Japan Households in Financial Need Facing More Hardships Since Pandemic

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Students eat school lunch at an elementary school in Osaka in January 2022.

More than 64% of child-rearing households in financial need said their household income has decreased since the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey by Save the Children Japan showed.

Furthermore, nearly half of the families responding to the survey said that their children were not getting enough to eat during lunchtime on days when school lunches are not provided, such as during summer vacation.

Based on its findings, the Tokyo-based public interest incorporated association is calling for urgent measures to combat child poverty.

Save the Children Japan distributes food such as rice and ready-made meals to support households with children under 18 that are exempt from paying the resident tax and have reduced other payments because of low income.

For the survey conducted online in June, 6,412 households that applied for aid were asked about their current income and food situations. Single-parent households made up 94% of the respondents.

When asked to compare their current household income to that before February 2020, 64.1% of responding households said that their income had “decreased” or “completely disappeared.” Households where income disappeared totaled 5.8%, while those where income fell by more than 50% made up 11.9%.

Regarding children’s meals, 42.3% said that their children “do not get lunch very often” during times without school lunches, such as summer and winter vacations, with 3.9% saying their children “do not get any lunch at all.”