(社説)子どもの貧困 ひとり親世帯を救おう

July 30, 2014
EDITORIAL: Labor reforms for single mothers needed to alleviate child poverty
(社説)子どもの貧困 ひとり親世帯を救おう

The government needs to first tackle the here-and-now problems of poverty if any improvements are to be made in the situation.
 事態を打開するため、まずは今そこにある貧困の解消に力を注いでほしい。

Japan’s child poverty rate hit a record high of 16.3 percent in 2012. This translates into one in six children living in households with incomes lower than half of the average.
 子どもの貧困率が、過去最悪の16・3%(2012年)に達した。子どもの6人に1人が、平均的な所得の半分を下回る世帯に暮らしている。

The rate is among the worst in the developed world. In addition, Japan has been unable to curb the rise for nearly 30 years.
 この数字は、先進国の中では最悪クラスだ。しかも、この30年近く、率の悪化に歯止めがかからずにいる。

The government is working on establishing guidelines to combat child poverty, but the question is what to put in the guidelines.
 政府は「子どもの貧困」対策の大綱づくりを進めている。そこに何を盛り込むか。

A panel of experts recommends a broad range of measures, with special emphasis on providing education-related support.
 有識者による検討会の提言には多岐にわたる対策が並んだ。とくに、教育支援策が充実している。

Education, which gives youngsters the skills to be self-supportive, is a vital tool for severing the cycle of poverty from generation to generation.
 教育は子どもに自立できる力をつける。親から子への貧困の連鎖を断つために大切だ。

But to save children who are struggling in poverty now, the poverty of their parents or guardians needs to be addressed first. And the gravest cases are single-parent families--especially single-mother families--half of which live below the poverty line.
 ただ、今すでに貧困にあえぐ子を救うには、まず保護者の貧困を改善する必要がある。深刻なのは貧困率が5割に及ぶひとり親世帯、とくに母子家庭だ。

About 80 percent of single mothers are working, but their average annual income is a measly 1.8 million yen ($17,600). About 10 percent of single mothers live on welfare. The root of the problems faced by these women lies deep; working does not get them out of poverty.
 母子世帯の母の8割は働いているが、仕事による年収は平均で180万円にすぎない。生活保護を受けているのは1割ほどだ。働いても貧しさを抜け出せないところに根深さがある。

One major factor that keeps them in poverty is that half of these women are working unstable, part-time jobs. One bold step the government could consider to correct this situation would be to subsidize companies that hire low-income single mothers for full-time positions.
 大きな要因は、不安定な非正規雇用が半数に及ぶことだ。たとえば、収入の低いシングルマザーを正規で雇い入れた企業には助成をする、といった思い切った手を打てないか。

Basically, the problems stem from the nation’s employment structure. Unless efforts are made to enable part-time workers to switch to full-time jobs, the poor will always remain poor. And the working conditions of part-time workers need to be improved, too.
 根本的には、雇用の構造から生じている問題だ。非正規雇用を正規にかえていく努力をしなければ、貧困に苦しむ人はなくならない。非正規の待遇改善も必要だ。

During a meeting of the experts panel, a demand was made for bigger child-support checks for low-income single-parent families. The demand came from such families themselves and their supporters. This should rate a high priority.
 検討会では「収入の低いひとり親家庭に支給される児童扶養手当を増額してほしい」との声が、当事者や支援者から上がった。優先順位は高いだろう。

The elimination of poverty is a long-term challenge. This is obvious from the fact that Japan has been unable to curb its child poverty rate for decades. Obviously, the government must not think its work is done once it establishes the guidelines for combating child poverty.
 貧困の根絶には息の長い取り組みが要る。それは貧困率に長年歯止めがかからなかったことからも明らかだ。大綱を作って終わりにしてはならない。

In fact, to ensure that the efficacy of the recommended measures is closely examined down the road, the guidelines should spell out numerical targets for lowering the poverty rate and raising the rates of youngsters advancing to higher education and finding jobs afer graduation.
 政策の効果を検証できるように、大綱には貧困率や進学率、就職率などを改善する数値目標を定めておくべきだ。

Private organizations around the nation provide teaching and food aid to children from poor families, and they are proving quite helpful. But the reality is that such organizations are struggling financially and must rely heavily on the goodwill of their dedicated members.
 生活の苦しい家庭の子どもに学習や食事を支援する民間組織は各地にあり、効果をあげている。ただ、どこもメンバーの献身的な努力に支えられているのが実情で、運営は厳しい。

At the meeting of the experts panel, a proposal was made to create a fund, sponsored by both the public and private sectors, to finance the activities of those goodwill organizations.
 検討会では、こうした活動の支援にも使える官民基金の創設が提案された。

We certainly support such a fund, as it is the responsibility of society at large to raise the next generation. We believe in individual citizens providing whatever help they can, not only to their own children and grandchildren.
わが子や孫だけでなく、よその子にも出来る範囲で手をさしのべる。社会で子どもを育てるために、そういう仕組みがあっていい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 30
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by kiyoshimat | 2014-08-01 07:02 | 英字新聞

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