1 in 7 children in Japan live in poverty (14%). This figure is considered high compared to other developed countries and was the impetus behind the passage of the 2013 “Child Poverty Prevention Law.” Under this law, the government and prefectures develop policies to combat poverty of children, in addition to researching and promoting supportive measures. This year marks 5 years since the passage of this law.
On March 25, Kahoku Online news published an article about Muslims living in and around Sendai (north-east Japan) and considerations when it comes to school lunch. The author pointed out the difficulty in balancing Islamic culinary customs into the existing school lunch menu. According to Sendai City Health Education Division, many Muslim children often only eat staple food and milk while eating, and often bring side dishes from home to supplement the menu items that they cannot eat. Meanwhile, some elementary schools are beginning to provide halal-compatible meals - although it is anything but the norm.
The Conversation just published an an interesting piece entitled “Federal budget pledges a Canadian school food program but recipe requires funding” which discusses the budgetary needs this new initiative will face. Included in this article is a nice comparative list of school lunch programs from around the world