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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 April 24 - May 7  > For society where children have dreams and hopes
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2013 April 24 - May 7 [WELFARE]

For society where children have dreams and hopes

May 5, 2013
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

May 5 is Children’s Day in Japan. It was established in 1948, one year after the enforcement of the Constitution, to respect the individuality of children and wish for their happiness.

Children are supposed to be the treasures of society, but the present Japanese society is moving in the direction which takes away children’s dreams and hopes.

The average yearly income of households with children aged below 18 was 6.85 million yen in 2010, more than one million yen lower than its peak in 1996 when the amount was 7.82 million yen. In terms of the child poverty rate, Japan ranks at the fourth highest among 20 developed countries. More than three million children are in families living on less than half of the average annual income. Due to the world’s highest tuition rates for higher education, the financial situation of parents directly influences their children’s educational opportunities, widening the disparity in children’s academic attainment.

The United Nations calls for building a “World Fit for Children”. It aims at giving top priority to children, eliminating discrimination and poverty, providing care for all children, securing their access to education, protecting them from war, and protecting the earth for future generations.

However, Japan’s longtime ruling of the Liberal Democratic Party has left child poverty as is. Insisting that parents, and not the state, should be held responsible for child-rearing, the present administration led by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is planning to cut back on the livelihood protection and public childcare programs. The Abe government is further exacerbating child poverty, which runs counter to the world’s efforts to ease if not eliminate it.

The rate of child poverty in northern European countries and Holland is less than half of that in Japan. Sweden, France, and Britain have budgets for children-related services that are more than triple that of Japan.

The Japanese Communist Party strives to defend children’s right to happiness, healthy growth, and their right to live in peace. In cooperation with many strata of people, the JCP aims to help create a society where children can have their dreams and hopes for their future realized.
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