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Fathers' participation in parenting key to larger families: survey

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Come on Japan, you don’t need a government survey to know this. It’s about as basic as it gets.

People have been saying this about Japans low birth rate for years.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Japan has one of the world's fastest-aging populations with the number of newborns hitting a record low of 865,234 in 2019.

The country's total fertility rate -- the average number of children born to a woman during her reproductive years -- stood at 1.36 that year.

Every couple of months there is a new "study" (keeping the ministries busy with meetings and reviews certainly) about the reasons for Japan's low birth rate. "Herbivorous" men, gender segregation in Japanese society,environmental factors lowering the level of testosterone; all studiously avoiding the most glaringly obvious factors. Wages not keeping pace with inflation in education and housing costs and economic uncertainty caused by neo-liberal market reforms. This is the thing that shall not be named in these government sponsored studies because it would call into question 30 years of ruling party policy.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The same logic should apply then for joint custody

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What a waste of our money...

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(Face palm moment) Seriously now? This should be a no brainer! Only problem here is that "Japan Inc" doesnt give the fathers enough time to actually BE with their children.

Allowing 100 hours of overtime per month, is not conductive to having fathers at home to help with kids!

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The fathers can participate in the child’s upbringing to the extent that the mother lets them.

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 the percentage rose to 72.5 among those in which fathers helped for up to two hours each day off,

“Each day off” There is the key to this conundrum. It would seem the only way to solve Japan’s declining birth and marriage rates is to give people some kind of work-life balance instead of working them to death (karoshi) with up to 100 hours overtime per month.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

"While many couples opt to have their first child regardless of a husband's involvement in housework, a woman's attitude toward having another child can depend on the level of support she receives," Takita said.

This of course, makes perfect sense. I mean, why would you want to have another child, if you don’t get adequate support from your partner with the first one?

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must remember that 100hrs a month overtime is the law that has no penalties, window dressing. If you do more can provide evidence of it you might be compensated if ,if . you win. It also does not include travel time, so if it’s 3 or 4 hrs travel time (there and back) over say ten days that’s an extra 30, 40 hrs taking the monthly total to 130, 140hrs a month away from home. An exhausting lifestyle, an unhealthy one for considering having a family.

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Not true. I know many cases of father and mother both mutually raising children and none resulted in them wanted more than their one/two children

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Wages not keeping pace with inflation in education and housing costs and economic uncertainty caused by neo-liberal market reforms. This is the thing that shall not be named in these government sponsored studies because it would call into question 30 years of ruling party policy.

It is hardly a problem confined to Japan. This seems to be the curse of the developed world. South Korea's total fertility rate is 1.1, basically one new baby for every two adults. Singapore is similarly low but surprisingly Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal all have a lower fertility rates than Japan.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Pro tip for young husbands; the amount of action you get at night is strongly correlated to how much vacuuming you do. More vacuuming=more action=more kids.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Other countries might have lower birth rates but have adjusted their economies to suit, perhaps? Japans politicians just can’t fathom having less income from less people! Taxes already have put people on the edge so raising them further is a dangerous gambit. A overhaul and reform of government spending both nationally and locally is an unthinkable option, best to milk the cow to death than change anything. Change is confusing and threatening for those who benefit most

4 ( +5 / -1 )

a woman's attitude toward having another child can depend on the level of support she receives,

Well said.

There's more. The husband/ father's devotion to his wife and children shown in the form of time and emotion invested in every aspect of his family's life largely determines how many children they have as well as how happy and successful they all are.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This is not news. What a waste of money.

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Spend that money on wine for the wives if you want to really make a difference

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72.5 among those in which fathers helped for up to two hours each day off,

Does that mean only 12% spend more than 2 hours on their days off with their children?

that disgusting.

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Not true. I know many cases of father and mother both mutually raising children and none resulted in them wanted more than their one/two children

The study isn't saying that all parents who help each other will always have two or more children, it just says they are more likely to.

Personally I have two children, Our decision to have a second was driven by a lot of factors, but certainly my willingness and ability to help out as a father played a significant role. Or put another way, I doubt we could have had a second if I wasn't willing/able to help out simply because that would have put an impossible burden on my wife.

A lot of commenters are noting the economic factors that contribute to this, and I think the participation of fathers is at least partly driven by that and might be a proxy for it. If you have a job that is not secure or doesn't pay much, you have to work much harder (and longer) to just make ends meet, which in turn makes it extremely difficult to contribute to parenting activities.

So when they ask survey respondents about father's participation, they are probably receiving answers that really say more about the economic situation of the father (as opposed to the father's willingness to participate in child care, etc).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm a father and I'd love to spend more time with my kids. However, the Japanese government doesn't recognize shared custody, so my ex gets to decide how much time I can spend with my kids. If the government has suddenly figured out that fathers need to play a bigger role in parenting, then it should also realize that many fathers WANT to play an equal role in parenting, but can't.

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The fathers can participate in the child’s upbringing to the extent that the mother lets them.

So true. Especially for foreign men that have married Japanese women. It becomes a control issue for many Japanese mothers. They want to control where all the money goes, the childrens futures (definitely not in the father's home country) and her parents (especially the mother) are quite manipulative as well and the husband is left to just bring home the money.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

another serious problem is the so-called 単身赴任,the company sending the father to work for xx years at whatever remote location, and for various reasons (children school, housing, wife's work, etc.) the family cannot relocate. This scenario happens quite often, at least at the companies I worked with, and as a result the father is able to meet the family 1-2 times / month

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foreignbrotherhoodarmy

The fathers can participate in the child’s upbringing to the extent that the mother lets them.

Whoever thumbed this down probably doesn't live in Japan or hasn't been here too long.

Maybe a "Why" section in that survey could have given more insight.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Other countries might have lower birth rates but have adjusted their economies to suit, perhaps?

Nope. Declining populations are a problem for the economies of many developed nations. Economists do not really have a model of how to deal with the problem either. One would like to see rising productivity per worker paying higher wages per worker but once you are at the pinnacle of development big productivity gains are very hard to come by. You have to make major advances in technology to gain big productivity gains and those don't happen very often. Less developed nations can enjoy big productivity gains simply by adopting existing technologies as their workforce gains enough education and skills to be able to adopt these technologies. But for the really advanced nations like the US and Japan, such big productivity gains are generally not available, so a declining population leads to at best a stagnant and perhaps a declining GDP.

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