In Japan, these Single Moms and Shrinking Cities are Trying a New Start – Together

Susie Armitage
Nov 2, 2017
Christian Science Monitor
“Mitsue Murakami was newly divorced and living in Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest city, when she typed a few words into a search engine on her phone: “single mother,” “work,” “countryside,” and “cheap rent.” Her ex-husband had gambled away their money. Ms. Murakami worked part-time in a hospital. The hours were convenient and the pay was pretty good, but it wasn’t enough to support their 10-year-old twin boys. Her search brought up around 10 government programs to subsidize a move and help her find a permanent job. The most compelling benefits were in Hamada, a city of 55,000 on Japan’s southwest coast: training as an assistant at a local senior care facility; half her rent and a child support subsidy for her first year there; and a roughly $9,000 bonus after completing her course.” Continue reading at Christian Science Monitor.
Mitsue Murakami (left) stands with Tomato Shinkai, a city employee who helps single parents settle in Hamada, Japan as part of an initiative to counter depopulation. Ms. Murakami moved to Hamada last year with her twin boys. Credit: Susie Armitage