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Top>HAKUMON Chuo [2015 Summer Issue]>Center for Measures against Child Poverty

Hakumon CHUOIndex

News & Chuo University News

Center for Measures against Child Poverty

Fundraising at eight stations over nine days

Student representative is a Chuo University student: Ryohei Takahashi (Faculty of Law, 4th)

Speaking from his own experience, Ryohei Takahashi (center of photo) and the other students in the group arguing for establishment of a children’s poverty center

One child in six is suffering from poverty. Fourth-year Chuo University law student Ryohei Takahashi and others continuing efforts to support children who lost their parents carried out fundraising around the Yamanote line in Tokyo on weekends from May 24 to June 21.

One Sunday afternoon in May. Despite the heat being like mid-summer, there were voices calling for the attention of passersby. The sidewalk near the West Exit of Shinjuku Station was packed with people. To the side, a different fundraiser was using a microphone to make their appeal. It was a trial just making it possible for passersby to hear.

Takahashi is the chairman of the executive committee for the student group “STOP! Children’s Poverty Tokyo Youth Meeting”. He gives his opinion as a student representative at a conference held by the government to improve the situation.

This day, along with six students, he asked for understanding and cooperation in fighting child poverty, including anecdotes about children who face poverty just by having a single parent, and his own experience having lost his parents.

With a hand-made box to collect funds, they made a signboard to attract passersby. From Shinjuku, every weekend they went a different place, to Ikebukuro, Ueno, Akihabara, Tokyo, Yurakucho, Shinagawa and Shibuya.

Activities to Save Children from Poverty

This fundraising was carried out to coincide with a private group working to fight child poverty changing to a public interest incorporated foundation that can receive exemptions for donations within the year. Takahashi and other students are involved in operations with executive positions such as chairperson, acting as representatives for children.

Activities have been going on gradually. Since 2009, Ashinaga and other groups have insisted on establishment of a Law on Measures against Child Poverty, and the law was finally established in June 2013. Guidelines were created in August last year indicating specific measures to be taken.

In April this year, a conference was held among Prime Minister Abe and members of the financial industry, labor industry, and support groups at the Premier's official residence. Confirming it would be a national movement, establishment of a new organization began, as the Center for Measures against Child Poverty (tentative name). This center will research child poverty and make proposals for ways to counter it. It will provide intermediary support to NPOs and direct support to children. On June 19, two full years after passing the Law on Measures against Child Poverty, a foundation carrying out these projects was finally incorporated. The goal is to make it into a public interest incorporated foundation within the year. Takahashi’s earnest efforts have moved society and brought the struggles of children facing poverty into the light.

“I lost my father to suicide, and experienced poverty myself,” said Takahashi. “Student meetings were held in six locations from Hokkaido to Kyushu, and university students have been working hard on this. Please invest in Japan’s future, the children!”

The first day of fundraising (May 24) was covered by NHK and other TV stations, with reports appearing on the evening news that night.