September 16, 2019
 In Articles

Topic: Eradication of Poverty

Nation: Japan 



For years, poverty has been a pressing global issue, causing increased rates of crime, substance abuse, and discrimination, while decreasing health, lifespan, and overall education in countries plagued by it. By destabilizing national economies and causing dangerous class tensions, these detrimental consequences not only affect the impoverished nations, but also have global ripple effects. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has recognized this threat and has taken action to try to eradicate it, but has recently determined that poverty is not being eradicated quickly enough. Although substantial progress has been made since 1990, such as reaching the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to cut poverty in half in 2010, five years before the goal of 2015, the outcome of poverty eradication efforts have gradually but notably began to decrease, with only an approximate 9% decline in extreme poverty rates recorded between 2013 and 2015, according to the World Bank. Additionally, while poverty is more easily combated in developed nations, Africa continues to hold the increasing majority of the world’s most impoverished people.  An estimated 90% of the world’s extremely impoverished will live in sub-Saharan Africa in 2030. Only some nations in East Asia/Pacific and Europe/Central Asia have stayed on-course to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030, with only a select few rich nations dedicating the recommended 0.7% Gross National Income (GNI) to official development assistance.


Japan, originally a key player in the reduction of worldwide poverty, has unfortunately restricted its Official Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.23% of its GDP due to the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Japan has made headway into combating poverty through the establishment of the JFPR (Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction) in 2000. The JFPR has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars towards the aid of particularly vulnerable developing member countries of the Asian Development Bank, with $615.4 million received from Japan estimated in March 2013. Much of this money was allotted for over 270 grants for poverty reduction and technical assistance to developing nations in Asia.


In order to solve this threat of poverty, the Delegation of Japan suggests a solution to attack the roots of the plague of poverty; that is, to increase availability to resources such as education, opening markets, essential natural resources, and by creating jobs. Lack of availability to resources such as food and safe water, have been proven to be detrimental to nations ridden with poverty. This is because members of a family (often women, girls, or children) will spend their days fetching water instead of going to school or working.  This directly limits the amount of income a family can earn, as hours and hours are spent gathering water when they could be spent in school or earning money. By creating jobs to build new infrastructure or, specifically, renewable energy facilities, in order to increase access to potable water, a major cause of poverty could be eliminated, as these jobs could provide economic support and stability to families, helping to decrease poverty while simultaneously building structures which would increase the amount of available workers as less people are needed to gather resources. Such infrastructure could also help connect the rural impoverished (which make up the majority of those in extreme poverty) to markets, which in turn would stabilize local and eventually national economies.  If renewable energy facilities were created, the effect of climate change in impoverished nations could be lowered. Additionally, gender equality is imperative to economic success. By setting in place policies to enact equality of education for girls and women and pay equity, knowledge and salaries would be raised. By equalizing men and women in employment, GDP per capita in low-income countries be raised by an estimated 15%. Furthermore, education and health are essential to maintaining a sustainable economy. By regulating and enforcing education reform and health standards, higher skilled and able-bodied workers could be employed at higher-skill and thus higher-paying jobs. An estimated 7-8% of GDP investment in these regions was correlated to ideal growth performance, according to a commission headed by Michael Spence.


In conclusion, through creating jobs to build and enhance infrastructure, access to markets and resources could be enhanced, which would, along with increased education reforms and health standards, help to eliminate poverty in underdeveloped countries.



Works Cited

Asian Development Bank. “Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction: Stories of Triumph from the Field.” Asian Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, 15 Nov. 2017,


Berrebi, Dario. “Effects of Poverty on Society: Why We Should All Care.” RSS,, 7 Mar. 2011,


Kim, Jim Yong. “Why Investing in Poor Countries Helps All of Us.” World Bank Blogs, Voices, 24 Mar. 2014,


“Overview.” World Bank,, 2 Oct. 2019,


Project, Borgen. “10 Solutions to Global Poverty That Can Be Implemented Today.” The Borgen Project, Borgen Project, 6 June 2018,


 “Stepping up the War on Poverty.” The Japan Times, The Japan Times, 28 July 2015,


“The Role of Trade in Ending Poverty.” World Bank,,


Vallas, Rebecca, and Melissa Boteach. “The Top 10 Solutions to Cut Poverty and Grow the Middle Class.” Center for American Progress,, 17 Sept. 2014,

  • Christopher Mojares

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