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Single mothers by choice fight stigma, seek to change perceptions

39 Comments
By May Masangkay

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Beautiful. Empower women.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

a number of Japanese "single mothers by choice"

Funny, no mention at all about the financial support women like these will get from their local city hall.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

If women of any country choice to be a single mother its all ok - BUT as long as "their choice" isn't being subsidised by the taxpayer.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

The government wants women to have more children, they ought to be pleased with this, and support the women who are following their requests. It is not for them to also insist that the women must be married in order to have children.

Two-parent families get financial support, so why shouldn't a one-parent family?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Takada said the public is becoming increasingly aware of people like her, partly thanks to media exposure and single mothers by choice taking a stand publicly.

Being made aware, and understanding, agreeing with, and supporting the choice is something totally different.

Japanese are a very conservative people, and while awareness may be growing, I have my doubts that the public is supportive of it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If women of any country choice to be a single mother its all ok - BUT as long as "their choice" isn't being subsidised by the taxpayer.

As opposed to couples living under the poverty line having babies and living off public subsidies?

Maybe you haven't noticed, but Japan is having a problem with birthrate and declining population, while the government and people typically support "typical" paths towards having and raising children, other non-traditional ways should be supported and accepted as well.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

As a divorcee who struggles to get any access to his kids, I find this a little disturbing. This could only happen in Japan where there are no child support laws or legal sperm donors. In other countries, the father would be liable to pay child support unless it was a legal donor.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This could only happen in Japan where there are no child support laws

Excuse me....please stop passing along information that is not true.

Child Support 

Custodial parent can ask non-custodial parent for payment of monthly child support. If parents cannot agree on the amount of child support, the custodial parent can ask the family court to determine the amount of monthly child support and to order the non-custodial parent to pay that amount to the custodial parent. The court typically determines the amount of child support according to the

table prepared by a group of family court judges.

http://shikinokaze.jp/english-divorce.html

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Agree Divorce papers have 2 sections for visitations and child support. Why bother?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is the chart for payment amounts typically used by the court. And if the person who is supposed to be paying child support fails to do so they can be taken to court and also have their wages garnished as well.

Too many people believe in the urban legend that these dont happen, and it's a shame, because they are losing out.

http://www.courts.go.jp/tokyo-f/vcms_lf/santeihyo.pdf

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Maria

I don't think anyone is suggesting to deny single-parent families the kind of support that two parent families receive. The fact is that single women who choose to have a child are going to be a bigger burden because they cannot provide for their family as well as two parents can. The support provided to a two parent family will not be enough for a single parent family.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

A lot of the support is not in cash, but higher point ratings for daycare entry, etc.

Which means those places don't go to families.

Single mothers are usually fine raising a single child, 2-3 and ...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Which means those places don't go to families.

Yes they do.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Agree ward councellors and family court only finalise the details on the divorce papers, same papers as both parties who agree before filling them in(preferred method).

Neither method carries more weight.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maria if 20 openings are available and 5 go to single mothers ergo 5 families lose out. Basic math.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The PM promised better childcare for all by next year. He has only recently reneged on that deadline, so anyone who decided to have a child reassured by the promises Abe made four years ago, with hopes of returning to work when the child was of an age to go to daycare, has been left stranded.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@pacint: Are you suggesting that a one-parent family is not a family?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

But Okamoto said the criticism is based on a false assumption that children of single parents cannot be happy.

A false and completely ignorant assumption, that is (same thing with gay parents, reconstituted families etc) 

Nothing against the SMC group per se but I tend to think such sub-groups are/can be isolationists and aren't the best way to get social acceptance (which I agree is something they shouldn't have to 'earn' but this is Japan/the world we live in unfortunately).

I have quite a few western friends who are/were potential SMC in their mid/late 30s early 40s but eventually gave up the idea once they realised they could live a fulfilling life without children. (I think the stigma attached to child-free women was/is as strong if not stronger than for single mums including SMC).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The fact is that single women who choose to have a child are going to be a bigger burden because they cannot provide for their family as well as two parents can.

For many this is true, however, not all women are in need of assistance and women who make the choice to have a child through a sperm donor, typically speaking are better off financially than many traditional two-parent families.

The support provided to a two parent family will not be enough for a single parent family.

Don't you mean the other way around?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

sobs disconsolately at rejection by pacint but determines to carry on regardless

Not semantics, but a very important point to remember. A family is not only made up of one man, one woman, two kids and a dog. A woman or a man raising her or his child/ren is a family, and in this country, deserving of support.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Family yes but not a full family by definition.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

wipes tears and summons up a weak smile; Huzzah! She is back in the warm aura of pacint's gaze

Are you a single parent? How does your child feel when you tell her your family isn't all there?

I would like to hear you tell your single parent friends that their family unit is also unfulfilled. Their reply will be enlightening.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Maria.

Look up the term 'conjugal', legal term.

Raised my son alone after my wife died 8yrs ago.

At times I got more support than my friends with spouses, plus accusations I take from their support money/benefits.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

More power to them go ladies..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The fact is that single women who choose to have a child are going to be a bigger burden because they cannot provide for their family as well as two parents can.

Not necessarily Dan. I know single mums here in japan who live with their (now retired) parents/mum and live a perfectly happy/financially comfortable life. (more so than many traditional families who live paycheck to paycheck). Mums have well paid FT jobs, the kids get a lot of love/attention from their grandparents etc. Not saying it always works like this but it can.

The 'single mums are a burden to society' mantra is no longer valid -not sure it ever was tbh- and so called traditional families have proven 2 (parents) wasn't always a recipe for a happy/successful family.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Actually this topic about perception.

Never had a serious problem, most folks now accept single parents, granted more among younger people.

Many still hold onto older values.

Good on them trying to change beliefs

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As a member of Nippon kaigi, Abe will never support single mothers as it is against their charter. Just empty promises of changes in future is all that will happen.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My mom had and raised me alone in Japan during the 60s and 70s where the number of single mothers must've been lower than the current 2.3%.

Props to my mom, who I know, used to get lots of scrutiny, scorn and annoying questions by many here in Japan.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If women of any country choice to be a single mother its all ok - BUT as long as "their choice" isn't being subsidised by the taxpayer.

As pointed out all kids in Japan are subsidized by the government, its called public education. Hokuen is charged based on income by the way so beyond taxes the rich do pay for the less well off. As is should be.

The point about two parent families needing less assistance, that depends on if both parents work. If not then the numbers are exactly the same.

And if kids with two parents are accepted to child care then five other kids with two parents may be on the waiting list. This argues for more daycare in Japan, not for griping about single parent families and what they require.

Raising kids is no easy task for one or for two parents. Regardless the job gets done.

Last, in Japan you can make the case that the majority of kids are single parent kids as the father is usually MIA due to work and often his own distaste for being a Dad.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@pacint: I am sorry for your loss.

At times I got more support than my friends with spouses, plus accusations I take from their support money/benefits.

Do you think the accusations were founded, the support not needed?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yep, given support same for single women but felt they were not as accepted as single fathers.

Know many fathers who got custody(local and foreign).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Myself got pressured to marry again, guess would be worse for women.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have no problem with people who want kids & all the various permutations/combinations as long as fairness & consent are respected.

Too often though there are parties who reap benefits & others who get seriously burned!

As long as its fair, having said that, good luck!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Go to Hello Work and find a 'Single Mother' counter, no Single Father or Single Parent counter, sheez.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Semantics, pacint?

But I agree. Make enough complaints, and they'll do something about it - eventually. Hello Work is a public office. Their language ought to reflect modern times and be more inclusive.

I hope that women - and men - keep deciding to live their life on their own terms. You do not have to be married to have kids, you do not have to remain married to raise kids, if the marriage is a miserable one, and you do not have to remarry because people tell you one parent isn't enough. One good parent is enough, the govt. needs to get its arse into gear and keep the promises it made, and cut the daycare waiting lists down to zero.

...

As an aside, at the moment (and this is just what I have been told by someone affected by it) that tax-wise it is not worth both parents working full-time, ie better financially for one of the parents, often the women, to stay home, not go out to work, and that is also why a lot of women in two-parent families do not return to work after popping a kid or two.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Maria that is a see-saw problem.

Increase married benefits and single parents suffer and complain.

Ditto on the reverse.

Seen it go both ways in my home-country over the years.

Yep that old.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It doesn't matter single mother or married mother. Japan needs more children. Good on you Okamoto-san.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Single Mothers by Choice does not imply a partner in the raising of a child. Are these pregnancies a mutual business transaction between parties, or do they involve some kind of deception (does the father know they are going to be an anonymous sperm donor or anonymous financial provider), or have they become a single parent due to relationship breakdown or divorce? Is the child allowed to have a meaningful relationship with the non-custodial parent? There is nothing wrong with being a single parent but how the decision is made matters.

@GW: I totally agree.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nothing wrong with being a single parent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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