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Disclosure of employees' birthrate sparks blowback at Japanese firm

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"...effort to promote child-rearing among employees..."

Correction: effort to promote child-rearing among female employees

No mention of whether the male workers were surveyed (for how many kids they've fathered). Gotta love a fair and free workplace.

10 ( +21 / -11 )

Having a child come into the world is ‘a great thing’ -let’s not disparage that fact!

4 ( +14 / -10 )

Having a child come into the world is ‘a great thing’ -let’s not disparage that fact!.

Shhhh, quiet, feminists don't like to hear that.

3 ( +16 / -13 )

Grotesque.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

kurisupisu

Today 07:08 am JST

Having a child come into the world is ‘a great thing’ -let’s not disparage that fact!

TokyoJoe

Today 07:11 am JST

Having a child come into the world is ‘a great thing’ -let’s not disparage that fact!.

> Shhhh, quiet, feminists don't like to hear that

No it is your business and leave others alone about it.

I have barely been able to get my wife back into society because of crap like this in the article.

At a young age her body stopped producing viable eggs. We spent millions of Yen and over 10 years of treatment with no luck, egg donation and or surrogacy are not available in Japan or affordable even if they were, adoption is difficult expensive and complicated especially with an older Gaijin husband.

This constant droning on about having children, the constant intrusion into her private life with " oh do you have children?" " Why don't you have children?" "Nantoka-san is pregnant when are you going to?" Etc...has driven her into self isolation from most social activities, stopped seeing friends, and is working mostly from home to avoid more stupid people asking inappropriate questions.

Oh and if the government wants children, then pay for IVF, promote eggs donation and pay for it, permit surrogacy and pay for it and put being pregnant under the health insurance and pay for the hospital.

Now People mind your own business.

5 ( +16 / -11 )

Does seem like a strange thing to do! Be better to promote the companies effort to restrict the number of working hours for both male and female employees. Promote that not the fertility of its female employees. HR and PR departments not on the ball here.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

If they restrict working hours?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Astonishing, but barely even surprising. Japanese companies will be telling their employees how to vote next. Oh wait....

7 ( +15 / -8 )

AntiquesavingToday

Oh and if the government wants children, then pay for IVF, promote eggs donation and pay for it, permit surrogacy and pay for it and put being pregnant under the health insurance and pay for the hospital.

I know it’s too late for you, but government is paying for the IVF since two years ago. Or it might just be a Tokyo thing …

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I know it’s too late for you, but government is paying for the IVF since two years ago. Or it might just be a Tokyo thing …

Please review your information.

The government does pay, but not the full cost and only a few tries, it also has a limit on tries based on age.

You can apply for reimbursement only after you have paid and only a very limited number of times and again depending on age.

The per extraction ( if an egg is found) treatments are usually not covered, this means the blood tests, hormone therapy etc.. are either not covered or are very limited in coverage and again a complicated reimbursement application is involved.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Alfie Noakes

Today 07:42 am JST

Astonishing, but barely even surprising. Japanese companies will be telling their employees how to vote next. Oh wait....

Yeah my ex-wife's father was warned when he was younger that his job could be in danger because he was receiving the communist party newspaper.

He was an electrical engineer for a certain ver large corporation that tended to "divest themselves" of employees that voted or were sympathetic to the Japanese communist party.

As far as I know the oldman is still sympathetic to the JCP but hid the fact as long as he was working.

So companies interfering in the private lives of their workers in Japan is still alive and going strong as this article shows.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

I can completely understand the intention behind the disclosure, and why the company tried to make an appeal of the work they are doing, but the execution was terribly bad and someone should take the responsibility of not consulting with proper experts in order to properly convey the message.

If, for example, the message was more inclusive and integrate all the different things an employee can do thanks to the way the company gives them flexibility and support then it would not have been taken negatively. Making a point of all employees in general (not only female) having larger families is one aspect, but also would be to include taking care of disable members of those families, or having activities supporting their communities, taking educational or preparation courses to better themselves, even taking some licenses or degrees, etc.

Then it would not be taken as some undue pressure to have children as it is now. People can grow and be productive in many different ways, and if a company is proud to support those efforts then it should not focus only one one.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

They should have just pointed out the policies they have that improve work/life balance, and positive effect they have on all employees, regardless of gender, marital status, age, etc.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

sparking criticism that it is meddling in their lives and creating unfair expectations

In this particular case, I would ask who is this criticism from? Criticism from outside the firm is far less relevant from the workers themselves.

If the company has implemented various family friendly policies that have enabled it to employ and retain working mothers, then it should be congratulated. The basic model in Japan is that when a woman has a child, she is demoted (in the form of reduced responsibilities) or forced out. Creating working practices that allow working mothers to thrive is a far bigger positive than "we've got a far higher than normal % of working mothers" is a privacy-invading or unfair-expectation-creating negative.

There are cases where it is good to fight other people's battles. You can be white and straight and still hate racism and homophobia. That is because it is usually clear where prejudice against others exists. This company is boasting about treating women well. It is not a clear case of prejudice others need to pile in on. As for "birthrate tracking" (!), many traditional companies pay their employees a wage supplement for each child they have. Which means of course that they will have data on how many kids each male, female, and other employee has without any need for spying on them.

She argues further that the practice isolates and alienates LGBT staff and those undergoing fertility treatments by establishing what could be an impossible goal for some.

So we can't celebrate having children because it might isolate or alienate LGBT or people who might have fertility issues? I think this level of overthinking of potential problems does great damage to the image of LGBT, who have much more pressing issues like recognition of marriage and next of kin status. Same sex intercourse is still illegal in dozens of countries.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

People complaining will still buy their products, and probably think 'socialism' is a better alternative, but you'd get the same thing.

However, the fact that women are not only being recruited into the workplace but also have the ability to do so is a fundamental feature of the system. This system built the products that 'freed' them from housework and Motherhood... so they can work as a corporate servant instead. The system has just realised it can't sustain itself without renewal of its workforce.

If you don't like it, you have to opt out...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As a parent I can assure the Japanese governement that if they want more kids they will have to make changes so mothers can work. My wife cant find a 9-5 job because all places are 830-5 or 930 -530. And that is simply not long enough to pick up a kid from hoikuen. One job advertised a position as 9-5, but wouldnt give an interview because she said she could not do overtime.

Need kids? Guess what old men that run this country - that means mums ...

dont want mums? dont get kids

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So we can't celebrate having children because it might isolate or alienate LGBT or people who might have fertility issues?

You want to celebrate it do it on your own time in your own home with your like minded friends.

Leave it out of the work space, leave your coworkers alone mind your own business and they will mind their own business.

It is the same for religion, would you like your employer to promote their religious beliefs and push it on the employees, would you be comfortable with a coworker that never shuts up about their god or religion.

Well for those without children or having fertility problems, your droning on and on about your children your pregnancy or that of your friends and family is no different.

Leave it and the children at home where they belong.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Ugly and not classy at all.

Focus on the efforts of the company to support those with kids (regardless of sex or orientation) rather than benchmarking females employees and their offspring.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I feel like Japanese companies don't what employees are - E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.S. Not their serfs and certainly not something they can or should use to promote or exploit agendas. The lack of separation between one's work life and one's personal life in Japan is terrifying in its unhealthiness. Besides, I doubt they thought this idea through because to promote birthrates they'd have to overhaul their system and do away with meaningless overtime, increase wages, allow fathers to take paternity leave without guilting them or demoting them etc. etc. and I highly doubt the company is willing to change any of it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Badly

Today 08:53 am JST

As a parent I can assure the Japanese governement that if they want more kids they will have to make changes so mothers can work. My wife cant find a 9-5 job because all places are 830-5 or 930 -530. And that is simply not long enough to pick up a kid from hoikuen. One job advertised a position as 9-5, but wouldnt give an interview because she said she could not do overtime.

> Need kids? Guess what old men that run this country - that means mums ...

> dont want mums? dont get kids

I was a single father, come on!

Public Hoikuen (保育園) early drop off is 7:00 and late pickup is 19:00

So plenty of time.

Plenty of no overtime jobs if it is a second income job.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Wow, no mention that average salaries at Itochu are around 14-15m yen? Meanwhile average salaries in Japan are under 5m yen. You don't think that could be a factor at all, Itochu?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm on the fence on this one.

If the company is in any way creating pressure or expectations on employees to have kids, then this clearly is over-reach.

On the other hand, if the company is merely trying to demonstrate that it offers female employees a career that allows them to actually have a family without being pressured to quit there jobs and de-rail their careers - which is a huge problem at many Japanese companies - then while this might not be the best way of doing so (it seems invasive) I can at least appreciate that the intentions are in the right place.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In order to be able to give birth, only the female sex is needed.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

An awful lot of pontificating and telling people that people should mind their own business. Mind your own business.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

No it is your business and leave others alone about it.

Weird. Is it his business or is it NOT his business?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Peter Neil

Today 12:13 pm JST

An awful lot of pontificating and telling people that people should mind their own business. Mind your own business

Wow talk about an illogical comment.

If others don't say anything then we will not react and say something.

If I don't ask you if you have kids then don't ask me and why is it any of my business to know about your family life.

Likewise if I am not asking you why should you feel the need or the right to tell me about your kids.

I just don't get people today with children, they think everyone cares about their children.

News flash we don't!

I did not go around work telling everyone about my children, most didn't even know I had any, I didn't go around going "oh I am divorced raising 2 children" " look this is my daughter and this is my son" " aren't they cute?" Hey do you have children? No! "Why not? " You and your wife/husband should have children " etc......

I didn't do that but I sure heard a lot of nosy people do it, I have been the recipient as has my second wife when she was dying from cancer and my present wife gets it regularly.

So who needs to mind their own business?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So this proves that WOMEN can work and raise a family. So are the FATHERS, starting later, and finishing later. It takes two to work, earn and raise a family.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Garthgoyle

Today 12:32 pm JST

No it is your business and leave others alone about it.

> Weird. Is it his business or is it NOT his business

Autocorrect sorry

Should have been

"No it isn't your business."

0 ( +2 / -2 )

. It takes two to work, earn and raise a family.

No it really doesn't.

I am speaking from experience as a single father raising 2 children.

What it takes is being reasonable, do you need the latest greatest smartphone again,? Do you need the fancy 60 inch 4k, 8k TV , do you need a big SUV when you live dead centre Tokyo and never go offroading? ect...

You have to decide do you want fancy things or are you going to raise a family and live without 2 jobs and a older style family life.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Very helpful information to future employees. Concrete results.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Masami Saito, a part-time lecturer at the University of Toyama

Why should I be listening to this lady?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I go with Antique and Virex on this one.

The thought or intent may have been good, but why not run it by a few mothers in the office first (If as I suspect, this policy was the brainchild of a man.)

You know, "Hi ladies. So I am planning to X, Y, Z in order to accomplish A, B, C. I don't sound like a clueless offensive man here, do I?"

And Antique makes a great point. Celebrate it privately in your home with others. Of course I talk about my kids to others that I know have kids. And I love to hear their stories. But that is just me. I don't want to ram my kids or having kids down another woman's throat.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Those are intrusive inappropriate questions.

Quite so and anyone asking them should be prepared to be told to "go away" and mind your own business.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

AntiquesavingToday  01:09 pm JST

. It takes two to work, earn and raise a family.

No it really doesn't.

I am speaking from experience as a single father raising 2 children.

What it takes is being reasonable, do you need the latest greatest smartphone again,? Do you need the fancy 60 inch 4k, 8k TV , do you need a big SUV when you live dead centre Tokyo and never go offroading? ect...

You have to decide do you want fancy things or are you going to raise a family and live without 2 jobs and a older style family life.

Up to a point. Sometimes people want to save for college, medical care, rent etc etc, how about the nappies, the wipes, but more importantly I dont think were talking just about the money and things you mention, we're also talking about TIME, we give out kids and our partners. The support we give out partners. There might be situations where you live to work rather than WORK to LIVE. lets also remember many single parents are also carers.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Up to a point. Sometimes people want to save for college, medical care, rent etc etc, how about the nappies, the wipes, but more importantly I dont think were talking just about the money and things you mention, we're also talking about TIME, we give out kids and our partners. The support we give out partners. There might be situations where you live to work rather than WORK to LIVE. lets also remember many single parents are also carers.

What part of:

I am speaking from experience as a single father raising 2 children.

Was not clear?

Everything you pointed out I already did, university for both Masters for one, oh and just to point out, I am highly into saving both money and the environment so diapers/nappies were cloth (Japan has the most amazing ones,) washed ever6at home myself, disposable used on rare occasions where long travel and not returning home soon. Initially outlay seems expensive but once done no more money needed and I used them again on the second child.

My mom didn't work, 4 children, we also the kids play room didn't get a colour TV until the BW one finally broke down permanently. ( Parents had a small portable colour tv in their room. No Fancy car, not even FM radio until they were standard and included, same for electric windows, etc..

Like I said it depends on your priorities if you really "need" the latest iPhone, 4k 8k tv etc... Then don't complain about needing 2 incomes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So businesses can't do birthrate censuses from their employees, but govts can for their citizens?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Creepy and intrusive. Big red flag to avoid the company.

Will companies be making sure their female employees get drunk at those after work parties in the hope that it ups their birthrate stats?

Stop treating women as baby machines with a patriotic duty to spawn and let them make their own choices.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So businesses can't do birthrate censuses from their employees, but govts can for their citizens?

The article is very clear, the problem was never about doing the census, but promoting childbirth as if it was the only thing worth mentioning as a goal for the employees obviously would put a lot of pressure for those that are either not interested or not able to accomplish that goal.

With a tiny amount of effort and guidance the message could have been much more inclusive and positive, hopefully the next time a company tries to do something similar they will take this as a reference and much better results will be obtained.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

AntiquesavingJuly 1  05:57 pm JST

Up to a point. Sometimes people want to save for college, medical care, rent etc etc, how about the nappies, the wipes, but more importantly I dont think were talking just about the money and things you mention, we're also talking about TIME, we give out kids and our partners. The support we give out partners. There might be situations where you live to work rather than WORK to LIVE. lets also remember many single parents are also carers.

What part of:

I am speaking from experience as a single father raising 2 children.

Was not clear?

Everything you pointed out I already did, university for both Masters for one, oh and just to point out, I am highly into saving both money and the environment so diapers/nappies were cloth (Japan has the most amazing ones,) washed ever6at home myself, disposable used on rare occasions where long travel and not returning home soon. Initially outlay seems expensive but once done no more money needed and I used them again on the second child.

My mom didn't work, 4 children, we also the kids play room didn't get a colour TV until the BW one finally broke down permanently. ( Parents had a small portable colour tv in their room. No Fancy car, not even FM radio until they were standard and included, same for electric windows, etc..

Like I said it depends on your priorities if you really "need" the latest iPhone, 4k 8k tv etc... Then don't complain about needing 2 incomes.

Good for you. I'm glad you could manage to go to university and get a masters, and also that higher salary.

I'm not sure a single mother/father earning minimum wage is as lucky as you, and have to forgo all those lovely things you mention. I guess you're happy letting them all struggle. But if you dont want to struggle, give your kids chances and experiences, like all those nice things. Then I guess, two people are needed. if you want all those nice things. Glad you managed with out them.I know many others who couldn't afford them either. But times have changed, even a smart phone seems to be a basic utility now .Especially as high schools send the children their homework via apps because of the pandemic. It could help to look at it from their perspective, rather than just your own.

That's your experience, and others may want to have more in their life. But maybe your masters allowed you to have the earning power of two low income parents anyway. Anyway, we aren't talking about material things, sometimes it's about experiences, that they wish to give their children. Why should they deny their kids those things, and the chance to go to Uni. Some people dont want to live a life of survival but have a quality of life.and probably not live in poverty.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Antiquesaving

And yes we know you don't NEED two "literally". But I think most get the point.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If we're talking generalities, then children are generally better off with two parents than one.

If we're talking specifics than it needs to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Some parents are detrimental to their children. There are cases where the child should be with neither parent, because they're both harmful to the child. There are no blanket statements, no one-size-fits-all definitions to whether one or two parents is better. Only generalities.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The company's disclosure comes when the government is trying to reverse the long-term trend of population decline in Japan

Business life in big cities like Tokyo is very stressful. Most people naturally prefer to postpone parenting that is often perceived as a full-time job requiring great responsibility. Why having children if one is not sure that he'll become a decent parent?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Business life in big cities like Tokyo is very stressful.

Not near as stressful as living in a war zone, or a country with no running water or electricity, or mounds of garbage where people have to scrounge for food.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Strangerland

Today 01:27 am JST

If we're talking generalities, then children are generally better off with two parents than one

As a single father that raise 2 children on my own and the fact I was raised in a family with both parents and a stay home mother while most of my friends where from single parent households or seriously poor domestic situations.( Lets just say I didn't go to school in the best of neighbourhoods)

2 parents with one dedicated to raising the children ( not 100% and only that parent let's be reasonable) while one does the financial providing even if material things are not as abundant, new or in fashion, etc...is far better than being a single parent trying to juggle everything (again folks speaking from experience) or being a dual income with both parents working long hours and little interaction with the children. The problem with single parents and dual income families is the daycare, school , after school services, nanny ( if you can afford one), etc.. all spend way more time with your children than you or your spouse. So who is exactly raising your children? Where are they getting their view of the world from? Whose morale views are they really getting?

I stopped being an employee returned to being self employed as a craftsman at far lower income so I could be around my children and raise them, money was always extremely tight but better than a stranger raising my children.

Priorities, you need to decide what you're are and what is best for you.

My way isn't for everyone and if it was the world would be boring.

Diversity is way better.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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