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The poverty rate rose to a record 16 percent in 2009 and the number of welfare recipients reached an all-time high of 2.09 million this January, according to the government. But what is even more shocking is the finding a recent study that about 1 in 3 women in Japan aged between 20 and 64 who live alone are living in poverty.

“People need to recognize that it’s a serious issue and acknowledge that without measures to tackle poverty, especially for the working poor, there is no future for Japan,” Aya Abe, a senior researcher at the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (NIPSSR), told The Japan Times recently.

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