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kuchikomi

No romance to show for Y6 bil in gov't outlays

28 Comments

The recently released government White Paper on Birthrate-declining Society for 2015 touched on the younger generation's worrisome attitudes toward romance and marriage. The sad reality conveyed therein, reports Nikkan Gendai (June 24), is that the less money a person has, the less interest, or expectations, he or she has in terms of prospects for either love or romance.

The latest survey, which targeted 7,000 people between the ages of 20 and 39 years of age from all around the country, found that 28.8% of unmarried respondents said they did not have a romantic partner. Among this group, 37.6% said that they did not want such a partner, and what's more, 50.3% said they had no prior experience of having a steady partner.

This decline had already been in evidence for several years, and the government, doing what it does best, decided to throw money at the problem. In fiscal 2013, discretionary budgets of 60 million yen were allocated to Japan's 47 prefectures. In addition, designated metropolises, core cities and areas were eligible for 20 million yen and smaller administrative units, such as wards, towns or villages, could receive up to 8 million yen. These funds were to be put to use for such activities as holding various events aimed at helping young singles get together.

"During fiscal 2013, these funds were disbursed to all of the prefectures and a total of 244 administrative areas," said a person attached to the Cabinet office responsible for dealing with the declining birthrate. "In the revised budget for fiscal 2014, the same figure -- 3.01 billion yen -- was also allocated."

In 2014, the previous year's budgets were upped to 75 million, 25 million and 10 million yen, respectively.

Meanwhile, the survey responses to the White Paper suggested a strong correlation between low income and disinterest in wooing the opposite sex, with 37.5% of males earning 4 million yen or less per year, and 46.5% of females earning less than 2 million yen per year telling the pollsters they had no particular desire for a romantic partner. Which makes one wonder where all that money was being spent.

"Civil servants have got some really dumb ideas," remarked Hiroko Ogiwara, an economic journalist. "Rather than blaming the problem on the few opportunities for members of the opposite sex to get together, they should be looking at peoples' shying away from marriages due to economic problems or anxieties over their future.

"Look at France, which has taken such measures as recognizing children born out of wedlock," Ogiwara continues. "It provides generous support for families with single mothers. They've arranged for these kids to receive free education and expanded assistance for child support, with the result that France has been successful in effecting a recovery in its birth rate.

"In Japan, on the other hand, it's come to the point that children are perceived as a burden and having them is a hardship. And while the Diet passes new legislation like the revised worker dispatch law -- which further tightens the noose around workers' necks -- also see it flinging money at measures to deal with the low birthrate.

"The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing."

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
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It beggars belief that the most unimaginative bureaucrats have been allocated budgets for this. It is an open invitation to fritter it away. And the more resources Japan allocates to unimaginative solutions to population decline the less there are for kids and this leads to more decline.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

“Civil servants have got some really dumb ideas,” remarked Hiroko Ogiwara, an economic journalist. “Rather than blaming the problem on the few opportunities for members of the opposite sex to get together, they should be looking at peoples’ shying away from marriages due to economic problems or anxieties over their future.

Civil servants are misnamed here, they "serve" no one other than themselves and get hired not for what they can do but for their ability to pass a test, which is no guarantee of having any actual brains.

Look at France, which has taken such measures as recognizing children born out of wedlock,” Ogiwara continues. “It provides generous support for families with single mothers. They’ve arranged for these kids to receive free education and expanded assistance for child support, with the result that France has been successful in effecting a recovery in its birth rate.

Look at the Scandinavian countries too. The problem is Japan has such archaic laws regarding citizenship, plus the seemingly ingrained belief that Japanese are "special" .

Instead of spending so much money on useless surveys that just tell everyone what everyone already knows, how about educating people better in social skills and quit separating the boys and girls from a young age and teach them the importance of equality between the sexes.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Not enough people surveyed, so invalid.

-3 ( +3 / -7 )

One would think that these "civil servants" should only have to look in the mirror at themselves to figure it out. If they are single, ask themselves why they are and you will probably come up with the same answers that these so called surveys came up with. If they are married, you mean that they can't look at their working conditions and see long hours, increased taxes and the other reasons people say that they have put off marriage and starting a family isn't obvious to them?

Not too many bright people, or these are the ones in this department who didn't test well but still got a job simply by going to the right schools.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There's a reason so many people are unmarried: They're undesirable. On a typical day when I'm riding the trains in Tokyo, I see a bunch of overworked, pale-skin, skinny guys who look like they've smoked a few too may cigarettes and have been reading way too much manga. The gals are no better. For every hot "princess" sporting LV or wearing a short skirt, there are at least 10 others who lack any appeal whatsoever with their lack of fashion sense, lack of intelligence, or quite simply, lack of meat. Put these two types in a room together, and what you have are the guys thinking, "I'd be better off worshiping one of those AKB idols," and the females thinking, "I'd be better off sticking to my Korean dramas." And both groups think, "The Internet has a lot more to offer up than real life."

16 ( +22 / -6 )

Civil servants have got some really dumb ideas,”

Quote of the century. Right there is the answer for most of the malaise Japan finds itself in. When did 60 year old oyajis know how to solve young people,s relationship ( or any other for that matter ) issues, ever.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Japan's birth rate as I have predicted is likely to head further south of its already low rate, I wouldn't be surprised to see it hit an average of 1birth per woman or even less at the rate things are going.

Japans population decline predictions like so many I think are WILDLY optimistic.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

6 billion yen is about 50 million US dollars. For a country of 126 million people and a demographic problem of this magnitude and importance to the future of the country, that is ludicrously small amount, even if we were to assume the money was being wisely spent (the article implies that it isnt but it doesnt actually provide any examples of ways in which the money is being mis-spent).

My city`s child support policy consists of free vaccinations (some of them at least), a 15,000 Yen per month child allowance and some ongoing consultation services provided a the ward office. This is probably funded from a different source than the fund mentioned in the article (which is geared towards supporting marriage rather than child bearing, but the two are obviously related).

While I can`t complain about that, compared to the economic cost of having a child it is only a drop in the bucket. Raising a child is a full time job so, given the lack of child care facilities, one of you basically has to forego employment until the child enters school.

This wouldnt necessarily be a problem but for the fact that the economy today doesnt exactly offer young people many jobs that pay enough to support a family with a single income. So when faced with the question of living in poverty/going into debt to have a kid or forego having children just to keep your heads above water, its not surprising that a lot of people are choosing the latter. I am fortunate to make enough that we dont have to worry about that, but most people in their 20s or 30s arent so lucky.

The same thinking seems to deter people from getting married. Unless you can find a partner who happens to make enough to support a family on their income alone (maybe 10-20% of people under 40 fall into this category?) its pretty hard to make sense of it.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The government really needs to stop playing around with the survey and really makes laws. No more encouraging or passing the buck to other people.

Enforcing a limit on overtime hours by creating a GOVERNMENT SET overtime pay-rate with exponential figures that force the company to have employees to leave on-time. With outrageously set fines for braking the law. Which they are already doing..

Forcing employees to take their all their paid holiday days with set fines if disobeyed.

It all sounds crazy but I really need people to make some babies... otherwise I'm not gonna going to get a pension.. I'm tired of digging graves for all the old people that couldn't create a stable society for future generations to live in.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Probably the worst way to encourage young people to get frisky would be a government organised party.

Proper physics disco.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ogiwara nailed it.

What Jellois said as well. I'd add that instead of spending money on the military and pork-barrel construction projects (e.g. 2020), they should be using that money to facilitate the society they claim they want.

This means taking every dime wasted on that stupid stadium and start building daycare centers. And this means, in addition to enforcing OT and paid leave "laws" for all workers, that they get serious about promoting and paying women what they deserve. Foreigners never being an option, you have no choice but to drag those knuckle-dragging misogynistic oyaji-s into the 21st century.

Or simply wait a 100 years or so until the next Jared Diamond adds a new chapter titled "Japan" to a reissued version of Collapse.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

28.8% of unmarried respondents said they did not have a romantic partner.

In other words, 71.2% of unmarried respondents have a romantic partner.

Among this group, 37.6% said that they did not want such a partner,

In other words, 28.8% * 37.6%=10% of the unmarried respondents do not want a romantic partner.

Is this surprising? Government White Paper makes a news out of nothing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In a society where fashion dictates that females dress as revealingly as possible from an early age, but thinks women should be chaste princesses, this is no surprise.

Men are supposed to be emotionless machines who are devoted to work, not family. In fact many people nowadays will never have seen an affectionate moment at home or outside.

Kids are put on a regimen of club activities and cram school, and left no unsupervised time to spend with kids of the opposite sex.

A nation where the only discos are few in number, and in large cities.

Address those problems.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

These funds were to be put to use for such activities as holding various events aimed at helping young singles get together.

Wait, are you telling me that the government is wasting tax payers money to organize giant gokons?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In a society where fashion dictates that females dress as revealingly as possible from an early age, but thinks women should be chaste princesses, this is no surprise.

Japan? That first part is not true at all.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan? That first part is not true at all.

Are you kidding??! Yes it absolutely IS true!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Star-viking. Great post, especially about how those emotionless machines displaying no affection.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

NathalieB: I'm talking mainly about the 'as revealingly as possible' part. That's absolutely not true for Japan. The vast majority of girls/women cover the hell up at all times. People strolling around (at daytime) in really revealing clothing are usually foreigners, not young Japanese girls.

The 'everyone expects chaste princesses part' is debatable too actually. Maybe the 40-year old virgin males who are super into idols or whatever think like that. I think most adult males would accept non-'chaste' women with no problems. There's a big difference between 'has had experiences' and 'sleeps around' and many western males would also have a issue with the latter.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

When you are working 6 days a week with overtime, who has time to get together with the opposite sex. Just having a little more leisure time would work wonders.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

To me it is about a dysfunctional society... one that is rooted in the past and is unwilling to change and adapt to present times. Too many Japanese children grew up in the 80's and 90's watching their parents lead separate lives under one household... all the while these children watched and read about families that spent time together. They are disillusioned and lost. In addition the girls saw their mother live in too many marriages where the father was never there. Who would want that. Not to mention the pressures of culture and society to outdo and get better test scores than their neighbor. Expectations are too high.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My kind of humor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is where your tax dollars go.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Meanwhile, the survey responses to the White Paper suggested a strong correlation between low income and disinterest in wooing the opposite sex, with 37.5% of males earning 4 million yen or less per year, and 46.5% of females earning less than 2 million yen per year telling the pollsters they had no particular desire for a romantic partner. Which makes one wonder where all that money was being spent.

I don't know where they are getting their "low income" numbers from, and the economic situation could well be much worse than this. A previous study mention in the CNBC article "Loving's not easy on Japan's biggest date night" said

According to the Institute's (Meiji Yasuda Institute of Life and Wellness) latest survey, the majority of Japanese women want potential partners to earn at least 4 million yen, around $33,728, but only 26.7 percent of men in their thirties meet that criteria; the number more than halves for men in their twenties.

Non-age-related averages for salary and household income in Japan are heavily distorted by older workers getting high salaries in seishain positions that are no longer offered to new workers. The same happens in local government where you get a mix of older people who are well paid and unsackable working alongside younger hiseiki people doing the same work on temporary contracts with no benefits and no age-related pay increases to come. In many cases, it is the hiseiki people threatened with not being kept on who work the hardest.

For those who don't know, the average income across all ages in Japan is at the 70% percentile, which means that two out of three workers get less.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“Civil servants have got some really dumb ideas,” remarked Hiroko Ogiwara,

Well, they are paid to do something.

Rather than blame the civil servants, who at least are doing as they are instructed, I suggest we blame the people instructing them. And that is the dopey politicians, who are consistently voted in by the dopey voters.

If the voters want change, the appropriate action to take should be to vote for politicians who are going to clamp down on out of control government spending.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

DiscoJ,

I'm talking mainly about the 'as revealingly as possible' part. That's absolutely not true for Japan. The vast majority of girls/women cover the hell up at all times. People strolling around (at daytime) in really revealing clothing are usually foreigners, not young Japanese girls.

Well, maybe it's a Tohoku thing, but my opinion has been formed from seeing elementary school girls in things like frilly mini-skirts, hot pants, and one even had a removable butterfly tattoo on her upper thigh! JHS girls can be even more revealing - I once saw one of my students at a local shopping center, and she was showing more stomach than a belly dancer!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"the less money a person has, the less interest, or expectations, he or she has in terms of prospects for either love or romance."

I informed my company of this, and yet my salary has still not increased. They just have no concern at all for my love life!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The government needs to reward couples better incentives for having children, and make child care available so that both parents can work. The government should also give single mothers better benefits and treat them as mothers instead of a loser!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am French, and I am romantic man when flirting. I always hated seducing thanks to money power (I would feel like woman is an object I buy). Women want "men" and most would be happy to spend a whole day with me , except I am married so too late. Money requirements is a social burden to make oyaji richer. Most Japenese people are accepting, it is their fault, because they imagine that to live without new clothes and latest keitai is impossible. Just have sex, raise your family because you want it, and forget work when family or friends need you. But Japan society controls you. Not me fortunately (I can t speak and give details because I am still working here in Japanese company sorry, real freedom of speach not allowed here). Or leave your country and come to Europe ! I'll give the stories early next year, be patient ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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