national

Record low number of pregnancies reported in Japan in 2020

100 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

100 Comments
Login to comment

Edging closer to the inevitable extinction of the Japanese ethnic group (no, Japanese is not a 'race' despite what they may say in Japan).

There are only two options, more immigrants marrying Japanese or a sudden increase in the fertility rate.

I can't see either of these happening, can you?

10 ( +28 / -18 )

Japan is way below the replacement fertility rate required just to maintain a population, let alone increase it. At current projections it'll be less than 20 million by 2100. Could the last one please turn off the lights? (Or start having babies!)

5 ( +16 / -11 )

The projected fall in births in 2021 is likely the result of the tough employment situation amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and a reluctance for women to travel to their parents' home to give birth, as is tradition in Japan.

Or less sex in a pandemic.

https://www.mdlinx.com/article/sex-another-casualty-of-the-pandemic/1NZpJ6Nkr8BvHOOXKp7kJ8

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Start asking babies is so old fashioned and disrespectful to women.

It is a womens equality and freedom of choice.

Japan is not the only country in the world with birth rate decrease. It is globally in many economical countries.

Modern society is expensive that both partners need to work for income stability, economic opportunity and national, international crisis.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

What is building up is the annihilation of the economy. No workforce means less creativity, less construction, less maintenance, less everything.

It thus means for sure a drop in collectable taxes for the gov, in retirement pension, in opportunities. More burden for the youth.

I would immigrate if I was a young Japanese. No way I can live in grandpa grandma world where adult diapers are the standard.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

The projected fall in births in 2021 is likely the result of the tough employment situation amid the novel coronavirus pandemic

employment situation sucked before the virus it just sucks more now as the availability of low paying temporary jobs has shrunken

and a reluctance for women to travel to their parents' home to give birth, as is tradition in Japan.

Really, that’s hardly what a perspective parent would factor into their decision to have a child, I would imagine.

Blaming it on the virus? What do you then blame the previous 20 decades of decline on?

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Albert Start asking babies is so old fashioned and disrespectful to women.

It is a womens equality and freedom of choice.

Absolutely, but this is a backwards nation with no social advancement on gender equality. Old people control this place, it will be many years before we see any improvement with the views on women here.

9 ( +19 / -10 )

Having fewer babies is good for the planet.

7 ( +20 / -13 )

Hopefully a rebound will occur next year as more young people are able to get out and date.

The low birthrate is a national security issue for Japan, given the regional threat that China poses.

-18 ( +7 / -25 )

I read a written piece in 2011 titled "Japanese give up on love". This was 10 years ago....and look at what we are reading now!

21 ( +23 / -2 )

would immigrate if I was a young Japanese. No way I can live in grandpa grandma world where adult diapers are the standard.

I can never look at an old person the same when I see them in the store! LOL!

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Don’t worry, the government can give Dentsu some money to hold meetings and write a report, then all women will get pregnant and glorious Japan will become glorious-er.

Right? That’s all that’s needed, isn’t it? We don’t actually need to do anything, do we?

16 ( +18 / -2 )

The ministry said the number of pregnancies has continued to decline into 2021, with the number dropping 7.1 percent in January from the year before to 76,985.

They already know about this but still there is nothing they will do

9 ( +11 / -2 )

In 2016 Japan became the first country in the world to sell more adult diapers than those for babies. There are both advantages and problems for a shrinking population. The countryside will become a depopulated wasteland as people move to the cities as an increased rate. Technology and AI will replace many of the jobs, and if Japan is smart, a big if, women will be encouraged to stay in the workforce.

Sadly in the land where tradition often trumps common sense, the government will waste billions trying to support the regions in decline. Schools with a handful of students will be kept open, expensive construction projects with little benefit will be undertaken.

Interesting times ahead for Japan.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Less kids year be year leads inevitably to less future pregnancies. Unless every couple has 2-3 babies, it can only keep decreasing

9 ( +10 / -1 )

When the world is overfilled with human, bent on destroying their host planet, in full awareness, why are people so concerned with low birthrates and population declines? Rather, these should be celebrated, especially in places with a huge ecological footprint.

For Japan, the overshoot day for 2021 is estimated to be May 6th. This means that people in Japan (including non-Japanese) will have used up their proportion of world resources at that time, based on sustainability limits. Of course, the world's population now uses much more than the yearly sustainable amount, which means we are borrowing heavily from the future, especially in the advanced industrial nations.

https://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/country-overshoot-days/

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Soaring social security spending to cover pensions and medical care for the elderly weighs heavily on the world's third-largest economy's budget.

Yet we'll spend gazzillion $$ to buy arms !!! Indeed, a peaceful neighborhood is a prosperous one too.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Absolutely, but this is a backwards nation with no social advancement on gender equality. Old people control this place

Absolutely right.

The low birthrate is a national security issue for Japan, given the regional threat that China poses.

Lol, you gotta be kidding, that's your concern , that low birthrate is a security issue against China ....such a compassionate view ...then women are just defense equipment manufacturers hey? .

They already know about this but still there is nothing they will do

As usual , kick the can down the road as they have for the last 20 + years , the only solutions LDP geriatrics in charge can come up is to set up " matchmaking services at a section in your local shiyakushoo.

Expect more test sucking....muzukashii naa....

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Edging closer to the inevitable extinction of the Japanese ethnic group (no, Japanese is not a 'race' despite what they may say in Japan).

There are only two options, more immigrants marrying Japanese or a sudden increase in the fertility rate.

I can't see either of these happening, can you?

exactly.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Japan again leads the world in the native wisdom of its People despite the idiocy of its leaders. Because the care of older, tired, energy drained workers is put upon the backs of younger workers rather than those parasites who sucked the workers' energies, there is concern among the parasites that the additional load might outrage the young and force the parasites to divert profits, the sin of all sins, to help support the used workers, even if only at a poverty level. What is missed by the parasites and anyone else who thinks population reduction is somehow a BAD thing is the Human population doubling time which is now circa 48-50 years. This is easily seem by checking World Pop,1919, World Pop.1969, World Pop.2019...World Pop.2069. We will never see that last one. We are well beyond maximum sustainable population now. The next number is just two generations will be 15 Billion Human mouths. We can cut per capita Carbon release but gross Carbon release will still increase. And food. Almost all of our food production is CLIMATE dependent...We are poisoning our potable water... Japan is doing what must be done throughout our World or our World will simply implode like a too long empty stomach in a stripped bare to the rocks world. This news should be celebrated rather than ignoring the global famine and nuclear war that will be planted firmly in our future if we do nothing to reduce the Human birthrate. At this time, there are hundreds of thousands of our fellow Humans trying to escape their parasite dominated, poverty mired Homelands and arriving on the shores of more fortunate countries trying to accommodate them. What do we do when there are BILLIONS? And given our ever more chaotic climate, it may be sooner rather than later...

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Interesting. Every developed country is having same problem:

The U.S. is on the brink of a baby bust.

https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/u-s-brink-baby-bust-gop-will-make-it-even-n1268586

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

The Fall of Japan. Will continue to decline.

Japan has a notion of not being able to see or deal with problems.

They pass bills in cabinet, and issue new policies but dont realize that those are just a piece of paper.

Will never understand or comprehend what really needs to be done.

Weather its increasing the economy and getting companies and people to spend, to increase birth rate, or to develop new technology. You need more than empty words. I say this quite often but Japan will decline for another 30 years or more.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Having fewer babies is good for the planet.

x2

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Interesting. Every developed country is having same problem:

Yeah. Maybe there is something to be said for 'selfishness'.

Or, look around at the research literature and you will learn that "Western' sperm, yep, sperm, are becoming nonfertile. So maybe the greatest irony will be that our own poisons will save us from complete doom.

And then there is the rather distant idea of 'quorum sensing', a facility of some organisms to know when they are at optimum density in their environment and quit reproducing en masse. These are usually microorganisms and, as we are learning daily, we may not be as smart as they are...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

When young men spend more time with adult toys and movies rather than trying to date the opposite sex, this is what happens. A recent survey showed that 39% of the people above 30 are still virgins in Japan. Get these people to start dating and you might get an explosion of babies.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

IMO, this isn't a Japan-only problem (but it certainly is more prominent) but a developed country problem. South Korea if I can remember right has the lowest birth rate in 2020, while China recently reported a slowdown in its birthrate in half a century. I think we are living in a not sustainable manner (jobs demand more from their workers but pay them less, prices shoot up, you get the picture). If this continues within the coming decades, we really might see people in these countries becoming an endangered species.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I wonder about the definition of "pregnancies" when it suggests the official pregnancies number of 872,227 would lead to perhaps fewer than 800,000 live births. According to Wiki, in 2001, 341,588 legal abortions were carried out in Japan, a 2.5 percent increase from 1998 to 2001. However, in 2007 the figure had decreased to around 256,000.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

And what did they expect?

With a country infamously known for it’ atrociously long working hours,no vacations,low payment compared to other developed countries,basically little to none social welfare and high cost of living.

This is the consequence.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Japan has a notion of not being able to see or deal with problems.

SO TRUE!!

And what did they expect?

With a country infamously known for it’ atrociously long working hours,no vacations,low payment compared to other developed countries,basically little to none social welfare and high cost of living.

This is the consequence.

exactly!

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The U.S. is on the brink of a baby bust."

US is irrelevant to this article and nowhere near the same situation due to its immigration policies that are like chalk and cheese comparing to Japan. On the other hand the other day there was an article published stating 50% of Japanese adults don,t have sex....now that on the other hand is quite relevant.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

@Bungle "Having fewer babies is good for the planet"

The developing world didn't get your memo.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Very rational. The social, legal and economic systems are designed to punish you for having children. Babies become a huge liability as opposed to an asset. The only benefit from kids is whatever intangible enjoyment you get from having a family. Abe-san had so many years to introduce bold family friendly policies, instead we got a 10% sales tax, laser focus on amending the constitution to prepare for war and Abemasks. From Suga-san we get corona Olympics and austerity budget. The only not so bad point is that Japan's neighbors are in the same boat.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

What I find most interesting about this is... what's the plan?

This is hardly surprising news as the trend has been ever decreasing for years now. What is the government doing about it? What specific policies are being considered, discussed, enacted etc. to mitigate a future with a significantly decreased population and workforce?

I know some local municipalities offer tax breaks for families building houses, and we've also had the introduction of free kindergarten education. We had a short lived increase in child allowance (which I think stopped a few years ago, or maybe it wasn't a permanent scheme). There have been a few other small ideas targeting families - but all these things clearly haven't worked because here we stand with a record low number of babies.

So, what is the plan?

This is clearly a huge problem and deserves a pretty radical forward thinking plan.

The main problem is that Japan doesn't really do radical forward thinking plans!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Great news, even with a declining birthrate, Japan (and the world) continues to be overpopulated. We could use far fewer children. Honestly, the single best thing an individual can do for the environment is not have kids.

The problem isn't people having fewer kids, the problem is an economic system predicated on constant and infinite population growth within finite resources. It is impossible for that to be sustained. The problem the government (and this isn't just Japan) needs to address is not how to get people to have kids, but how to implement more forward thinking economic models.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

and how many abortions?

in recent "happy" situation here its hard to plan anything further than next month as no one sure if will not loose job,how will pay all costs all time sky high...with zero support from government its hard to plan any family so its not surprise for me at all.

to grow kids in Japan now its pricey and not every family can afford pay for it...

there is one and only solution that government will start invest money in families and will share fairly costs for kids schooling etc.that government will start invest in future of this country finally.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Who wants to have a baby during a pandemic?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The birthrate has come right down in pretty much all countries outside of Africa. In most cases, this has greatly improved the lives of women.

I think a society with fewer young uns and weaker youth culture is a staid and boring one. Kids now grow up with fantastic tech to play with, but terrible music, terrible fashion, and cinemas full of remakes. This older society is also more dangerous in that it is more likely to elect loons like Trump in acts of self-harm. However, the responsibility for that does not fall on individuals to produce more kids. For people who claim any workforce shortfall can be made up with immigrants, immigrants will not plug this cultural hole in society.

One thing the government should definitely be doing is looking into massively dropping sperm counts. This has been strongly linked to certain chemicals in plastics in food packaging etc. which should be banned. It may still be small, but an increasing percentage of couples are childless because of fertility issues. Those people want a child, but cannot produce one.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Having a baby is a truly wonderful experience and I recommend all prospective father’s to be there when it happens. But the cost of having children in Tokyo is so high, that without more government support financially the number of babies being born will continue to decrease. I’d happily have one more, but my wife and eye would not be able to afford it. In third world countries, with a much lower cost of living its much easier to have big families, only rich people can have 3 or more..

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I love it when silly pampered white liberals say stuff like, "less babies is good for the planet!"

Africa, India, and Latin America ain't following that script

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

@ ego

And I don't see all the immigrants clamouring to get there. Mostly they're trying to get out.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Ego

I am not sure I see the point. Less babies IS good for the planet, some places continuing to have high birthrates does not invalidate that. You don't just go "oh well, they are having tons of kids over there, so may as well join in!".

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Africa, India, and Latin America ain't following that script

"India and Latin America" pretty much are.

India: 2.22

(Bangladesh : 2.04)

Brazil : 1.73

Argentina: 2.26

Mexico: 2.13

Colombia: 1.81

The birthrate is only high in African countries, parts of the Middle East, and the odd outlier like Pakistan.

https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/field/total-fertility-rate/country-comparison

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I want my vaccine before I try to have children.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I love it when silly pampered white liberals say stuff like, "less babies is good for the planet!"

Africa, India, and Latin America ain't following that script

Your point? White people should continue to overpopulate the earth because people in other countries are doing it too?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Soaring social security spending to cover pensions and medical care for the elderly weighs heavily on the world's third-largest economy's budget.

The spending programs have to be reformed. There is no doubt a lot of efficiencies to be found in these programs, if only the control of spending is put directly in the hands of the beneficiaries of the programs, rather than some third party that has no incentive to ensure that the shrinking taxpayer base is getting value for money.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I’d happily have one more, but my wife and eye would not be able to afford it.

You are talking about primarily the costs of birth itself and hospital time?

If you had to pay no income tax, would that largely cover it?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Who wants to have a baby during a pandemic?

My partner. And so it was. Three and done.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The birthrate is only high in African countries, parts of the Middle East, and the odd outlier like Pakistan.

So basically where womens rights don't exist.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

My second kid is due in Sept.

Hopefully the lack of births will mean it's easier to find a hoikuen spot on 2022.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Supporting families a little more might help!

How about increasing the child support money to let's say Yen 30.000 for the first and second child?

It can and is done in other countries. Those Yen 10.000 just ain't enough!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If you have the combination of an environment that makes it extremely difficult and risky to have a family with a world crisis that makes the future uncertain this is just something that can be predicted very easily.

Once the crisis passes a rebound is also expected, but in Japan this is not likely going to compensate the decreasing trend, unless of course a huge correction of the underlying problems is done, but that is not likely.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The last highly fertile country will inherit the earth.

Difficulty conceiving children is also related to mineral deficiencies such as zinc, and older age at marriage when conception is statistically less likely.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What the government really wants from an increased birthrate is the same it's always been - men to provide labor and women to provide child care and elder care. It's easy to see that the population has not been down with their plan for at least 2 generations, yet the govt doesn't change its views. A society where women can shine...their husbands' shoes.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

With the "baby boomer" generation dying off, the world population is just resetting itself to pre baby boom norms. And we all know what caused the baby boom in the first place. Imagine what the population would look like now if we didn't have those two world wars in the first place. I guess we'll know soon enough.

S

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Great news. Japan is way too overpopulated. So is the entire planet. A fall in Japan's population, if couple with a large fall in world population, should be celebrated not feared. It may be the only hope for Mother Earth.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Supporting families a little more might help!

I think families should first be able to support children by themselves. I don’t like giving money to families, it kind of seems like creating dependency on government.

This is why I hinted at having no income tax for child raisers in an earlier comment.

How about increasing the child support money to let's say Yen 30.000 for the first and second child?

It’s not much.

How about no income tax for them instead?

I was discussing the cost with my wife earlier and there is a lot of back and forth with transfer payments but she reckons it was about 200,000 to have our recent kid. Obviously that’s just the beginning, though.

Hence why not eliminate income tax as an incentive for child raisers.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Once the hub opens again, those numbers should creep up a bit.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hence why not eliminate income tax as an incentive for child raisers.

Best idea I have ever heard.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

If only more countries, like those of South Asia and Africa, would follow suit. There's just too many people on this planet.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@fxgai

I entirely agree that families should be able to support their child themselves before they have one, but in the next breath you say they should be exempt from income tax?

That would literally be childfree families supporting you, which goes against the previous sentiment. I would not be surprised if people started having kids solely for the reason of avoiding tax. I do not nor ever want children, but I still think that having kids for any reason except really wanting them is flawed.

Sidenote, if you do really want them, maybe adopt first before making even more.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@expat

You make a very valid point!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I entirely agree that families should be able to support their child themselves before they have one, but in the next breath you say they should be exempt from income tax? 

Yeah.

You know, income is money that has to be earned, to have any tax to pay. This income would exist irrespective of what government does.

A government handout on the other hand is received with no such strings attached. And if working parents are paying the tax in the first ace, only to receive less back in transfer payments, that’s just inefficient.

Which way should the we the people be having government incentivize? The former, for me.

If you know you have no tax to pay, you have an incentive to earn lots by being productive. And in keeping the money you earned, you can afford to have kids.

It’s not like they will pay no tax. They will still pay consumption tax.

That would literally be childfree families supporting you, which goes against the previous sentiment.

That’s just not true.

In a panacea world with limited government that just makes laws and protects people’s property from theft, of course people will still have children. Government is not a precondition for people to have children, and not should it be. Whether people have children or not is up to them as individuals.

If as a society we want to see people having more children, doing less (taxation) to prevent them from doing so is entirely reasonable.

I would not be surprised if people started having kids solely for the reason of avoiding tax.

That’s the reverse way to look at it, but once you’ve got the kids you can’t just chuck them away (we have a few psychos like that already I grant you)

It’s more abolishing one government-imposed barrier to having children, by letting people keep what they earned in the first place.

The design would need some careful thought - it would be better to not create an incentive to have kids later when income is expected to be higher with age, for example.

Sidenote, if you do really want them, maybe adopt first before making even more.

Wow, didn’t think about that but I’ve already got 3.

Don’t rule it out, kids are highly recommended if things work out that way.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

That would literally be childfree families supporting you, 

Let me add that, if government transfer payment spending programs were reduced, this wouldn’t necessarily be the case.

I’d rather government entirely moved to individual savings accounts based social security systems rather than these taxation based programs which are unsustainable under Japan’s shrinking population. Individuals savings for themselves would work much better.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Consumption tax only! The more you spend the more you pay. Fair and even for everyone.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Well..............buckle up. It'll be lower in 2021 as well. And unless Suga and the boys cut the crap, this will be a trend until they start vaxxing!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sales tax includes the poor and those on welfare even though they don't earn enough to pay income tax. Not a fair tax.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

This problem can't be fixed, and is the same for all developed countries, except in the US and UK we have immigration.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japan is a bit smaller than California but its population of 126 million people is more than three times higher and California is by no means considered to be an 'underpopulated cheap area' with its 38 million people.

I find Japan rather overpopulated in its larger cities, a lot of its land cannot be used for housing (mountains, small islands etc.)

Living costs in the cities where are jobs are very high, and rooms for rent are narrow and expensive.

Impossible for an ordinary wage earner to buy a small house, many jobs are unstable, creating a family out of what? Out of loans and repay that for the next 35 years? What happens if you are getting ill or jobless?

A reduction down to 100 million people would be not such a bad thing in Japan.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

and still no dual citizenship allowed ... expecting robots substitutes ?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

That's a good thing. Who in their right would like to have children under the living hell of paranoia we're currently experiencing.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This is a world-wide phenomenon. Japan is just a few years ahead.

It stems from the fact that most of the world living in cities now and this means smaller families, and more of a focus on women's rights and education. Unless these things are reversed (unlikely, unless due to some huge calamity), then we'd had better just get used to it. All the government handouts in the world won't help. It is what we, as a society have chosen.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It is extremely frustrating to see news outlets abroad and within Japan blame this issue on "aromantic Japanese" or "Japanese don't want sex", it counters completely with what they then say is the issue...."love for 2D characters and excessive sex toys/sex business". So yes, Japanese are interested in sex and love as much as any other nation.

Once you start living in Japan and thinking about children you can identify the proper issues. To list a few;

1) The fudousan companies are sharks. Wanting to move into a bigger place to make room for children requires ridiculous up front costs making it difficult to make a decision on whether you even have a place to raise them.

2) Married couples get absolutely no benefits or tax breaks from being married unless one spouse makes less than 450,000yen/year. Good luck with that!

3) Child support is between 5,000 and 15,000 every month and only given until the child is 15.

4) Education is compulsory until Middle School so child support and school support stops at the age of 15.

5) While yes, you do get a birth lump sum and some coupons to help pay for the birth but it would help a lot if this was just covered by your health insurance by "recognizing" pregnancy as a procedure. From what I have heard, pregnancy and issues relating to prenatal checkups aren't "illnesses" so technically to covered by any hoken. It is up to your municipality to see how they support pregnant women with medical costs.

6) Extremely long working hours that make balancing life and work impossible.

7) The necessity of a family where both mom and dad work to survive in the current economy and low wages in Japan. Especially for baito.

Things Japan can do;

1) Give financial bonuses to married people and another one per child born. Don't let this be a responsibility of the local municipality. The birth lump sum is different as it is meant to cover the medical fees. I mean a form of "starter bonus" for your newborn.

2)Ban the practice of key money, being able to move easily will give people flexibility to start a family in a new place.

3)Start paying more per month as child support from the state.

People want kids but don't have them because once one income falls away and another mouth to feed appears life becomes very hard here in Japan. People need to feel comfortable knowing that having a child will not lead to poverty. Does that mean that we should let parents make a living simply from having children? No. The government should not support an excessive amount of expenses but they will have to pay a lot more if they want that "precious" birth rate up. Or at least not invest the money in useless dating apps.....

8 ( +9 / -1 )

LemonCheesecake

These are all certainly pressing issues, but have absolutely nothing to do with the falling birthrate. Correlation does not imply causation.

I agree with everything you said though. Urgent reforms are required in these areas, but will do nothing to significantly raise the birth rate. The cause of that is a women having more control over her body.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Aside from the planet already being way too overpopulated, Japan does not breed an environment that is good for raising kids. Too much overtime, lack of daycare facilities, little support for single parents, pregnant women facing discrimination in the workplace for getting pregnant, fathers being demoted/shamed/ridiculed for taking their rightful paternal leave, school supplies being ridiculously and excessively expensive, teeny tiny living spaces that are insanely expensive (the move-in costs alone can cripple a family)... - honestly the list can go on. Who in their right mind would want to have kids in a place with all these issues?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Hence why not eliminate income tax as an incentive for child raisers.

Because it sounds exactly like a self serving pipe dream of someone hostile to personal taxation who thinks he shouldn't have to pay income tax - and chooses not to mention that those with higher income would benefit disproportionately, from a benefit that they don't even need in the first place. And certainly aren't entitled to expect.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Amazing! I thought people have more free time and they would do it more often. Instead it is the opposite. I guess looking at smartphone is more pleasurable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Everything is nowadays a taboo and subject to prosecution, in addition adopted campaigns from other countries like #metoo and all such. That’s the reason and nothing else. You like someone and want to invite her to a cafeteria? You are in handcuffs before you have ended saying your sentence, for any or all of the xyzhara harassment types. You take a picture of an unknown girl that is exactly your type and you would give everything to meet her later and go through life as family with many children? They hunt you down the whole rail net unless you run into a rushing train killing you. You see someone at a concert or on TV, very attractive idol type, and want probably more some day? The other fans kill you and the career of that young woman is also at stake or immediately at an end. Many more similar examples…

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It’s very convenient they are blaming the pandemic. No mention if the recent report stating that 60% of adults don’t want to have kids due to the financial pressures of ‘free’ public schooling.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

People simply can't afford it. The government wants to buy Aegis missile systems, fighter jets, and spend on the Olympics; family spending cuts are not a priority.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

J-govt has supported shop/restaurant owners, citizens, residents trillions/billions of cash money for 1.5 years. I'm so amazed/really surprised Japan had lots of money. Why has not govt supported so many poor families, kindergartens, day care centers, etc. when govt had lots of money or it could make extra budgets. Each families would have had more babies and children around now.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Because it sounds exactly like a self serving pipe dream of someone hostile to personal taxation

Where did that come from...

Look what sense does it make to tax people only to then turn around and give them lots of money back for having children?

Just don’t take the money in the first place, it’s obviously more efficient that way.

And after x years they start paying income tax again.

There is no hostility to paying tax here, it simply doesn’t make sense to pay tax only to have tax paid back.

who thinks he shouldn't have to pay income tax

no it’s the combination of paying tax and getting transfer payments back which is silly.

and chooses not to mention that those with higher income would benefit disproportionately,

How does one benefit “disproportionately” from not having to pay income tax for a time? Unless one thinks that people are the property of government.

This is not a government spending program, its government getting out of the way to make it easier for people to live their lives. Government is there to serve the people, not the other way around.

from a benefit that they don't even need in the first place.

Not paying tax is a benefit? Nighteen Eighty Four?

And certainly aren't entitled to expect.

People aren’t entitled to expect what belongs to them???

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sales tax includes the poor and those on welfare even though they don't earn enough to pay income tax. Not a fair tax.

You can’t look at these things in isolation though.

Taxes are primarily for the purpose of collecting tax revenues (while some have realized that taxes change incentives and impose sin taxes too, but they aren’t big revenue generators).

Ideally tax revenues are collected in an efficient way so as to not ruin the economic goose that lays these golden eggs. Consumption tax was found by the OECD to be less harmful than the corporate and income taxes.

Ok so what about “fairness”? Well why are we collecting tax revenues to begin with? Why, it’s to put government into a position to make transfer payments to the poor, to whom you claim the consumption tax is unfair!! They are the beneficiaries of the transfer payments!

What I describe here is how a well designed system would work. In Japan, the spending programs aren’t designed well at all. So lots of people end up paying lots of tax, and lots of people receive transfer payments - payments well in excess of tax revenues.

In a good system, we’d look after ourselves on our own yen, pay less tax as a result, and the transfer payments would go to ensure the poor were adequately provided for.

Some people think other people are irresponsible however, so a system of compulsory individual savings accounts to force people to provide for themselves would probably be more feasibly politically. The world including Japan is going in this direction as we see with things like the iDeCo retirement savings accounts. Japan is moving too slowly in the right direction though, it ought nice much faster and more broadly, before it is too late.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Birth rate in Japan is 1.4 , but it's only 1.7 in the USA. Think about that too, in the US , it's going to be mostly ethnic and non white that keep that rate high. So it's not really different to Japan. People just don't want to have kids anymore.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Who in their right would like to have children under the living hell of paranoia we're currently experiencing.

はい!

Who in their right mind would want to have kids in a place with all these issues?

はい!

Things Japan can do;

1) Give financial bonuses to married people and another one per child born.

3)Start paying more per month as child support from the state. 

Similar effects to be achieved by fxgai-no-to’s policy platform of income tax exemption for families raising children!

Does that mean that we should let parents make a living simply from having children? No. The government should not support an excessive amount of expenses

Yes, that is really key. The notion of families created on the premise of government dependency would be really dangerous.

Work, and producing stuff, is a key element of life and human prosperity. So government shouldn’t be in a role of funding families such that the kids see the parents needn’t work nor produce (except babies) in order to survive.

This is why I suggest an income tax exemption for families. It makes work pay, and involves no inefficient redistribution to achieve it. Just leave people alone, and that in itself is a fine incentive as seen from the status quo of having to pay tax to government.

Heck, families might even want to move here from abroad to take advantage and in that way boost the population (and therefore consumption tax and economic growth)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sven AsaiToday 06:18 pm JST

Everything is nowadays a taboo and subject to prosecution, in addition adopted campaigns from other countries like #metoo and all such. That’s the reason and nothing else. You like someone and want to invite her to a cafeteria? You are in handcuffs before you have ended saying your sentence, for any or all of the xyzhara harassment types...

Before a Japanese man even can think about creating a family he has to find a nice female partner first and this is now really a big problem - same in Japan, same in many Western countries.

True, dating is risky now, you might find yourself in big trouble even if you have the best intention. The scene where men and women could meet each other for some nice private talk is totally broken. Of course, seen long-term, this is affecting also the creation of a family with children considerably.

50 years ago this was no issue at all in Japan, you could approach women in schools, at the workplace, in parks and department stores and introduce yourself, but now sadly not anymore.

Many young men just stay at home with their parents, playing computer games or going to pachinko or just sitting around somewhere while doing only some part-time job. Some of them still have a hobby like motorcycle or playing an instrument...

I met a while ago a friendly young Japanese man walking around and asked him if he has a girlfriend and he replied 'no way' 'not even trying it'. He told me, he has no money, his small income is just enough for a small room to rent and some basic needs and he has not much to offer otherwise and even if he finds a girl, she will leave him anyway after a short while for another man. He had no confidence about himself at all.

Young Japanese men living in the large cities appear often depressed and they really became very passive, not interested in any personal contact with a human next to them.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You mean gaikokujin, surely.

And I'd like to see these divorce rates you speak of.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Birth rate in Japan is 1.4 , but it's only 1.7 in the USA. Think about that too

Exactly. And the same trend going on everywhere.

People just don't want to have kids anymore.

You nailed it. It's a choice the world is making. And a dramatic change in population structure caused by a falling fertility rate is something we as a society need go prepare for.

Japan should be leading the way and showing the rest of the world how to deal with this issue as it is something each country is going go face. But instead, head in the sand mentality, yet again.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think most of the theories on why the birthrate is so low are not even close or perhaps many of them together can ad up. In this day of great hospital care, and easy births (my daughter and her baby were not overnight in the hospital when she gave birth recently) and advanced fertility treatments it is certainly not medical in most cases.

In Japan, those couples having the most children come from the lowest economic strata of the population. THE FAMILY,---is strong.

When you have media promoting and making popular programs like "modern family" is there any wonder why the traditional family is not a priority and the birthrate is tumbling where exposure to negative family media persists?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"This is a world-wide phenomenon. Japan is just a few years ahead.

It stems from the fact that most of the world living in cities now and this means smaller families, and more of a focus on women's rights and education. Unless these things are reversed (unlikely, unless due to some huge calamity), then we'd had better just get used to it. All the government handouts in the world won't help. It is what we, as a society have chosen."

@ tora

So what your saying is women should return to the kitchen and bedroom and remain subjugated to the likes of you.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Do you know how many unwanted children are in orphanages there are in this country? How about we take care of these children. A friend of mine her daughter with ADHD issues and stealing issues under 14 who was seeking out medical help the police wanted to lock her daughter up in a juvenile facility for kids under 14 where she would not have been able to see her child. Instead of helping my Japanese friend who has no family with extra help they wanted to lock the child up with no recourse. Nahh, they do not need more kids they need to learn to care for the ones they have here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The government needs to figure out how to break the cycle of "if you're in your 20s and you don't leave your spacious, beautiful prefecture to go live in some crappy little shoebox in Tokyo so you can work 70 hours a week, you're a total loser". They need to do this by helping/encouraging large corporations to embrace remote work and perhaps to set up satellite branches in prefectural capitals for meetings.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It seems like a lot of people here are focused on the work culture in Japan, which in my opinion is just part of the overall problem. I think reform also needs to happen earlier, at the school level. This isn't directly related to pregnancy, but about developing social skills and dating skills. Kids and teens are so controlled, regimented, and scheduled here that they have no free time to hang out without supervision, relax, chat, dance, or do any of the things that help build social skills needed for talking to the opposite sex. I've seen many times in articles that young Japanese people see sex and dating as "menrokusai" or annoying and stressful. In my opinion, these feelings are a natural defense against the real problem that they are unable to talk to the opposite sex easily and openly, and they feel it's a personal deficiency rather than a skill that has never been developed. So, I think more social things for the kids to do, like parties and dances, are needed and less stress about their grades and test rankings. I mean, if you were in school, which would be more important to you- your class ranking or your first kiss? How can you get to a first kiss, if you can't talk to boys/girls? Their social skills are severely lacking, and really need development.

Second, in these conversations about pregnancy in Japan, people don't usually talk about the many (not all of course, but many) terrible gynecologists in Japan. They are often rude, aggressive, the check ups are painful, they treat you like children, and you have to wait for 1-2hours. Not to mention a lack of birth control options. I can't tell you how long it took to find one I liked, and what a relief it was to finally be treated like a human. If this is most young ladies first introduction to reproductive healthcare, I can't blame them for shying away from it. Not to mention, not being able to ask embarrassing questions. Just my 2 cents

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Birthrate is very low.

Everything is just money. They can't afford to raise more children. When you have more children, no doubt you will need more money. Low income means 1 child or none or not marry. Plain and simple.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Because it means making a baby with a Japanese man. It isn't really an attractive proposition.

This is a good point actually. One that the Mods seem to really dislike, also. So that makes it even better.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So what your saying is women should return to the kitchen and bedroom and remain subjugated to the likes of you.

Not at all. It's the way society has evolved. Norms have changed and since women have more control over their destiny they are choosing to have less children. Morally, it's good that women have choice, but the consequences are an ageing society.

So, are you advocating women have more children? It's their choice, so let them choose. But there is zero evidence that hrowing money around, or having bigger parks or better facilities for raising children will change the overall downward trend.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well said Tora.

It is factual.

Choice for women = 100% probability no renewal of population.

Accept it and bear it.

Adaptztion is key word.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How to solve this problem is in no way a mystery.

It's just basically impossible since no one is willing to make the necessary sacrifices, despite not doing so means dooming the country.

There are pretty much 2 options. (Could be 3 if you count on technology, that robots could fill in the gaps, but since I think it unlikely I will leave it for now)

Make use of immigration like almost all other developed countries. Almost all western democracies have falling birthrates. We solve it with immigration.

Immigration has it's obvious downsides but there simply is not much choice. Of course this is never going to happen here though so let's move on to...

Make it easier for Japanese to have babies.

*make all medical costs and tests related to childbirth free, or at least make it part of the health insurance. Shockingly, as of now it's not.

All in all stop viewing "women's problems" as women's problems, because they're not, they are the country's problems.

*Make a variety of pain relief options the norm for giving birth, not the exception.

*Make at least one year paternity leave mandatory, split 50/50 between both parents.

*Eliminate the destructive work culture, force companies to let people take vacation, enforce laws against overtime and weekend work.

*Stop consider the mother to be solely responsible for child, home and a working marriage.

*Shared custody as norm in case of divorce.

*Make adoption easier, also from other countries. Eliminate old fashion rules about who inherits family names.

*Stop assuming people should get married, make it socially acceptable to have children on your own, provide financial support for it.

*Make infertility treatment free regardless of age.

*encourage interactions between sexes from a young age. 

*make child care free and easily available regardless of where you live.

*make all tuition free including university.

Severely limit the cost of private schools.

Sure I missed a couple, but hopefully that should do it... All these changes should have been done yesterday but at least now would be better than tomorrow.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When will the people in this comment section understand that birth rate falling directly if correlated with the economic freedom which women have .

some ridiculous people here think that more women empowerment will help , but it will even make the bad situation already worse .

it’s no coincidence that countries which have highest women in workforce tend to have lowest TFRs .

birth rate reversal is not going to happen without literally forcing an agenda on women to bear babies . The only country which can do that is China , In rest of the democratic world it’s not possible .

what Japan should do right now is give handouts to women who don’t have to then work to afford a living so that they are able to bear babies . There’s no use of converting Japanese women into salarymen like Japan this will further accelerate the decline !!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There’s literally no way of reversing this , unless you force women to have babies.

there’s a strong relation in countries having Max women in workforce and having lowest TFRs .

women empowerment is not solution for this . Even Sweden has low ethnic women tfr .

the only solution is to force a agenda for couple to bear babies . Japan must give handouts for women so that they won’t have to work to afford babies and thus can take care of their babies . No use of converting Japanese women to salarymen like Japanese men it will only accelerate this fertility downfall

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Tora you have said the truth here .

no ones talking about this , creating a social welfare for women and force an agenda to have babies is the only solution even if it’s a little radical.

japanese ancestors haven’t fought wars to see the day their future gen would do something like stop having babies

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites