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[Registration Closed] (Webinar) The 102nd HGPI Seminar – Examining Child and Household Poverty From the Perspective of Food Security as Highlighted by the COVID-19 Pandemic (December 3, 2021)

[Registration Closed] (Webinar) The 102nd HGPI Seminar – Examining Child and Household Poverty From the Perspective of Food Security as Highlighted by the COVID-19 Pandemic (December 3, 2021)

The topic of child poverty in Japan has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. According to a recent survey, 13.5% of children in Japan are living in relative poverty (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions 2019). This figure corresponds to approximately one in seven children. Unlike “absolute poverty,” which is used to describe conditions in which people are deprived of basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter, “relative poverty” is an OECD standard which applies to children who, compared to other children, lack sufficient opportunities for various educational and life experiences due to economic deprivation and are isolated within their communities. Such conditions are considered a cause of adverse mental health effects and later detriments to physical and mental development. Among advanced countries, Japan has the highest rate of relative poverty among children, so urgent measures to improve the situation are needed. More than two decades of economic stagnation, an increase in non-regular employment, and worsening working conditions have given rise to a class of working poor and have caused the wealth gap in Japan to widen significantly. As more families face economic difficulty, more children are beginning to experience adverse living conditions. There is also evidence that some children are facing difficult economic circumstances due to inadequate support from social systems for their households, even when their guardians are unable to work due to long-term illnesses or require long-term care. Support must be expanded.

Making the situation even more difficult is the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which began in early 2020. In addition to many changes to our lives due to the declaration of a state of emergency and other factors, business activities have also been affected by the pandemic. As a result, non-regular workers and other people whose employment is unstable may have experienced income loss or unemployment. For the children of these families, the situation continues to be difficult. Compounding this issue is the fact that temporary school closures meant the suspension of school lunches, meaning some children have been unable to get enough food.

The current circumstances caused by COVID-19 pandemic mean that every member of civil society must come together to confront child and household poverty. In addition to supporting NPOs and other organizations working to solve immediate problems and help children and families, we must also speak out against the structural issues in Japanese society that led to this situation.

To create one opportunity for progress on these issues, the upcoming HGPI Seminar will feature Professor Sakiko Gan, a member of the Faculty of Management of Atomi University who is conducting research and issuing policy recommendations on child and household poverty from the perspectives of providing school lunches and supporting school admissions.

Please note that this seminar is available in Japanese only. An English report of this event will be published in due course.

 

■ Speaker:
Prof. Sakiko Gan (Professor, Faculty of Management, Atomi University)

■ Date and time:
Friday, December 3, 2021, 14:00-15:15 JST

■ Venue:
Zoom webinar

■ Participation fee:
Free

■ Languages: 
Japanese only

■ Capacity:
500

■ Profile:
Prof. Sakiko Gan (Professor, Faculty of Management, Atomi University)
Professor Sakiko Gan was born in Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture and graduated from the Department of International Relations Law of the Faculty of Law at Sophia University. She earned a Master of Science in Policy and Planning Sciences degree from the University of Tsukuba and holds a Doctor of Laws degree. As a staffer for the House of Councillors, she has been involved in surveys and other research to support legislative activities in the Diet, including the revision of the Act on the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims, for 27 years. In 2012, she began teaching Public Administration as a member of Atomi University’s Faculty of Management. Her current research is focused on child poverty and women’s poverty. Her major works include Child Poverty and Unequal Educational Opportunities: Issues Related to School Admission Assistance, School Meals, and Single Mother Households (Akashi Shoten) and Unpaid School Meals: Child Poverty and Food Inequality (Kobunsha). 

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