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Japanese Women Face a Future of Poverty

A perfect storm of benefit cuts and outdated social structures is driving the nation’s women, especially the elderly, toward financial ruin.

A woman walks near the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo.
A woman walks near the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo.Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg
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At first glance, things seem to be getting better for Japanese women.

In an economy that’s historically lagged other developed nations when it comes to female workforce participation, a record 71% are now employed, an 11 point leap over a decade ago.