Japanese children are the least happy in a 38-country UN survey

Kyodo News reported on September 3 that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today released a survey on the happiness of children living in 38 developed and emerging markets, in which Japanese children ranked 37th in “spiritual happiness” due to low life satisfaction and high suicide rate. “Physical health” topped the list and people were wealthier, but less happy because of factors such as school bullying and family discord.

Naoki Omi, an education critic, calls Japan’s schools “a hell of a bully,” pointing out that, combined with a bias toward overly competitive exams, “it is inevitable that children will have low self-esteem and no happiness.”