Associate Professor of Social Policy Theory
Currently, the number of families living in poverty in Japan is increasing. What is the rate of this increase? In 1992, there were 3.85 million families living in poverty. This number increased significantly to 9.86 million in 2012. I am conducting research to clarify the cause for the increased number of families living in poverty in Japan, as well as to identify actions which must be taken in order to alleviate poverty.
In particular, my research focuses on the idea that the increase in the number of the working poor is a major factor in the rise in poverty. The term "working poor" refers to people who are unable to obtain the minimum income required to make a living despite working. Specific examples of the working poor are non-fulltime employees and full-time employees working for low wages (working at companies which exploit employees).
Until recently, the Japanese employment system was known for the features of "lifetime employment" and a "seniority wage system." When such an employment system functions, the working poor is not created. Why has there been an increase in workers for whom lifetime employment and a seniority wages system is not guaranteed? Related factors include labor issues and the fact that a social security system has not been sufficiently developed in Japan. My research focuses on the role of labor unions in decreasing the number of the working poor.