more likely to get by without having to work part-time. Despite the lower costs of public universities, a greater percentage of public university students apply for and receive scholarship loans.
4.102 Factors that limit class mobility
Generally speaking, entrance into the elite public and private universities requires high test scores for the wealthy and poor alike, while money is the primary requirement for entrance into low-standard private universities. Since examination scores are affected by the kind of preparatory education one receives, parents who want their children to go to college try to enroll them in the better public or private elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools during the day, and send them to private tutoring schools for additional drill in subjects that are important in the entrance examinations all students must take to advance beyond the compulsory middle school level.
Economic factors enter into the competition because poorer families cannot afford to send their children to elite private schools or subsidize supplementary tutoring. Wealthier families have an edge, in so far as entrance examination scores can be increased by investing more money in a child's preparatory education, and to the extent that a college education can be bought by anyone of average ability but above average means.
Management and Coordination Agency statistics on household income and expenses show that families in the highest quintile spend three to four times more on education than families in the lowest quintile. Other data shows that lower-income families spend only two-thirds as much on education per family member as the average family, and families on relief spend only slightly less than low-income families.
But the social if not the economic status of the family must also affect the home environment in which a child becomes educationally oriented. Higher-class families probably make a greater psychological investment in their children's education. Children from higher-class families who do not test well enough to enter an elite university can still go to college. Entrance into some kind of university is assured by the family's ability to pay the higher costs of lower-standard private institutions. And graduation from any university whatever tends to predict better and more secure employment opportunities, and much higher lifetime income. Thus a family's economic status, high or low, tends to be perpetuated.
Part 5: Case summaries
5.1 Starvation and Neglect
Case 1: Elderly couple found one month after starving to death
Shortly after noon on 4 June 1987, a Tokyo landlord found the pajama-clad bodies of an unmarried man and woman on the bedding in their apartment. The couple had been dead for about one month. Their nearly mummified bodies were emaciated but showed no signs of injury.
The unit was on the second floor of a two-story wooden apartment building in Kameari in Katsushika ward. It had one six-mat room and a kitchen and rented for 29,000 yen a month. The couple had moved into the apartment in September 1979. The woman was 55 years old and sometimes worked as a hospital attendant. The man was unemployed, and because he had trouble walking he was confined to the apartment most of the time. The rent had not been paid since February, and the electricity and gas had been cut off in May because of unpaid bills. The refrigerator and rice bin were empty, and not a scrap of food was left.
When the landlord had come to collect the overdue rent the month before, he saw that the couple were thin, but they did not respond to his offer to consult with the local welfare commissioner on their behalf. The woman had been registered with a hospital-attendant referral service since January 1979, but the work was irregular, varying from everyday for several months to only ten days a month, and she hadn't worked since August 1986. Neighbors knew them on a greeting basis only and were not aware that they were having difficulty making ends meet.
Case 2: Young couple in financial trouble starve son to death
A 26-year-old truck driver and his 31-year-old wife were arrested in Funabashi city, Chiba prefecture for causing the death of their 3-year-old son. The boy died of hunger after going nearly a month without food. He began rejecting food in late June 1987, but his parents left him in bed and gave him only water and juice. On the morning of 24 July, his mother noticed that he was cold, and she and his father brought him to the hospital, but he was already dead from malnutrition.
The boy weighed 5 kilograms, which is only one-third the weight of an average 3-year-old child. His parents had not brought him to the hospital earlier because of their poverty. They had two other children, and their monthly income was 185,000 yen. But apparently they could not afford food, and their gas and telephone service had been cut because of unpaid bills.
Case 3: Unemployed father fails to feed motherless children
In April 1986, Saitama prefecture police arrested a 44-year-old Kasukabe man for not adequately feeding his three children for over three months. The children-aged 10, 11, and 14--were put in the care of a child consultation center while their 39-year-old mother was also questioned. The man had lost his job in November 1985 and the children had hardly been fed since January. Neighbors who knew that they were starving sometimes gave them food.
The two younger children never missed a day of class at their elementary school because lunches were served. The parents stole vegetables from neighborhood gardens at night. The father was indebted to a consumer credit company and had failed to pay rent for six months. He said that he had been fired because of his debts, and that after he lost his job he did not feel like finding another one.
Case 4: Separated mother relieved of relief starves to death
"Japan today is a land of plenty where women young and old fret about their weight and Ginza vagrants suffer from diabetes," a weekly magazine observed at the head of its article about a Sapporo city, Hokkaido prefecture mother of three who was found starved to death in her municipal apartment on the morning of 23 January 1987. The 39-year-old woman and her children had moved into the apartment in August 1981. She had been receiving public assistance since separating from her husband in 1983. She earned 80,000 yen a month as a janitor and laundress at a local hospital, and supplemented this full-time income by working part-time at a drinking place.
In February 1986, though, the woman quit her hospital job because her children were staying home from school. She then began working par-time at a coffee shop during the day while continuing her evening job at the drinking place. But in early November she came down with a cold that got progressively worse. She stayed home from work and spent most of her time in bed. She had no money to pay her bills, so the gas and telephone companies stopped their services. The children borrowed money from neighbors and lived off instant foods. The woman went to the welfare office, but officials told her, "Can't you get money from your husband?" and "We'll think about it."
"Newspaper reports severely criticized the 'cold response' of the welfare office, but it seems that one of the causes of the woman's death by starvation was her own attitude," the magazine continued. Apparently she had a cheerful but prideful woman who refused to show others her weaknesses. She liked to drink and play mahjong, and she openly dated a couple of younger men. She was loose with money, and she borrowed from her neighbors, the proprietors and customers of the coffee shop and drinking place where she worked, and even from loan companies. The woman had been getting a child-rearing allowance paid to fatherless families for child support, and a child allowance paid to all families with three or more children, which amounted to 45,700 yen a month. But these payments ended in July 1986 when she failed to renew the applications.
The woman, though in financial straits from her own negligence, fell into a morbid state in which she cut off all contact with the outside world by telling her children to say to anyone who came to the door that she was not home. A case of "welfare and the feelings of the individual passing by each other," the magazine article concluded. "The room in which the woman died was so littered with empty instant noodle bags, food scraps, and clothing that you couldn't walk."
Case 5: Debt-ridden family on the run dies in a tent
Around 6 in the evening of 28 January 1987, the resident of a hut in some mountains near Amagi city, Fukuoka prefecture, found a company employee and his wife and two sons, 10 and 13, dead in a tent they had pitched near his hut. The four had died of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by burning charcoal briquettes in a brazier.
The 34-year-old employee owed about 2 million yen to a money lender, and the family had been hiding in the mountains since 20 December 1986. The tent was full of food, some with production dates of 23 December, and police estimated that the family had died that night or the following morning. The family had built a fireplace outside the tent with concrete blocks. Bags of clothes, and baseball gloves and a bat, were found in the trunk of the car.
5.2 Sheltered fatherless families
Some of the mothers in family shelters are "hard luck" women who married the "wrong man" and suddenly find themselves left to their own inadequate economic resources. Others are seriously handicapped by educational if not physical and mental deficiencies, or mothers with unsupportive families. A few cases dramatize the extreme conditions of life that few securely married women experience even in women's weekly magazines
Case 6: Retarded mother and delinquent daughter in shelter
28-year-old Y-san married a Chinese cook at the restaurant where she had been working. She had three closely-spaced children-a girl and two boys-but her husband died of a heart attack in November 1973. After giving him a funeral with the help of his friends and public aid, she brought her children to Tokyo, where she lived with two younger sisters for a while. But they could not help her financially, and so she qualified for livelihood assistance. She was not responsive to the guidance provided by the welfare office, however, and she was not sending her children to school. And so in June 1975 the welfare office arranged for counseling and a psychiatric examination.
The woman was found to have an IQ of 50, the result of a childhood affliction with Japanese encephalitis. In addition to the usual mental development disorders, she exhibited behavioral disorders associated with chronic mania and incipient schizophrenia. She had only an elementary school education, but she wanted to work if there was work she could do. She wanted someone to see to her children's education, since this was beyond her ability, and she hoped that they would be able to go to high school.
In July 1975, the 42-year-old Y-san and her children were admitted to a private shelter for fatherless families. The children were cheerful and got along with the other children in the shelter, though they did not do very well in their school. Y-san experienced many problems adapting to life in the shelter. And in time her children, especially her 12-year-old daughter M-san, began to show delinquent tendencies. From February 1976, M-san started skipping school, and on weekends she hung out at Shinjuku and Roppongi discotheques with delinquent friends and frequently stayed out all night. When at school, she extorted money from younger students when ordered to do so by older students. In October she was put in a youth guidance center, and in December her younger brothers, 10 and 9, were sent to a home for dependent children in another prefecture. An examination at a center for the mentally and physically handicapped resulted in Y-san being admitted to a Tokyo hospital for treatment as a mental patient, and in February 1982, the shelter closed its file on her case.
Y-san seemed stable in the protective environment of her marriage. She probably would have been able to continue functioning if her husband had not died. Despite the efforts of her relatives and the shelter staff to help her reorganize her life, she was unable to deal with the changes in social environment and expectations. Parent-child bonds were ruptured by sporadic separations, and M-san, especially, suffered from the frequent moving and changing of schools, and living in the shelter with a mentally-ill mother. The decision to put Y-san into a shelter for fatherless families for observation was hasty. Such places are not prepared to deal with psychiatric disorders, and Y-san would probably have been better off if she had been directly admitted to a specialized facility. If relatives could not have raised the three children even with the help of public assistance, the children could have been put in an orphanage, which might have provided an emotionally more reassuring and supportive environment.
Case 7: Over-protected woman unable to do basic chores
35-year-old F-san was raised in circumstances of mixed blessings. She lost her mother when she was a child, but her step mother and her older siblings took good care of her. The family employed a maid who did all the housework, even when F-san was in high school. She graduated from a junior college, and when 24 she was married to a man she had met through family arrangement. She managed to deal with the cooking and other housework until the children came. By the third child, she was heavily relying on prepared foods, and she often sent her older son to kindergarten and elementary school without lunch. Her husband, an executive at a major company, was tolerant and did not quarrel with her, but she had to contend with help and advice from her own relatives and her in-laws. Her husband, though, suffered neurosis from excess worry about work and home, and relatives advised a temporary separation. She returned to him when he improved, but he had a relapse, and this time a family conference ruled for divorce. F-san was opposed to a divorce, but the families forced her to go through it. Her brother-in-law took custody of her oldest son, and her youngest child, a girl, was put in a home for infants. F-san took her younger son, T-kun, back to her natal family, but her relations with her step mother worsened. Then a neighbor told her about the shelters for fatherless families, and she went to the welfare office.
F-san and her 5-year-old T-kun were admitted to a private facility in Tokyo in July 1977. She worked at a pachinko parlor until late at night. She was a very dependent person but never greeted the staff when she went to the office. She was lackadaisical in cleaning her room and doing the laundry. The room and adjoining veranda became cluttered with her own garbage and with junk that other people had thrown away. Her relatives refused to come to the shelter to help with the cleaning of her room. They claimed that she became hysterical toward her step mother, so they are entrusting her care to the staff doctor. She ate mainly easily prepared foods like instant noodles and bread.
F-san complained that T-kun was a nuisance to care for. He was cheerful and healthy, but in time he began to weaken from malnutrition. The staff gave him more nutritious food and in time he regained his strength. Despite the conditions under which he had to live, he was mentally and physically strong. The staff had once considered sending him to a home for dependent children, thinking that he would be better off in terms of nutrition and hygiene. But this would have been a last resort, should their effort to guide F-san have failed. Fortunately, she began to respond to their efforts and was better able to take care of herself as of 1979, though she was not yet ready to live on her own.
Case 8: Shinjuku mother cum prostitute
Okoma was born and raised in Shinjuku. At the age of eleven she began working as a baby-sitter and maid. She was deceived by a married man, and then began to work as prostitute for a man who liked to gamble. She habitually walked the streets around Shinjuku 4-chome, just outside the station's south exist. The area, now largely rebuilt, was formally a slum called Asahicho but known as to locals as Shima.
Okuma became associated with a self-help group called the White Chrysanthemum Association. She stop prostituting and opened a small food-and-drink place with a counter and stools for five. After some initial success, however, a lack of business forced her to close. She then resumed standing on street corners at times, and other times she helped out in a drinking place to support her family.
Okuma had a common-law husband who was four-years her junior, and who had a sales job but apparently lived elsewhere. She herself lived with, and cared for, six other people: her 75-year-old father, who was afflicted with neuralgia; her 17-year-old daughter, by a former common-law-husband, who was hospitalized by a traffic accident; the 14-year-old child of an older brother; the 10-year-old child of a younger brother's former wife; her oldest daughter, by her present common-law-husband, who was working in a factory; and her 2-year-old second daughter.
Okoma got a part-time job cleaning a movie theater. She left for work after eleven o'clock, when her working daughter returned from the factory to care for the baby. One night on her way home, she was accosted by a man she knew, and as luck would have it she was arrested for the seventh time in her life on charges of prostitution and faced a fine that would merely add to her burden. This time her 75-year-old father came to the police station with her 2-year-old daughter in his arms, and they all wept, and the police sent her home.
The year was 1960 and Okoma was 35 years old. As poor as she was, she had taken in her brothers' children in addition to her own, and was treating them with equal affection. "She never complained," wrote Shinjuku's celebrated counselor emeritus for troubled women, Sachiko Kanematsu, then the same age as Okoma, in her recently published book on the "closed personal histories" of Shinjuku prostitutes (Tojirareta rirekisho, Asahi Shinbun Sha, October 1987).
5.4 Crimes by mentally ill vagrants
Case 9: Paranoid revolt against poverty and rejection
Hirobumi Maruyama, a jobless itinerant construction worker with no fixed address, was homeless and apparently deranged on 19 August 1980, when he set fire to bus in front of Shinjuku station and killed or injured 20 people. Maruyama had been living in Tokyo for several years and had once stayed in San'ya. A week before the crime he had quit a job as a day laborer at a construction site in Setagaya ward where he also bunked. He had worked about 20 days and earned around 70,000 yen. After quitting the job he loitered around Shinjuku and slept outdoors or in the station.
Maruyama had recently lost a shopping bag which contained his personal possessions. The paper bag he was carrying when arrested held a relatively new blanket, and scraps of food he reportedly had picked out of garbage cans, including about 30 small pieces of fried chicken, some crushed bread, and decaying fish. He was also in possession of 23,172 yen in cash and a bank deposit book showing a balance of 255,617 yen.
In April 1984, the Tokyo District Court ruled that Maruyama had been temporarily insane at the time of the crime, and it sentenced him to life imprisonment, thus rejecting the prosecution's demand for the death penalty. The court found that Maruyama was responsible for his act and intended to kill the passengers. But it also recognized the defense's claim that, at the time of the crime, Maruyama had been suffering from delusions of persecution provoked by public ridicule and was under the influence of alcohol.
The ruling partly attributed Maruyama's delusions to "a sense of indebtedness for having his son and divorced wife taken care of by a welfare facility." Maruyama was born the fifth of six children of a poor farming family in Fukuoka prefecture. His mother was killed around 1945 when a roof collapsed on her during a typhoon. His father raised the children by himself but began drinking when a daughter died shortly after the war, and he himself died of illness around 1960 when Maruyama was in his late teens.
Maruyama eventually went to Yamaguchi prefecture and married. But he divorced in 1973 a year after his son was born. Later that year he was arrested for entering someone's apartment while drunk and was forcibly admitted to a mental hospital. He was released four months later after treatment for possible schizophrenia.
Part 6: Tables
Part 7: English Sources
Note: Trendscape editors wanted a list of English sources, although the information in this report came primarily from Japanese materials, and the report could not have been written on the basis of English sources.
7.1 General articles and books
Bennett, John W., and Levine, Solomon B.
"Industrialization and Social Deprivation: Welfare, Environment, and the Postindustrial Society in Japan"|
In: Patrick 1976, pages 439-492
Chubachi, Masayoshi, and Taira, Koji
"Poverty in Modern Japan: Perceptions and Realities"|
In: Patrick 1976, pages 391-437
Dixon, John, and Kim, Hyung Shik (eds)
Social Welfare in Asia|
London: Croom Helm
Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan|
(See especially entries on Livelihood Protection Law [Kato], poverty [Taira], social security programs [Niwata], and social welfare [Campbell])
Ono, Akira and Watanabe, Tsunehiko
"Changes in Income Inequality in the Japanese Economy"|
In: Patrick 1976, pages 363-89
Patrick, Hugh (ed)
Japanese Industrialization and Its Social Consequences|
Berkeley: University of California Press
Rose, Richard, and Rei Shiratori (eds)
The Welfare State: East and West|
London: Oxford University Press
"Public Assistance in Japan (Development and Trends"|
Journal of Asian Studies
Vol. 17, No. 1, November 1967, pages 95-109
"Ragpickers and Community Development: 'Ants' Villa' in Tokyo"|
Industrial and Labor Relations Review
Vol. 22, No. 1, October 1968, pages 3-19
"Urban Poverty, Ragpickers, and the 'Ants' Villa' in Tokyo"|
Economic Development and Cultural Change
Vol. 17, No. 2, January 1969, pages 155-177
7.2 Japanese government and related publications
Council of National Living, Research Committee
Social Indicators of Japan|
Ministry of Finance Printing Bureau
(English version of Shakai shihyo: Yori yoi kurashi e no monosashi [Social indicators: measuring toward a better life], 1974)
Economic Planning Agency
Annual Report on the National Life For Fiscal 1986 (In Search of an Affluent Society Open to the World)|
Ministry of Finance Printing Bureau
(English version of main body of 1986 Kokumin seikatsu hakusho [White paper on national life], 1986)
Economic Planning Agency, Social Policy Bureau
1987 New Social Indicators (Result of 1987 Calculation Based on NSI)|
Ministry of Finance Printing Bureau
(English version of main body of Kokumin seikatsu shihyo: 1987-nenban NSI shisan)
Economic Planning Agency, Social Policy Bureau
Scenarios 1990, Japan (Report of General Policy Committee of Social Policy Council)|
Ministry of Finance Printing Bureau
(English version of main body of Fukushi shakai e no sentaku: 1980 nendai no kokumin seikatsu no shinario [Choices toward a welfare society: A scenario of national life for the 1980s], 1981)
Ministry of Health and Welfare
Health and Welfare Service in Japan|
Tokyo: Japan International Corporation of Welfare Services [Kokusai Kosei Jigyodan]
Ministry of Health and Welfare, Minister's Secretariat, Statistics and Information Department
Health and Welfare Statistics in Japan|
Tokyo: Health and Welfare Statistics Association [Kosei Tokei Kyokai]
(English version of Kosei tokei yoran [Guide to health and welfare statistics])
Ministry of Health and Welfare, Social Insurance Agency
Outline of Social Insurance in Japan, 1986|
Tokyo: Japan International Social Security Association [Nihon Kokusai Shakai Hosho Kyokai]