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In the early years of the 21st Century

Description: Description: Japan

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Japan in the early years of the 21st Century.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



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*** Extreme Weather ***

In June, Tokyo faced a scorching heatwave, with temperatures soaring above 35°C (95°F) for five consecutive days. This marked the worst documented streak of hot weather in June since records began in 1875. The city of Isesaki, northwest of Tokyo, even recorded a staggering 40.2°C (104.4°F), the highest June temperature ever in Japan. Heatwaves have become more frequent, intense, and prolonged.

In southwest Japan, record-breaking rainfall led to severe flooding. Kurume experienced an astounding 402.5 mm of rain in a single day, the highest ever recorded in the city. Tragically, three people lost their lives, and three others remain missing.

The rainy season ended 22 days earlier than usual in Tokyo, as declared by the Japan Meteorological Agency. This marked the earliest end to the rainy season since 1951. Cases of heatstroke surged amidst the sweltering heat, with at least 76 people hospitalized. – adapted from Microsoft BING Copilot

*** ARCHIVES ***

The World Factbook - Japan

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency CIA

[accessed 31 December 2020]

World Factbook website has moved to --->

[accessed 5 January 2021]

Over the past 70 years, government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively small defense allocation (slightly less than 1% of GDP) have helped Japan develop an advanced economy. Two notable characteristics of the post-World War II economy were the close interlocking structures of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, known as keiretsu, and the guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labor force. Both features have significantly eroded under the dual pressures of global competition and domestic demographic change.

GDP - per capita (PPP): $42,900 (2017 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 2.9%

industry: 26.2%

services: 70.9% (February 2015 est.)

Unemployment rate: 2.9% (2017 est.)

Population below poverty line: 16.1% (2013 est.)

Maternal mortality rate: 5 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate: total: 1.9 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth: total population: 86 years

Drinking water source: improved: total: 100% of population

Physicians density: 2.41 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Sanitation facility access: improved: total: 100% of population

Electricity access: electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

The Borgen Project - Japan

[accessed 8 February 2021]

The Borgen Project works with U.S. leaders to utilize the United States’ platform behind efforts toward improving living conditions for the world’s poor.  It is an innovative, national campaign that is working to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy.  It believes that leaders of the most powerful nation on earth should be doing more to address global poverty. From ending segregation to providing women with the right to vote, nearly every wrong ever righted in history was achieved through advocacy. The Borgen Project addresses the big picture, operating at the political level advancing policies and programs that improve living conditions for those living on less than $1 per day.

~ 10 Facts About Poverty In Tokyo

~ The Hidden Reality Of Poverty In Japan

~ Poverty In Nagoya, Japan

~ The Truth Behind Poverty In Japan

Non-regular worker's sudden plunge into poverty exposes Japan's toxic labor environment

The Mainichi, 28 January 2021

[accessed 6 March 2021]

The woman graduated from junior college during Japan's "employment ice age," the period between around 1993 and 2004 after the "bubble" economy burst and secure employment opportunities became scarce for new workers. She, too, couldn't find a permanent company employee position.

When she was looking for a job, she was confronted with questions from interviewers and senior company members such as, "If you get married will you quit your job?" and, "I'll give you the job offer, so let's go to a hotel." She was stunned to find out that in reality there really are people who say these things.

"I lost the desire to work in a serious manner during those interviews," she said. Through registering at a dispatch worker service, she got jobs setting up event spaces and working at call centers, among other positions, and supported herself that way. There were also jobs available that could lead to full-time employee registration, but competition for them was fierce. She said, "One day I realized I'd always been in non-permanent work."

Women, families, foreigners in Tokyo food line as pandemic-induced poverty tightens grip

The Mainichi, 5 January 2021

[accessed 6 March 2021]

"If things go on as they are, more and more people will be pushed out onto the streets with no way to support themselves," said Tsuyoshi Inaba, of the Emergency action for covid-19 disaster and the Tsukuroi Tokyo Fund organizations, which backed the food giveaway.

When a state of emergency was declared last spring, internet cafes shut their doors, forcing day laborers who spent their nights at such establishments onto the street. And since October, people who have run through their savings after losing their jobs to the pandemic have apparently been joining them on the curbside in increasing numbers. More people in their teens and 20s are joining the ranks of Japan's impoverished.

The World Bank in Japan

[accessed 22 April 2021]

Japan joined the World Bank in August 1952, the year after the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Starting in 1953, a number of projects were implemented in Japan with World Bank loans for the development of the nation’s economic foundation.

Looking back a few years …

Advameg, Inc., Encyclopedia of the Nations

[accessed 8 February 2021]

Japan's economy is the most advanced in Asia and the second most technologically advanced in the world, behind the United States. Total GDP in nominal terms in 2001, at $4.147 trillion, was also second only to the United States

Domestic raw materials are far too limited to provide for the nation's needs, and imports must be relied on for such basics as many raw cotton, raw wool, bauxite, and crude rubber, with fuels and foodstuffs heading the list materials. The primary engine of Japan's modern growth has been the need to pay for these basic imports with manufactured exports. The exchange of high value-added finished products for low value-added commodities and raw materials has been the basis for both its high level of industrialization and its persistently high trade surpluses.

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