25% of Japan’s disabled have trouble making ends meet

Kyodo

At least 1 in 4 disabled people in Japan has difficulty making ends meet, with the poverty rate running twice the average of nondisabled individuals, according to a study led by a Keio University professor.

Atsuhiro Yamada’s team studied the results of a 2013 government survey on people’s lives to identify the relative poverty rate for people with disabilities and found that the rate is high here compared with that of other developed nations.

Relative poverty is measured based on household disposable income. The percentage reflects those living in households with an income below 50 percent of the national median level.

The researchers say the high poverty rate reflects the fact that there are fewer job opportunities for disabled people and that they earn lower wages. They also reflect the lower pension benefits available in Japan for such people compared with other advanced countries.

Yamada said the findings underscore the “seriousness” of poverty among disabled people in Japan and called for measures to promote employment for them and their families to help them escape poverty.

The study covered people who said in the government survey they needed help or had to be watched over because of disabilities or loss of physical abilities.

The poverty rate of disabled people in their 20s and 30s stood at 28.8 percent, while the figure came to 26.7 percent for people in their 40s and 27.5 percent for those aged between 50 and 64.

As for people with no disabilities, the comparable figures were 13.8 percent, 13.4 percent and 14.6 percent.

The government has compiled poverty figures for the population as a whole and for children under the age of 18. According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the overall rate was 16.1 percent in 2012.