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'Don't blame women': Japan birth rate drive sparks online debate

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By Natsuko FUKUE

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"...Experts believe the declining birth rate is a complex problem with numerous roots."

Raise the salaries for everyone.

Free child care for everyone.

Create childcare in the workplace.

Things like that.

Is not such a difficult thing to fix.

14 ( +36 / -22 )

This issue will fall on deaf ears for as long as men run the country and women are considered subservient. I can't see that changing in a hundred years. I sometimes wonder if it's not genetic.

6 ( +32 / -26 )

Two very positive aspects of Japan's low birthrate: it will bring Japan's population more in line with sustainability (upon which, likely, the birthrate will approach replacement); and it will by necessity advance women's role in business and politics.

Gains will be incremental and medium-term but are already being felt.

4 ( +21 / -17 )

"my way of life is also OK".

And yet some JT commenters would have us believe that women in Japan simply want to be stay-at-home housewives and mothers.

Go for it, women, stand up for yourselves against the dinosaurs who will blame women for everything.

1 ( +27 / -26 )

It's neither the women nor the men's fault. Has nothing to do with values or gender or whatever you want to blame it on because one thing worked at one point in time or another.

Some point to economics, arguing the country's long-stagnant growth discourages couples from having babies.

There lies the problem.

7 ( +21 / -14 )

No, not there. It's actually quite opposite, look at the birth rate in poor countries - it's always higher than in developed ones. Money is not a factor, if someone wants to have children they will have regardless of the income.

Many women do not want to start a family simply because they feel they will have to choose between work/career on the one hand and children/husband on the second one. And that is due to 1. male oriented society with uncooperative husbands unwilling to share chores and child care, and 2. inflexible and kind of hostile work environment for those ambitious women who want to get promoted and be successful. Seems like you can't have both in Japan if you're a lady.

SDCAToday  04:30 pm JST

It's neither the women nor the men's fault. Has nothing to do with values or gender or whatever you want to blame it on because one thing worked at one point in time or another.

Some point to economics, arguing the country's long-stagnant growth discourages couples from having babies.

There lies the problem.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

There is free daycare so that is not an issue.

Here are the issues A. low-income B. cram schools and the stress of getting a child into one and where public high schools are free, but you need to take an entrance test that must be done away with.

The biggest one, when the father gets tired of his wife and kids just packs up and leaves the wife and her family holding the financial fallout. Yes, the Court may award child support, but the woman is lucky if it is 50 thousand yen a month for 2 children that is when the man is making 60 thousand dollars a year. Oh, if the man changes jobs, and he chooses not to pay, and the wife doesn't know where he is working it is up to her figure that one out and if she cannot no money for the kiddos because they don't seize passports and or jail deadbeat fathers. It is happening more and more in this country and woman does not want to be left holding the financial bag of raising children.

So, I don't ever see the childbirth rising in this country until laws of protecting mothers and children are put in place.

4 ( +19 / -15 )

Neither in history of mankind nor currently in countries with the highest birth rates you’ll find something like sharing household work, career women or a highly developed and booming economy or people having any money for things that lure them out of the bed like smartphone gaming , leisure activities or traveling here and there. No, for hundreds of thousands of years the men went out on hunting, the women cared about home and children and when the men returned there wasn’t anything interesting other than immediately make the next babies. Yes, that sounds extreme and isn’t transferable to our modern times and society, but still it gives you hints and something to think about and error correcting.

-10 ( +11 / -21 )

@Lola

Good point!

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

@justasking

Couldn't have said it better. Let's reform the expensive undermining educational system once and for all! Cram schools are just the worst!

6 ( +16 / -10 )

I think that comparing poor countries with richer countries on this topic is quite useless, as way of thinking is totally different in both cases. You don't make same decisions, take same habits, etc...

The role gender issue is real and some men need to man up and be responsible when they decide to: (1) be a father (2) be a partner. Not in Japan, but in any country.

Japan has issues with social skills, role gender and income. Money is an issue, but just a part of it.

Country can help with the following:

maternity/paternity leave: make them real and nos just fee days. Most companies will not respect them and most employees will be afraid of taking them due reject from boss/coworkers.

regarding social skills, I am quite in a loss of how to improve this.
6 ( +11 / -5 )

at this moment in time, what’s in it for women in this country to get married and start a family?  

you lose:

-any free time activities you may have once enjoyed (sorry, you are now required to be 24/7 focused on your family). but family fun time travel! umm...how does the in-laws every Obon and New Year sound?

-career aspirations. if the company you work at hadn’t already been quietly planning for you to leave, once you get married, the countdown starts

-money, equal pay for equal work, see above. you probably outperform or at least match your male coworkers but…y’know

-career advancement, see above

-agency, you are no longer a person you are “mom” or maybe Mrs. ___ . Enjoy the PTA ! (oh, that’s your job too). 

-your name. see above. as an aside, a friend of mine (NJ) got married to a local. spouse’s family name was one of the most common in Japan so they went with hers as it was more unique. the flak they took for “forcing” him to change his name and her being “selfish” was something to see. funny it’s never the other way around

-time, everything is on you even if you still keep working. housework? - you, cooking? - you, kids homework? - you, which means you are the hook for anything that goes wrong - kids/husband too fat/thin? - you, grades not good enough? - you, house not clean enough? - you, etc., etc. You DO get a bunch of flowers every Mother’s Day though. Oh, housing/education is pricey so you need to keep working, too.  

It’s no picnic for young men either but given they seem to prioritize someone to “take care of them” as it’s a bit weird to be living at home with mom after some point, sympathy is a bit on the short side. young women grow up watching their mother running on empty constantly. it’s no wonder, no matter how much they may want to start a family they’re weighing things up and opting out.

Years ago I remember an anecdote, European guy asks Japanese guy to explain “ikeman”, Japanese guy explains it's a special word that describes a man who helps out at home, with childcare, takes care of his family, etc. European guy takes a beat then says “you mean a father?”

Get the balance closer to 50-50, reduce education and cost of living and maybe there’ll be a slight change but I wouldn’t hold my breath, feels like far too little, far too late.

*to forestall the “enjoy dying alone” crowd, if you’re having kids so they can take care of you when you’re old (a) who’s being selfish? (b) get ready for a shock.

14 ( +24 / -10 )

It has the world's second-oldest population after Monaco, and its relatively strict immigration rules mean it faces growing labor shortages.

I wonder how strict these immigration rules really are. I've lived in Tokyo for decades and the number of people from other Asian countries in my neighborhood has dramatically increased in recent years.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

They have a system in Japan where opportunities for ambitious women are not easily attainable, the life of the average salary man is grim and the life of the child in a cycle of juku and bukkatsu is grim. What is the motivation to continue the cycle?

2 ( +11 / -9 )

If your born in the 90’s you have experience the worst 3 preforming decades of economy decline since the 50,s also the level of work satisfaction has declined to it lowest ever. I say 80% of working population dislike beholding to a company that has never got wage rises in the 20 years. The majority of population see the next few decades getting worse. With all this negativity toward lifestyle that constantly intrudes by companies demanding loyalties first and lifestyle a long second. You would have to be insane to even think of starting a family. They ( the string puller know this ) only care about tomorrow margin then the future of Japan as a nation if they did ( and not that they haven’t known this) Japan would have no worries. It a culture that companies have design to achieve mega profit without sharing with the nation instead they have invested overseas. So the only blame for this is Japanese corporate culture

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Raise the salaries for everyone.

And watch inflation go through the roof!!!

Free child care for everyone.

Possible, BUT with an aging society, social welfare money is already stretched thin, and there is no accountability for the money already supposedly set aside for exactly this purpose.

Create childcare in the workplace.

Who foots the bill? You expect every workplace to offer this? Who is going to watch the kids? With a current shortage of properly licensed and qualified workers as it is, you are opening a can of worms, no one wants to deal with. "Oh you can work late! We got you covered on daycare!"

Things like that.

Is not such a difficult thing to fix.

Once again, easy to say, but extremely hard to do!

Better yet, lower the expectations of what the population level should be. Japan doesnt need 120,000,000 people crammed together into one or two megapolises.

The only reason the government WANTS to is because it wants to maintain the tax base! It's about money and pride.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

It takes two to make a baby. Many women are choosing to stay single because they don’t want to marry an abusive child.

-2 ( +14 / -16 )

Families are the building blocks of society, and a family begins with the married union of a man and a woman. If increased birth rates are desired, strengthen marriage in society. Certainly do not adopt failed policies, such as no-fault divorce and marriage deconstructionism, of other G7 nations.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

Laguna: "Two very positive aspects of Japan's low birthrate: it will bring Japan's population more in line with sustainability (upon which, likely, the birthrate will approach replacement); and it will by necessity advance women's role in business and politics."

Latter, yes, although it depends on the former, which is absolutely NOT a plus. I mean, on paper, the idea of having less people in a nation with the world's highest population density makes you want to say OF COURSE it would be great not to cram onto a train during rush hour, or have more food to go around. Thing is, you run the very real risk of losing both. Without a growing population to sustain the aging one, this nation is toast. Sustainability won't be possible.

And darn tootin' the women are not to blame. In fact, I would never have children in this day and age anywhere, and especially not here. It's safe, for sure, compared to most places, and education and health care are decent, but as it stands every child born here is born into... what is it? eight million yen in debt? And they are going to have to work themselves to death, with no retirement or pension, to keep the masses of elderly and the nation going. The costs are also phenomenal, with no free child care, no parental leave (even though they claim there is it is not that easy), and soaring costs in general. No thanks. And that's not my fault, and not the fault of anyone who chooses not to have kids for the same or other reasons, and it is most certainly not the fault of people who could not, for whatever reason.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Maybe a minor point, but another reason people might not be so keen to start families in Japanese cities, something my Japanese wife pointed out an I’m inclined to agree, there are quite a lot of people in Japan that are intolerant of families and children. Small children especially do things like make a noise and goof around and so on.

A while back my mum was in Japan to see her grandchildren she hadn’t seen for three years because of the nonsense border restrictions. We got on a train and we’re told we couldn’t turn the chairs around so we could all sit together, apparently to prevent spread of coronavirus (what?!), then my daughter was laughing as she was playing peekaboo with her grandma sitting in the row of seats behind her, only for some grumpy Japanese bloke to come along and sternly complain to them that it was “meiwaku”. Yep, the sound of children laughing is such a nuisance to some of the miserable freaks that inhabit this country. They’ll be complaining about the birds singing in the trees next!

5 ( +16 / -11 )

Yes and no.

Yes because it's true the world run like that for centuries.

No because if you look at the human history, not much has changed between its inception until, say, beginning of the 20th century in terms of how much women had to say. Before then women were completely dependent on men, both financially and in terms of social standing. In most instances they were not even entitled to inheritance. Since mid 20th century it's a completely different story. Independence and a possibility to control child birth through medicine were a game changer, and so now for them to have kids they need to actually, consciously want to have them. Therefore yes, career opportunities, economical satiation, partnership in the relationship are the core factors.

Sven AsaiToday  05:00 pm JST

Neither in history of mankind nor currently in countries with the highest birth rates you’ll find something like sharing household work, career women or a highly developed and booming economy or people having any money for things that lure them out of the bed like smartphone gaming , leisure activities or traveling here and there. No, for hundreds of thousands of years the men went out on hunting, the women cared about home and children and when the men returned there wasn’t anything interesting other than immediately make the next babies. Yes, that sounds extreme and isn’t transferable to our modern times and society, but still it gives you hints and something to think about and error correcting.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

We all make choices, rightly or wrongly, and yes shellfish independence can play a part front center.

There are two distinctive political paths.

Women are from Venus, Men are from mars.

I suggest it could be that simple.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

It's great that these childless women keep telling themselves that they are okay with their lives.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

Roxy, they are,no different than from those in loveless relationship

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

A declining birthrate is excellent news in an already grossly over -populated country and indeed, world.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

The birthrate dropped below replacement in Japan in 1973 and has been there ever since. Look it up. It is what society chose. Society began encouraging women to choose to priortise their careers. Of course they are welcome to do this, but just don't complain about the lack of have children, or how women are unable to find a suiltable partner when they reach the magic number of 30 and suddenly decide it's time.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

back in the old days 40 or 50 more years ago having kids was simple, easy, uncomplicated, and most of all pleasant.

Families have kids on an average of 3 to 4 per couple without thinking much about the long term impact because they lived in large homes near relatives and everyone helped.

Now you need an act of God to even consider having one, all the laws and rules, all the complicated forms and apps you need to fill our, and all the cash you need to support them. it NOT that women or couple don't to have them it the society we live in that made it almost impossible to live a SIMPLE LIFE.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

What is a sustainable population for Japan? It has been estimated that the number is about 80 million. Since that has been passed, Japan will have to find reasonable ways to manage while the population declines. If more labor is needed, then enlist healthy seniors and more women who may wish to join the workforce at a fair wage after taking care of their children.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I live in the countryside, and one of my observations of country life is that people have kids because they can afford to fee and house them. I think the main reason for not having kids when living in the metropolitan area is cost particularly the cost of housing, the cost of an extra room. This is severely aggravated if the wife has to give up her job to look after a child. If the second child is not the same sex as the first, yet another room will be required. Of course, there is no guarantee the second child will be the same sex as the first, so most don't take the risk of a second.

How does the monthly rent of a three bedroom mansion compare with the average family's income?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

You need to fix the misogyny inherent in the culture and society of Japan. Not going to happen with men in charge.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

If women can be blamed, then Japanese men can be blamed too, for not having any game.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

It’s totally OK for women to not have children. We all just need to plan on retiring at 85 years old as there will be no pension money.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Living in a traditionalist nation run by men. Governments have wrecked the global economy and are planning a new Cold War and WW III. Lots of rapey men out there. Limited childcare due to cost and immigration blocks. Childbirth plays havoc with your body. Wives default to carers of children and then elderly in-laws. Plus, in Taliban-controlled US states, no control over your bodies if you get pregnant. Unsurprising that women are avoiding men, marriage and motherhood in developed countries. If I was female, I certainly would.

Fixing one aspect of all that, even if the government was able to, is unlikely to be enough. The tipping point has been passed.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

It is mainly a financial issue here in Tokyo area. My neighbours and I all have children, but no one has three kids because we cannot afford it and don't have space. Education costs a fortune, the pension system is unstable and life employment no longer exists. There are so many things that could be done, but nothing sensible is done. How about some of:

Make childbirth free and the money from ward offices additional for parents.

Make all healthcare free until the age of 18.

Guarantee free quality state education until age 18 for 2nd and 3rd children. Cram schools are a racket that scam working families. Make them illegal. Schools can charge 200,00 yen or more for a basic uniform! Shut down these scams that fleece families and they may have more kids.

Cut the university courses to 3 years from 4, as in the U.K. Have all the kids earning in the workforce a year earlier instead of adding to swelling college debt. No one needs a 4 year undergraduate course.

Pay mums full salaries for 18 months of maternity leave and 100% enforce their return to work on the same salaries at the same positions when they return, with massive penalties for any company that doesn't do this.

Make the schools run on fixed normal schedules that we can easily work around. The current system is pathetic. School from 08:30-08:50am one day, then closed for a test, and then running on a Saturday suddenly. UK schools could run to regular daily and weekly schedules. Why is this so impossible here?
10 ( +12 / -2 )

What kind of father asks for a grandchild on father's Day?

Selfish moron

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

It is a cultural thing. Most of our neighbours had 3 kids, some had 1 and many had none. Now that the kids are grown up, the ones that had siblings are getting married and having kids. The ones without siblings are busy dedicating their lives to trying to make their grandparents feel proud.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@nihon tora

Spot on. There are too many intolerant of children types in Japan. I've encountered similar situations here recently.

Miserable ojisan everywhere.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I'd like to put another spin upon this one... since it's an issue that is arising elsewhere in the World, not just Japan.

Having Kids is a big Hassle, and stops you enjoying Life.

Now, where does that idea come from ?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@TokyoOldMan Dressing up as a princess, colouring with my kids and going on long family hikes and bikes, was very enjoyable. Much more enjoyable than spending my money on fashion and fancy restaurants.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Michael MachidaToday  04:22 pm JST

"...Experts believe the declining birth rate is a complex problem with numerous roots."

Raise the salaries for everyone.

Free child care for everyone. 

Create childcare in the workplace. 

Things like that. 

*I*s not such a difficult thing to fix.

No matter how much money, you perks you throw at this problem the fertility rate will not return to 2.1.

The government, et al, say we can have it all. Work, we can have Careers and have a family. But they forget we are only working to pay more tax to pay the debt. Then we are too tired from work, too tired from doing housework, and other things to have a third child. A child is FULL-time work. And work is FULL-time. So how can we have two full-time jobs at the same time? and then women want to have smaller a family because they want to have more experiences, and fun, with their kids. No, point in having more kids if you are financially worse off. Since life expectancy is improving, women can control their own fertility, they are choosing to have a family, and then have a life after the kids have grown up. Asking them to have more kids, especially if they are older, well that's not a good proposition for most women. If you want a big family they will choose too. I think women don't want to be preached at by MALE politicians. The pill, has given women more control.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Having a child, like most aspects of life is an investment, a pretty big one at that. You can either influence the perceived cost (economic growth, monetary policy, maternity leave) or value (culturally, maternity leave) over time, both of which I don't see any meaningful short-term policies having any immediate impact.

And seeing how long the birth rate has been said to be low, and how much action has been actually been done the past years? Not hopeful

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Here is one way.

Immigration. Allow those on trainee technical visas to marry in Japan. That increases the population by 2.

Hopefully, they will have a couple of kids. So that's another 2.

4 in total. Allow this to happen to about 2 or 3 million immigrants and the population has increased, creating new tax payers, and new consumers. But we know the JP gov. Doesn't like that option.

When the generation that grows old only has one child....who will look after the parents? especially if that one child has a family of their own.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

As to the "don't blame women" thing, having a child is a decision made by couples, not individuals. While possible, I don't think they are thinking of relying on that side of the equation interms of policy so it makes no sense.

And the discussion is fact and analytical based, not gender based.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@hampton

Wow, if only the politicians running this country thought like you. ACTUALLY coming up with solutions rather than running countless meetings discussing the same topic for decades and ending up nowhere.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It looks like the LDP is starting to panic at the prospect of Japan's extinction, but I'm afraid the usual strategy of throwing lots of yen at problems is unlikely to work in this case.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Most of the wife's female friends are unmarried, over 50, never had and don't want a husband nor children. Blame them? Can't really because I think I understand their feeling as we never wanted kids either. Personal choice for all involved.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

@proxy - I'm happy for you, and I hope yours grow up to be pillars of society, but a you suggested, yours are Girls, so they're not your problem when after being hitched up with some other guy later in life.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@TokyoOldMan

Not all of them are girls.

Our son is just transitioning from the age when girls all go for the wild boys for quick 1-night-stands to when they go for men who offer the prospect of a stable long term relationship.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

So @proxy - you're really saying, you are having the same problems that other Parents have elsewhere globally and that therefore Japan is not unique in this matter, which is what I pointed out originally !

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If you think women are "responsible" for not wanting to subject themselves to the utterly thankless job of doing practically all the household chores AND child rearing AND working on top of that, I'm sorry but: you are part of the problem. And that's not even mentioning maternity harassment.

And those very same traditional attitudes are what hurts fathers who try and challenge the status quo by involving themselves in childcare (ikumen). Break the vicious cycle and you will see a society more conducive to bringing up children.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Japan needs better sidewalks to have more kids

Try pushing a pram on the streets of Japan!

The camber on the sidewalks (when there are sidewalks) is hell on the arms

1 ( +3 / -2 )

A hundred years ago, Japan had a much higher birth rate than now.

Which is somewhat counter-intuitive, because 1. Families had much lower incomes at that time, and 2. Men were even less likely to assist with domestic chores and child-rearing than young people today.

So maybe the answer lies elsewhere, and we need to think out of the box..

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The government has been asleep for a very long time on this issue and it's now finally waking up to the cold reality. For too long the government has catered to its elderly population without giving any thought to the younger generation and the uphill challenges it faces in terms of buying homes, paying for their children's education, etc. . . . Oh, well. The writing is on the wall and it has been for quite some time now. Whacha gonna do about it?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A hundred years ago, Japan had a much higher birth rate than now.

Well the one big difference is contraceptive availability and understanding.... So can't turn back the hands of time unfortunately.

Put weirdly, if "having a child" were an "achievement", in the "game of life" then there's just alot more achievements available today than in the past.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

BobToday 03:45 am JST

There are only two factors in this:

Women being pushed into the work force, spending their time climbing the corporate ladder instead of birthing children.

The option of birth control, especially oral contraceptives which don't only decrease libido but also make it easy to avoid getting pregnant.

You can be as wealthy as you want, have as many benefits for children as you want, if those two are not addressed nothing will change. Look at Scandinavia, they have it very good for families with kids, yet the birth rate is utterly low. It's not a matter of wealth, in fact it never was.

Riiiiight. It has nothing to do with the fact that modern women want something more than to be a baby incubator, cook, and housekeeper. We should take away birth control and stop women from working. That way they will be all too eager to get pregnant and barefoot, just like their grandmothers, and be a slave to house and home. MUHAHAHA.....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

girl_in_tokyo

Riiiiight. It has nothing to do with the fact that modern women want something more than to be a baby incubator, cook, and housekeeper.....

Meanwhile modern men (and other genders) are also expected to be the above too (apart from the incubator part).

The future of the planet is a much smaller (and much, much older and lonely) population. Best prepare yourself both mentally and physically to be able to cope with this. It aint gonna to be pretty.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Spot on. There are too many intolerant of children types in Japan. I've encountered similar situations here recently.

Miserable ojisan everywhere.

The guy who complained about my daughter was actually quite young - in his 30's, something like that.

To be fair my earlier comment was probably a bit on the harsh side - there are plenty of people that are also very nice to children, but definitely there are more than a few busy-bodies who think they know best, complaining about kids not even behaving badly, just being kids.

Excellent comments by Hampton above - some genuinely realistic suggestions that could actually have a positive effect.

I would also add the following - people flocking from smaller towns and cities into Tokyo is a closely intertwined problem. Many comments mention the financial burden of having children - that is just amplified by living in an expensive city like Tokyo where most affordable accommodation is simply too small to accommodate families. I think a lot more could be done to address this problem - the government could start moving some of its departments outside of the capital - in the UK, for example, the Department of Health has a large headquarters in Leeds, the DVLA is located in Swansea etc. Also, there should be financial incentives for companies to locate outside of the capital (such as tax breaks for those that do, paid for by tax penalties for those that choose not to). It doesn't have to be inaka, there are dozens of regional capitals or smaller towns or cities all over Japan that have all the amenities that anybody could ever need right on the doorstep and they are much cheaper to live in than Tokyo. With the fantastic high speed rail network here, excellent online connectivity, there really is no need for many companies to be located in Tokyo.

I think even if all of these suggestions are put in place though, it still won't get the birth rate up to 2.1. We are just going to have to face up to the fact that an economic model whose success is predicated on eternal growth is just obviously fundamentally flawed. We are going to have to find a way in which the majority of people can live happy and reasonably prosperous lives even with a population that has plateaued, or even in decline. Those suggesting large-scale immigration as a solution - is it really fair on those developing nations for the wealthier nations to hoover up their people of productive age? What is that going to do to their economies? How are they supposed to develop economically if all of their young talent are being brain-drained off into richer nations?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

For all the traditionalists here: it's never going back to how it was. Women are part of the paid labor force now, and capital will not let them go. Your idealized conception of the housewife, entirely devoted to unpaid domestic labor, while the husband joins the paid labor force, has largely been a blip on the historical record.

Rather, you must look to the future, and the most developed countries in how they handle child-rearing. There is genuine evidence, as shown in the works of Paul McDonald, Gøsta Esping-Andersen, Mary C. Brinton (who focuses on Japan by the way) that egalitarian households are the way forward. In developed countries, it is, on average, better that parents share domestic labor and work outside the home equally. From a moral perspective it means women are no longer relegated to 2nd-class citizens who must be chained to the household and be financially dependent on their husbands. And from a practical perspective, there is genuine evidence that it stimulates fertility.

Does this mean that there are not also financial and other practical reasons that people don't have children? Of course not. Finances and access to child care facilities are also very important. You just musn't disregard the prominence of gender roles on the issue.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Foreign men: "Hold my beer.........."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

lostrune2:

Foreign men:  "Hold my beer.........."

Amen brother.

Unfortunately for the birthrate though, all the American dudes I know who are married to Japanese women and had kids (myself included) done stole their war skootches out of Japan altogether.

The average Johnny NoGame Japanese dude doesn't seem to be stepping up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese women are intelligent: they grow up observing the miserable working lives of the men in their lives and naturally don't want any part of it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

^^^ then they look at how hard their mothers had it and don't want any part of that, either

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Of course, the more education a woman receives, the fewer children she has ...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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