"Abenomics" may have helped double stock prices and enabled companies like Toyota Motor Corp. to post record profits in Japan, but one segment of the economy remains behind: the poor.

One in 6 Japanese children lives in poverty, the highest level since records began in 1985, according to the latest government figures. That ratio rises to 55 percent among children in single-parent families — among the worst for countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

One of the main factors hobbling the poor from getting ahead is the cost of education. Paying hefty cram school fees is a virtual necessity when it comes to passing high school entrance exams to get a shot at a decent job. Parents who cannot afford it risk condemning their children to a life of low-paid work.