Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Poverty and socio-financial inclusion in Japan

Ciula, Raffaele (2023): Poverty and socio-financial inclusion in Japan.

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Poverty has always been a sensitive issue in Japan, in fact the first official statistics on this phenomenon have been released late in time compared to many developed countries. Similarly, the most important Japanese public assistance scheme is quite narrow, stigmatizing and discretionary, which suggests a cautious attitude towards poverty and the poor. In this regard, the scholars have pointed out some factors associated with poverty, such as income, employment, and education, but the association between financial characteristics of Japanese people and poverty is still under-researched. As financial inclsion has always been an important feature in Japan, and can be an important driver of poverty avoidance, the goal of this article is about inspecting the role of formal and informal financial instruments, including the ability to save, in reducing the likelihood of falling into poverty. Also, it analyzes the role of financial access in decreasing the detrioration of being well-off in Japan, using the World Bank dataset, and employing a logit regression analysis. The main findings of this article show that formal financial instruments, the savings capacity, and tertiary education are important drivers of reducing the probability of falling into poverty. Similarly, education, and financial instruments play a pivotal role in avoiding the movement from being well-off to becoming middle-class in Japan. Therefore, this article suggests that savings, the education system, and financial instruments are still a buffer against poverty in Japan. Further, it points out that probably public interventions which encourage financial inclusion should be strengthened.

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