One of the great challenges in the region is the state recognition (or lack thereof) of Indigenous peoples, which makes the procurement of accurate population data more difficult. It is estimated that there are more than 200 million Indigenous people distributed from Japan to Indonesia and Bangladesh.
In China, Indigenous peoples account for 10 per cent of the population, which equates to nearly 125 million people, many of them in the poorest population segment in the country. The Japanese government has officially recognized the Ainu people on the island of Hokkaido, but only since the year 2000. Nine million Indigenous people inhabit the most isolated areas of the Philippines, where the lack of access to basic social services is more prominent, and where few opportunities for economic integration can be found.
In Malaysia, around 3 million Indigenous people are affected by the private exploitation of monoculture crops. Fifteen million people in Vietnam are known as the “Nine Mountain People.” Meanwhile, there are 461 groups in India that are classified as “protected tribes,” totaling more than 85 million people. However, there are constant accusations of attempts to exterminate these minority populations throughout the region.