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Fears pandemic will worsen birth rate, exacerbating Japan's aging crisis

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A positive trend, which will eventually have a positive effect on Japan's living standards.

Financial resources are nowhere in sight,

So what. There is a surfeit of health care resources in Japan. I wait just a few minutes at my Tokyo clinic and dental office for treatment. In Canada, which has the most massive immigration in the world and an expanding population, the waits can be an hour or more and many treatments require booking months in advance.

-9 ( +17 / -26 )

As someone who has had a baby in Japan and seen first hand how little the government does to help/encourage people to have children I have little sympathy. We can't get a government hoikuen after 2 years of reapplying (every time I reapply I have to get all the same papers again made up by my companies HR, would be far too difficult to keep the papers on file somewhere for them).

So in order for us to keep my wife and my career continuing we have to use a private hoikuen to a lovely cost of 70,000yen per month. If they want to encourage people to have babies they should guarantee hoikuen places for all who wish to work.

30 ( +39 / -9 )

"Some"? The people that have been "worrying" about declining birth rates have been doing so since long before this pandemic.

Just another excuse, rather than create opportunities for women, to have both successful careers and the opportunities for motherhood as well.

Oh, and maybe these "some" could learn to teach Japanese men how to treat women better, it would go a loooonnnnngggg way to helping things out here too!

17 ( +25 / -8 )

Japan began encouraging people in earnest to have more babies in the early 1990s

How did Japan do this?

Tax breaks for workers?

No.

A tax reform?

No.

Grants to buy property?

No.

Grants for children in higher education?

No

There is a distinct lack of ideas in evidence.

48 ( +51 / -3 )

However, bureaucrats are skeptical about whether the state can secure financial resources to implement such measures since the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the state coffers.

"Financial resources are nowhere in sight "

But they manage to secure funds for politicians pet projects with ease?

Money spent on people unaffiliated with the government would appear to be waistful.

"Based on data provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the proportion of Japan's expenditure for public education to its gross domestic product is at the lowest level among advanced countries," Nakamuro said in a separate interview.

I would argue that the education system is more akin to training children to conform rather than improve mental agility.

40%_ 60% of workers are on part time/ one year contracts on hand to mouth wages, not a lot left after taxes for a child.

People of childbearing age have, survey after survey openly stated they can't see themselves ever getting married let alone starting a family. They have no money! But work endlessly. The yearly highlight getting 4 days off and a BBQ.

Asking politicians ( earning huge wages) to understand is not going to happen. A million ¥ a child is gone pretty quick, but the child stays around a lot longer.

There are answers but untill those answers enrich politicians they are not going to do anything.

28 ( +30 / -2 )

Would rather fund the Tokyo Olympics.

28 ( +33 / -5 )

This again?

Japan has 127 million people, which ranks it among the top 10 in the world in terms of population size.

If anything Japan needs to decrease its numbers as the world struggles with dwindling resources.

10 ( +30 / -20 )

Japan has 127 million people, which ranks it among the top 10 in the world in terms of population size.

Actually Japan is now the 11th.

1 China

2 India

3 United States

4 Indonesia

5 Pakistan

6 Brazil

7 Nigeria

8 Bangladesh

9 Russia

10 Mexico

11 Japan

It is the make up of increasingly high percentage of old people that is the biggest problem. But I guess eventually when the elderlies dies things can be different but god knows when.

-2 ( +13 / -15 )

A positive trend, which will eventually have a positive effect on Japan's living standards.

@ JeffLee. Well argued. Japan is very, very overpopulated, so the trend to de-populate is a great thing. More space, less use of food and water resources, more doctors and nurses per person, becoming much easier to get seats on trains, book hotels and so on. It is also a great move to maintain Japans clean environment.

And no-one brings up any issues with Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan with lower growth than Japan, so I hardly see any negatives for a policy of depopulation. Its a win-win for Japan, no question.

10 ( +26 / -16 )

None of my Japanese /dual passport holding young adult offspring want to live in Japan. I don't blame them.

26 ( +32 / -6 )

Who wants to have 2 or 3 kids and live in a 1LDK apartment or smaller?

37 ( +39 / -2 )

Indeed the government needs to look at alternative solutions to the issue of underfunding social service than increasing the population. How about looking at ways to reduce costs?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Initially, many people thought working from home (or just being at home) would result in a baby boom. People even came up with the term "coronials" for these babies and that got many people excited. The prospect of asking someone with a newborn in 2021 "Oh, that a corooonial baby?" really tickled them. Well, perhaps its too early to tell, but from my own experience, I don't think there will be many babies coming out of new relationships. In other words, if couples were already married or living together, sure, perhaps a baby could be more likely. However, when it comes to dating during the pandemic, its almost impossible. I know that many nurses, doctors and hospital staff aren't even allowed to date or go out at night or on weekends with friends. This has been going on since March/April. I'm sure its similar in other professions. People just aren't going out on dates and meeting new people. Also, with everyone wearing a mask, its hard to spot a cute. Just saying. And the jobs market isn't so good either.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

So one more reason why the goverment and media should not push this exagerated fear campaign against this "pandemic", which is just a little worst than a bad flu in terms of death rate.

W should just let this thing run its course as we go about with business as usual.

-14 ( +6 / -20 )

I live in the countryside. I have noticed that when people get married here, they tend to have children and often more than two.

Why is there a difference between families in the countryside and in Tokyo? The main difference is housing. People in the countryside have space for children, a garden for children to play in. People in the city may get paid more, but the have to pay more especially for somewhere to live, and paying for an extra room for an extra child is just too much of a burden for most.

However, the surprising thing about the headline is that one would think that couples spending more time at home, more time together would produce more kids.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

More space, less use of food and water resources, more doctors and nurses per person, becoming much easier to get seats on trains, book hotels and so on. It is also a great move to maintain Japans clean environment

LOL. More space, less use of food and water may be true but more doctors and nurses per person? More old people means more doctors and nurses are needed to look after them cause they often need regular check ups. Also if there is not enough people riding trains railway company will eventually cuts the number of services so you may end up even worse. Business and service disappeares when demand drops.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Want more kids, want to boost domestic spending, want to improve people's well-being? It can all be done with just one simple measure: ban overtime.

27 ( +27 / -0 )

Business and service disappeares when demand drops.

Yep, go to the countries with small populations and you'll definitely find that "business and service" has disappeared: Switzerland, Singapore, Norway, New Zealand, Denmark, Luxembourg, and so on.

People in those unfortunate, impoverished places are just struggling to survive.

-3 ( +12 / -15 )

Government focus should be on people's happiness from there all things flow. Sadly government focus is on corporate/ personal profits at the cost of people's happiness. For the third largest economy in the world it's a sad state of affairs to be in. After all they, the self appointed "Leaders" have had 30 to do something. And the best they can do is blame the youthful for not obeying, following their narrative. It's not going to end well for anyone, higher taxes less services yet politicians will continue to garnish the same phlegm inducing entitled benifits denied everyone else.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Japan saw a sudden drop in fertility rates due to a superstition that says girls born in a hinoe-uma year, which occurs once every 60 years, develop fiery tempers and might kill their future husbands.

Wifes killing their husband happens pretty often and even killing their own new born babies.

Japan has 127 million people, which ranks it among the top 10 in the world in terms of population size.

If anything Japan needs to decrease its numbers as the world struggles with dwindling resources.

What do you think COVID-19 is contributing to do? World depopulation (The Georgia Guidestones Monument Stone - Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.)

I think most Japanese women do not want to have children until they decide give up being a party Gal or once they become age 40+. Also, the cost of having a child is expensive in Japan. I have two lovely daughters (Japanese Citizen and My National Citizen) and I am not sure if I would want to raise them in Japan knowing what I know about Japan. So if I leave back to home country thats two less children in the aging Japan population. If i had two boys it be a different story.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Well, the nay sayers will say it's bad. Always look for positives, less people means cheaper houses, and more jobs for youngsters.

On the other hand the problem isn't money for the kids, the problem is working issue of Japanese. This plus Instagram girls who doesn't want to be shufu anymore. The times changed but some old politicians thinks they live in 1950.

And no immigration won't help us because it's low and not welcomed in Japan.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

The world population is shooting up dramatically. Let's celebrate that some countries are allowing it to fall.

7 ( +16 / -9 )

The elephant in the room: kids are like elephants in a room: loud, destructive...did I mention loud?

Too many people living in Tokyo, so apartments too small.

Too many distractions in Tokyo, so why have kids to ruin things?

This pandemic might actually help reverse the trend: no need to live in Tokyo, get more space in the countryside with your own pool, give birth to your future caretakers who will tend to you as you lay on your belly trying to breathe, etc.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

It would be great if everyone cheering on the benefits of a smaller population could also explain the benefits of a much older population that will go hand in hand with it, which is what people are actually concerned about.

The benefits of fewer people is obvious and doesn’t need explaining (more space, more everything!). But why are you cheerleading the creation of a society that will overwhelmingly be made up of the elderly? I guess none of you are actually raising kids here who will have to live in that society one day, but those of us who are would really like to know how this utopia where most of the population is over 60 s going to actually work.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

JeffLee. Well argued. Japan is very, very overpopulated

Only in particular areas. Tokyo and the urban areas near its borders are growing in population while most of the already quite sparsely populated prefectures are shrinking further in population. I’m all in favour of lower populations in all countries, but Japan also needs to look at further incentivizing reasons to stay in or move to the prefectures which are sinking in population.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

I have done my share and all I get is more taxes taxes taxes. Living in Japan a long time, the government is most concerned with the reliable elderly rural vote, oh and most recently amending the constitution to permit offensive war.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

WHat is interesring is that in the Philippines, this pandemic has actually increased the birth rate. Japan could do more including penalizing ageism, as a lot of qualified people over 65 want to work but are discriminated against.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

What is interesting is that in the Philippines, this pandemic has actually increased the birth rate. Japan could do more including penalizing ageism, as a lot of qualified people over 65 want to work but are discriminated against.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The demographic decline ship sailed three decades ago. It is time for the government to either embrace immigration on a large scale, or scale back its economic, political and military ambitions and focus instead on producing enough food for the shrinking number of residents in the face of climate change.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

"campaign against this "pandemic", which is just a little worst than a bad flu in terms of death rate."

The case fatality rate is higher (it was especially higher in Feb. and Mar. when most os the medical community was at a loss at how to treat this). Then there are the sequellae, the long-term/permanent health issues of a significant % of those who have "recovered" from covid-19. They include damaged heart muscle, damaged kidneys, reduced lung capacity to to fibrosis, type I diabetes and more....

6 ( +10 / -4 )

The current pandemic cannot be a good excuse. The birth numbers and rate would go on to remain low without covid19.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

In the mid to long term run this is a blessing for Japan. As for the reasons people have less children , the main one is that women want to enjoy their life and most understand that having and raising children nomatter what government does is not only a major responsibility but also most of the work for the next 20 years will come down to them. In part, that is as it should as that is why they are called mothers after having a child.

i admire the Japanese women and couples for their sense of responsibility to have less children as they understand the lifelong commitment and they rather not have children than not giving them the great life every child deserves.

economically it will be evened out as higher costs for the elder in any form, get compensated by less cost in unemployment, lower real estate, les education cost etc...

and indeed Japan will be a far better place for 100 than 127 million people and the world should be grateful for a declining population in any country.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

economically it will be evened out as higher costs for the elder in any form, get compensated by less cost in unemployment, lower real estate, les education cost etc...

This makes no sense at all.

Higher costs of elderly care won’t be offset by:

Less unemployment costs (economy was at near full employment before pandemic, still near it)

Lower real estate value (this is an economic loss, not a gain)

Less education cost (education has a payout in the form of productive workers who will contribute to society for decades. In other words, education costs are an investment that more than pay for themselves over the long term. Elderly care costs don’t have an equivalent)

6 ( +8 / -2 )

What is interesting is that in the Philippines, this pandemic has actually increased the birth rate.

Perhaps if Japan was to convert to Catholicism, allow the church to interfere in legal, social, and educational policy, increase poverty to Philippine levels of deprivation, make divorce and abortion illegal, and block access to all forms of birth control, they could achieve the same happy result, with a similar percentage of single mothers.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

As for the reasons people have less children , the main one is that women want to enjoy their life and most understand that having and raising children nomatter what government does is not only a major responsibility but also most of the work for the next 20 years will come down to them. In part, that is as it should as that is why they are called mothers after having a child

If you think any women in over the age of 40 are happy and content with their life without experiencing motherhood you have been sold a lie.

Single women may be happy in their 20's working their desk job and spending money on Louis Vuitton bags but when reality hits home there is a shock and a disbelief that they cannot find a husband and get a baby before it's biologically too late. There is an empty void in their life that Starbucks coffee, weekend yoga and tinder does not fill.

Lets not even get started on what happens when they get into their 60's and 70's and have no family to care for them.

This is all confirmed by studies into how unhappy women are now. But keep pushing the girl power, Sex and the city narrative onto these women.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

I see a lot of mothers in there late 30s and early 40s having there first born here in Japan. They will be 60+ years old when there child become around age 20+ and you cant increase the poppulation when having only two children as you would only be replacing yourselves when its your time to kick the bucket from old age. At a minumum for puppulation growth to happen you need to have 3 children....

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Japanese politicians mostly have played the long game to pay for voters, not the welfare of the country.

In my country : good tax incentives, school is nearly free, system for official nannies up and running (Don't need high qualifications at all), full social protection of pregnant women, career protection, financial perks the more you have kids and the poorer you are, etc.

And it is not even enough for population renewal.

In developed countries, heavy global trend is "girls want to have fun", they get the benefits without providing the expectations from society. Exactly the opposite to developing country (check Niger with over 6 children per woman).

It is not going to end well in the very long term for all of us since you'll have the ratio of costing citizens on producing citizens to get higher higher higher.

Only the rich enough are enjoying now. I am lucky enough to have 3 kids and get a good salary. But many struggle just to go once per year on holiday with a family. As an example, even though been always working, one of my brother/sister inlaws can't even financially make it to come to my country (where they wouldn't pay anything for accomodation).

Make transportation, accomodation, cost a flat fee instead a per head which ruins families.

Make working too much a bad thing too and give holidays to get your head straight and energy for real social relationships.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Man of MAN I am sick of people just saying a drop in population is good.... it depends on HOW a population is dropping!!!

And in Japan its bad news all round, LOOK at this population pyramid:

https://countrydigest.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Japan-population-pyramid-2016.png

NOTE how it is super top heavy & get narrower over time at the bottom!!! At this pace Japanese will cease to exist unless some things change!!

As I see it & others have said same above, quality of LIFE in Japan is pathetic for most & when you add in a NON-existent work-life balance & crappy paying jobs & its no surprise where Japan is headed & it is DOWN.

Population drop IF gradual & balanced would be GREAT, BUT Japan is NOT on that path, LOOK at the oyramid it does not LIE!!!

3 ( +8 / -5 )

@Tokyojoe

So right because people think money can buy everything...

Learn that : just before diying, the most important thing you'll consider to have been happy is that your offpsring (or close family newphews/nieces alike) are in good health.

Living old alone for some time, what an horror movie I wish to escape.

Think long term.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If you’re a woman, would you want to become pregnant during a pandemic?

Would you want to balance an infant/toddler and your daily Zoom meeting in a small apartment? I’ve seen my female coworkers try it. I thought to myself simultaneously “That’s so cute.” And “I’m so glad my kids are basically grown...”

if you were single, would you want to hook up with a new person (if that was your thing pre-Covid)? “Covid-19, like an STD, except you might die!” Sex with a mask on? Seriously, you’re kidding, right?

We are heading for a crash in births and we’d best get used to it. At least 15 years ago a paper was written that said that the ONLY to maintain a stable population was to embrace massive permanent immigration. 600,000 immigrants a year, every year for 20 years. As you can see today, that didn’t gain much traction.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

And this "grass is greener on the other side" is all too typical. Other countries have other serious problems, not just Japan.

Yes, Japan's population is shrinking. It'll force the government to either relax immigration rules, wether it'll be good for Japan or not is another matter, or become less wasteful with tax money.

The health service also needs to change. Making people cough up for an exam isn't exactly helping, especially at this time...

I hear lots of people saying that immigration needs to increase, but be careful with that because it's a temporary solution.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

You were commanded to go forth and multiply. Those that do not heed these words will lose their land and nation, taken by those who do.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

It would be great if everyone cheering on the benefits of a smaller population could also explain the benefits of a much older population that will go hand in hand with it, which is what people are actually concerned about.

Man of MAN I am sick of people just saying a drop in population is good.... it depends on HOW a population is dropping!!!

Rainyday, GW, you are right on the point.

88.08 million in 2065 looks good but when people aged 65 or over will account for 38.4 percent of residents then it is bad!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This situation exists because of selfishness. Not selfishness for those choosing not to have children, but for all those who make it difficult.

No new nurseries because the local residents complain about noise.

No major shift in immigration policy because the LDP oyaji are against it.

Taking leave from work for mother or father is still stigmatised.

All these issues have been debated by those in charge and then promptly shuffled to the bottom of the pile, again and again.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I don't get it.

Many people say the decline in population is good.

But they complain when taxes go higher.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Yes and no, more people at home means more time for sexy time, but 90% of Japanese wives I've met seem to hate having their husbands at home and compare it to looking after another child...

10 ( +12 / -2 )

If you’re a woman, would you want to become pregnant during a pandemic?

Would you want to balance an infant/toddler and your daily Zoom meeting in a small apartment? I’ve seen my female coworkers try it.

This is also part of the problem.

There are two parents presumably in the house.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Having children shoud be praised and give superior social recognition, not be bullied even before giving birth and then be taxed more because you just renew life.

I was shocked by the fact you had to pay a few thousands more yen for each child for one my local tax (municipality ?).

In my home country, you get a tax deduction of course, seeing a future work producer as a social investment which it is, not some future ant to milk before it can think by itself.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

You were commanded to go forth and multiply. Those that do not heed these words will lose their land and nation, taken by those who do.

Who commanded whom to do what?

How does this religious soundbyte apply to Japan?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@toasted

Thanks I can't do it without getting wound up. Maybe they need to provide better support for families.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I was shocked by the fact you had to pay a few thousands more yen for each child for one my local tax (municipality ?).

That's really shocking.

Most places here in Japan allows a big income deduction for kids before tax computation.

And they give monthly allowances for young children too.

Additional tax for kids doesn't really make sense.

Anyway, I said"most places" but don't really know that for sure as I have lived in only two cities but have taken it for granted that it's like that everywhere

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Maybe I'll try to understand my tax statements also, haven't really done so as I don't read Japanese. Was that specifically the residential tax that charges more for every kid?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thanks I can't do it without getting wound up.

Aye, well, if certain people are going to promote a foreign belief system, maybe it's alright to suggest that more immigration to this wonderful land will be healthy in increasing the population.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

To solve the population problem in Japan, give automatic citizenship to 12million middle eastern, south Asian and African young people.

they will work for low wages thus stimulating the economy. They tend to have an average of 5 children so the young tax paying population can fund Japanese retirees.

their life expectancy is very much lower than Japanese, so they won’t drain Japanese pension schemes.

We can put a 10% tariff on all “new citizens” sending money back to their home countries, using this windfall to pay for integration and assimilation.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

@ toasted

More immigration does seem a good answer. My daughter lives the place as I'm sure many others would too. I would but don't think I'd be much use in increasing the population.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Loves the place. See to old.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@kurisupisuToday  07:18 am JST

Japan began encouraging people in earnest to have more babies in the early 1990s

How did Japan do this?

Tax breaks for workers?

No.

A tax reform?

No.

Grants to buy property?

No.

Grants for children in higher education?

No

There is a distinct lack of ideas in evidence.

i think they urged people!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

For a country that plugs itself as being a rich country their economy seems very fickle and fraught with doom and gloom for the immediate future.

This scenario of an aging population was first documented some 40 odd years ago and they’ve done nothing to prepare for the inevitable.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Yep, go to the countries with small populations and you'll definitely find that "business and service" has disappeared: Switzerland, Singapore, Norway, New Zealand, Denmark, Luxembourg, and so on.

Go to rural Japan. Services at bare minimum. Ghost homes. Economy wrecked. Youth gone. That is the effect of depopulation that is reality, not fantasy statement like the one above.

Population decline drags down the GDP for various reasons.

Demography was closely linked to Alvin Hansen’s original 1930s theory of “secular stagnation” — a situation of entrenched low growth and interest rates — which has been revived in recent years.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Gee... Japan’s birth rate peaked in 1947 when the nation’s economy was in tatters. Maybe, just maybe, the politicians and economists who claim that the birth rate is low and might sink lower because of weak economic conditions don’t have a clue what they are talking about.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I was told by a Japanese lady it also costs the parents 270.000 yen to pay for the medical care whilst you'r having a baby, is this true? it is chargeable as its not classed as a medical emergency, its a want. (as she put it). if this is the case it does not help some a family if they want to start a family, plus the extra cost in a nursery for the baby IF the mother goes back to work, or not if she stops at home, but then they have to live on one wage, its a tough call.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

And no immigration won't help us because it's low and not welcomed in Japan.

Well, I guess that’s that then.

Everyone knows that when you see a hurdle the best path is just to 180 and forget it was there.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Is it not more likely that the number of deaths from the virus among the elderly will offset any decline in the birthrate? And whether the elderly die or infants are not born, it has the same net effect on the population figure...

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Japan has done absolutely nothing to encourage people to have kids..actually the opposite in fact!!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

they will work for low wages thus stimulating the economy. 

Indeed. Low wages are really good for an economy. If more of us settled for lower wages, we'd all be better off.

Feel free to set an example.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"... bureaucrats are skeptical about whether the state can secure financial resources to implement such measures since the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the state coffers.

"Financial resources are nowhere in sight," said one government official involved in efforts to turn the declining birth rate tide."

That will continue to be the case as long as the government prioritizes military spending over social spending...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I was told by a Japanese lady it also costs the parents 270.000 yen to pay for the medical care whilst you'r having a baby, is this true? it is chargeable as its not classed as a medical emergency, its a want.

I have two kids born here and neither one cost anywhere near that much (at least in terms of giving birth to them). Child #2 had a serious condition and was born in the NICU, and she and wife were in hospital for a while. But even in that case the cost to us was way less than that (can’t remember the exact amount, but it was trivial).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Simple. If you want people to have more babies offer us more tax breaks, more rebates otherwise who can afford to have more than two kids in Tokyo?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well its not for my lack of trying, I'm in the production business.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To the government:

build many more affordable (public) daycare centers

pay daycare workers living salaries (and offer benefits)

create a variety of financial incentives for having kids

create and strictly enforce "overwork" related laws

It's not brain science

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I was told by a Japanese lady it also costs the parents 270.000 yen to pay for the medical care whilst you'r having a baby, is this true? 

I'm a bit out of touch, but that roughly matches the numbers when our kids were born. Health insurance didn't apply to childbirth, but there was a "gift payment" given out by the local city/ward office (¥100,000 at the time). Also, if there are complications, such a requiring a cesarian, then health insurance does apply (and you still get the gift).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well, they COULD ask couples to isolate together, or reopen some popular dating sites and just hope and pray for the best -- that's what they do with the commute to work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interesting, with JAPANESE must stay home rules...yet not producing babies ???.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The government cannot have any impact on the number of children couples have other than at the margins. Government freebies will not encourage women to have a larger number of children that they want to have. Three, four, five kids doesn’t comport with the lifestyles of modern Japanese women.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I hear lots of people saying that immigration needs to increase, but be careful with that because it's a temporary solution.

I agree. High levels of Immigration is a temporary solution with long term negative impacts. Why would Japanese people want to homogenize themselves? Why turn Japan into some other place? The Japanese appreciate their own history and culture and want to preserve it as it is. It’s what makes Japan interesting and different.

The Japanese are going to endure the population decline and all of the related negative consequences. Japan has more foreign residents but so far way too few to substantially alter the nation’s culture. That is how it should be. Why would anyone want to make every country alike?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Welcome to modern urban society. It breeds less children and has the faculties to keep older people alive.

In rural life children are a necessity. The more children the more unpaid labor to do the many chores of farming. In urban society children are expensive pets that take up valuable space in small apartments. There are few extended families in cities to help with the many requirements of child raising.

In a country like Japan, nutrition and advanced medical care keep people alive longer. If this was the 16th century, I would have been dead 20 years ago.

I have a simple solution for old people. Don't force them to retire. Then there would be less of labor shortage.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I agree that if there are enough daycare centers for babies and kids, it could be a significant factor for families to decide to have (more) children.

More financial support and incentives would be of limited value if there aren't enough daycare centers as those who won't be able to avail of daycare services for their kids stands to lose the whole income if they can't work.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"For a country that plugs itself as being a rich country "

They are; very rich indeed.

Negligent foreign debt, Word's largest creditor for over 20 years and counting. Huge overseas investors.

The IMF says they're rich.

The World Bank says they're rich.

Therefore, they're rich.

Even if you've got your own ideas and doubts.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I agree that if there are enough daycare centers for babies and kids, it could be a significant factor for families to decide to have (more) children.

I'm not sure that's the right way forward. I'm perhaps a bit old-fashioned, but I see putting young kids in daycare as a desperate step. If you're doing it in order to "pursue a career", then you should pay for it. If you're doing it because you need to work to earn a living, then is the problem not the need to work rather than the lack of daycare facilities? We seem to have gone backwards in this regard. It used to be fairly normal to only have one out-to-work breadwinnner in the family (usually dad) when the kids were young. It would be good to return to having that option (but not necessarily with dad). I thinks that's one area where the idea of a basic guaranteed income could help.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Its around $70,000 for private day care per child. That makes working not worth while. A woman, especially a non Japanese woman, forced to be entirely dependent on her husband financially, in Japan means she's vulnerable to abuse. She cannot leave as is unable to support herself and the kids. Forget a settlement or alimony, how will she pay for a lawyer, and anyway the courts take years if the husband refuses a divorce. A woman needs to work for her own safety. Bitter experience here. I'm middle aged and my life was destroyed by having kids in Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Childbirth is not a disease, that's why it's not covered by insurance. If you can't afford 270,000 yen for the hospital stay, you probably shouldn't be having children.

Childcare is about on par with other first-world countries.

Older Japanese (large voting block) aren't willing to pay more taxes for government support of children. They grew up in the tattered remains of a nation with the infrastructure and economy destroyed by war, so you won't get much sympathy.

Japan should invest in deconstruction. Instead of paying people to pour cement, pay them to break up cement to make parks and green areas in anticipation of 1/3 less people, stores, houses, cars in the future.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

And no-one brings up any issues with Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan with lower growth than Japan, so I hardly see any negatives for a policy of depopulation. Its a win-win for Japan, no question.

Are you kidding? South Korea’s birthrate is considered a major crisis in that country, it is a huge issue there.

Also, all of those countries either have immigration that offsets its low birthrate (Italy) or had their birthrate fall below replacement levels later than Japan, meaning their populations haven’t begun to shrink yet and thus it isn’t acute an issue there yet like it is here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why have you fallen for the false mantra of "growth" pushed by central banks and business. There's more to life than buying cheap plastic stuff every day.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Childbirth is not a disease, that's why it's not covered by insurance.

Where did you ever get the silly idea that only diseases are covered by insurance? I've had health insurance cover injuries and other non-disease issues.

If you can't afford 270,000 yen for the hospital stay, you probably shouldn't be having children.

What? The government DOES cover childbirth here.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is a world-wide problem. Demographers are predicting that in 20 years, Russia will be a Muslim majority country. China will start shrinking too in a couple of years.

Also, you can't force women to have babies. Sweden has very generous social programs but Swedes don't want to have children so that country has to import lots of fertile foreigners.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

You know, the odd part about all this, is that I thought that would have the opposite effect. Because with the stay at home orders, couples have a lot more time at home, so that way they’ll have more intimate time with each other.

But obviously that is a good point about the whole rising unemployment. I just wonder though, that with couples who aren’t unemployed, if what I was saying before, would happen. I guess only time will tell.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What? The government DOES cover childbirth here.

Yes, I agree, but the total amount may not be covered depending on the hospital and if there are some extras not in a "natural" childbirth. The other poster was saying he/she had to pay 270,000 yen.

There's a 420,000 yen allowance that goes to the hospital or the insured. Most hospitals require a 100,000 yen deposit. Notice I said the word "most," so please don't be anal about it.

Childbirth is considered a natural event. The allowance reflects that to support parents. You're being pedantic.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Maybe if they weren't being forced to work into the grave with insane hours? Also complete weekends off? Also increases in wages?

Y'know, basic human rights stuff

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It would be great if everyone cheering on the benefits of a smaller population could also explain the benefits of a much older population that will go hand in hand with it, 

Happy to help. You are thinking short term as opposed to long term. The older population will bring some problems for a generation or two at most. However, taking the short term approach and increasing the population will cause infinitely greater problems long term. And the irony is that those short term problems you were trying to avoid will come anyway - but they'll be worse. The books have to be balanced at some point - there is no avoiding that.

This is all moot anyway, since people will choose not to have children when faced with a contracting economy, declining resources, pollution and a frightening future.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Happy to help. You are thinking short term as opposed to long term. The older population will bring some problems for a generation or two at most. 

Oh OK, so the problems will just last for the entirety of my life and that of my children? No need for concern then, obviously. Silly of me to be thinking so short term.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

People forget that people age.

If birth rate continues to decline there will be a bigger and bigger part of the population composed of the elderly.

The problem will exacerbate as time goes by, not disappear in the short term.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Since Japan has been effected by this C19 virus and a lot of people have been off, or working from home, I wonder if the birth rate will go up next year?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What? The government DOES cover childbirth here.

The government does cover partially childbirth and pregnancy related fees but only a portion of it with coupons for the medical check-ups and through payment of a lump sum for the birth. This is because pregnancy is not a sickness so it is not covered by the health insurance (except for C-sections or medical issues during pregnancy/birth).

You'll have to pay whatever the coupons/lump sum do not cover.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Since Japan has been effected by this C19 virus and a lot of people have been off, or working from home, I wonder if the birth rate will go up next year?

I think divorce rate will be much higher than birth rate

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What do you Japan will seriously consider dual citizenship ?

It's a way to keep up the numbers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Fears"? Must everything be sexed up to meaninglessness? Concerns? Worries? Beliefs? Suggestions? Yes. Fears? No.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I live in the countryside. I have noticed that when people get married here, they tend to have children and often more than two.

The inaka in Japan is like another country. Great food in large portions, relaxed atmosphere. I dont know about the people however. I heard they live in clans that have been in some of those mura or villages for hundreds of years and dont like outsiders.

I wouldnt want to work on a fishing boat, or farm.

Kumamoto is a very nice place, I like it there. Tokyo and surrounding area is hell, for me. Extreme heat, crowded trains, gloomy racist people, cramped living, over priced food horrible summers and miserable winters.

The inaka however in Japan is very nice. There is allot of diversity in food and nature. Even if there are racist people there, I think it would be far better than Tokyo because so much to do

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think allot of J guys dont get married because its just too mendokusai. Inlaws nagging and wife pressures.The wedding ceremony cost allot, all kinds of family obligations, dynamics. Same goes for women so they just work, save money and go on trips. Watch TV and stare at the iphone all day.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There needs to be a full-blown effort to get young people in Tokyo to move back to the prefectures, with interest-free loans to build or renovate a house. There is a HUGE stock of vacated housing, some of which can be renovated, some of which should be torn down and the plot rebuilt upon.

The other angle needs to be to encourage companies to allow more remote work, and subsidize (in the form of tax write-offs) the Shinkansen tickets back to Tokyo for a meeting once or twice a month.

I work a 'big city corporate job' remotely from rural western Massachusetts where my son has miles of hilly woods and streams to play in behind the house. If I was living in Boston paying twice the living expenses with 5% of the personal physical space, my wife and I might still be childless.

I really believe that Japan will only be saved by decentralizing Tokyo and going back to the furusato.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh OK, so the problems will just last for the entirety of my life and that of my children? No need for concern then, obviously. Silly of me to be thinking so short term.

In (most of) our lives, our species only thought of their own lives, leading us to a position where our children will be forced to alter their behavior in order to fix our planet over multiple generations.

So no worries, you won't have to deal with it. It's their problem.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You'll have to pay whatever the coupons/lump sum do not cover.

We had a private room, both times, wife stayed for a week, and it was covered.

As well as all her prenatal checkups.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The inaka in Japan is like another country. Great food in large portions, relaxed atmosphere. I dont know about the people however. I heard they live in clans that have been in some of those mura or villages for hundreds of years and dont like outsiders.

I lived in the countryside for the first eight years I was in Japan. I rarely found anything other than curiosity, friendship, and the occasional racially discriminatory comments made without negative intent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh OK, so the problems will just last for the entirety of my life and that of my children?

Depends on the age of your children. But for you, since you (and I) are part of the age group that created this problem, we have no right to complain and even less right to ruin our children's and grandchildren's futures (and destroy the environment) to pay for our frivolous spending. Simply put, it's not a population issue, but a financial mismanagement issue. Do you really want your kids and grandkids to suffer just so you can live your last days in comfort you can't afford?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

But for you, since you (and I) are part of the age group that created this problem

This makes zero sense. I had absolutely nothing to do with creating Japan’s demographic problem. Its birth rate went below replacement levels in 1975, before I was born. Also, I’ve had two kids.

have no right to complain and even less right to ruin our children's and grandchildren's futures (and destroy the environment) to pay for our frivolous spending. 

OK, you obviously weren’t even reading what I wrote when you made that “happy to help” comment. I specifically asked someone to explain to me why an older society, which is what everyone is concerned about, is beneficial in itself without resorting to simply repeating the arguments in favor of a smaller population.

Do you really want your kids and grandkids to suffer just so you can live your last days in comfort you can't afford?

You aren’t raising your kids in Japan, right? Because if you were, you wouldn’t find any of what you are saying convincing. Because you clearly haven’t got a clue about this, which is why when I ask for specifics I get this drivel. My days in comfort? I’m looking at my kid’s futures right now. I don’t want them to have to live in a society that looks like an old age home and where most economic activity is oriented around catering to the needs of old timers (like myself when the time comes) and not the needs of their generation.

Have you ever even set foot in this country? The countryside here provides a depressing vision of things to come. Villages where the youngest people are in their 60s. Where there are no schools, hospitals or even grocery stores because all services are retreating in the face of demographic decline. Where the only news people talk about is who died this week. Where the number of houses sitting empty and crumbling increases year by year.

This is happening right now. This is spreading to more and more places as a trend that started in remote hamlets 40 years ago is affecting small cities now, and will even be playing out in prefectural capitals in the next decade or so.

So this sanctimonious crap is useless, tell me specifically why THESE things are not something to worry about and why I should apparently welcome the thought of my kids living their lives in this because doing otherwise is selfish??

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm not surprised though. I mean who, as a woman wants a feminine man who doesn't take responsibility for himself, regularly cheats, is stingy, and doesn't know how to treat women? Sorry but Japanese men are like this in many cases. I would never think of having children with such a man. Luckily I have mainly dated Japanese men educated abroad so they actually know how to treat women with respect. Until that changes, I'm not surprised Japanese women don't want to have children. No financial security to bring up a family, no man to feel secure with that he would actually have you back in certain situations, everything needs to be done to please him (what about your needs?) etc - all of these things will kill passion faster than anything so probably better to stay single/don't have children in all respects. Better off happy alone than in an unhappy relationship.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This makes zero sense. I had absolutely nothing to do with creating Japan’s demographic problem.

I didn't say you. I said your (our) generation. And I didn't say demographic problem. I said financial mismanagement. The "demographic problem" is only a problem because it exposed decades of this mismanagement.

You aren’t raising your kids in Japan, right? Have you ever even set foot in this country? 

Spent 30 years here, raising a family, doing business, hiring people... And my kids births both cost well over 300,000.

I don’t want them to have to live in a society that looks like an old age home and where most economic activity is oriented around catering to the needs of old timers (like myself when the time comes) and not the needs of their generation.

Then you should agree with me rather than argue. Your solution is to create more babies and young people so the same problem will occur on a larger scale for a later generation? Destroying our planet in the process? The solution is to accept a smaller population. Some villages will revert to nature. This is the natural flow of life. Populations must decline at some point. Sure, it's more fun to be in a booming and growing population - but we live in the time we are given. On the bright side, a smaller population mean cheaper land, better pay for workers and less stress on the environment.

Honestly, I have no idea what you want. You want more people. more babies? Until when? When does the population growth stop? When we do it by choice, or when it is done for us by the environment, war, starvation, drought or whatever? All that sounds a lot worse than growing up in an aging society.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I didn't say you. I said your (our) generation. And I didn't say demographic problem.

This is an article specifically about Japan’s demographic problem and that is specifically what I was talking about when you deigned to intervene in the discussion.

I said financial mismanagement.

OK, but you didn’t explain anything about that, or how it relates to the demographic problem, either.

Spent 30 years here, raising a family, doing business, hiring people... And my kids births both cost well over 300,000.

Great, so why don’t you have anything relevant to say?

Then you should agree with me rather than argue.

You haven’t actually given me anything worth agreeing to.

Your solution is to create more babies and young people so the same problem will occur on a larger scale for a later generation? 

I never said I wanted more people, I said I wanted an explanation from the de population cheerleaders like yourself about how the actual concrete problems that Japan is facing due to its graying society are going to be dealt with. But you aren’t giving me that so I’ll assume you can’t just like everyone else who keeps hammering the same generic points about world overpopulation when the topic of the article is JAPAN’S demographic problem.

The solution is to accept a smaller population.

No, it isn’t, but I’m not going to follow you down that line of debate anyway. The article is about Japan’s demographic problem and not about global resource depletion, environmental degradation, etc.

This is the natural flow of life. Populations must decline at some point. Sure, it's more fun to be in a booming and growing population - but we live in the time we are given. 

Ah, so its just fate and we should be content to sing Kumbaya while society crumbles around us because actually doing something about it would offend Gaia or something?

Very useful advice, thank you for that practical observation.

On the bright side, a smaller population mean cheaper land, better pay for workers and less stress on the environment.

Hooray, except that the land in the country is already so cheap that they are giving it away.

Honestly, I have no idea what you want. 

I’ve been pretty explicit about what I want. I want an explanation for how these very real concernsI’ve outlined will be dealt with by the de population cheerleaders who seem intent on ignoring them. If I understand your position it basically amounts to “Lets just let it happen, mother Earth demands it and screw you for raising these concerns in the first place”. Understood.

You want more people. more babies?

An increase in population? No. But the math is clear, if Japan doesn’t do something to stabilize its population at some point by raising its birth rate to replacement levels, the problem will spiral out of control.I want to know how that will be avoided.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan's aging crisis

So many problems, nothing being done.

Hey Japan, maybe NOW's the time to change it up? Adapt to 2020? Just a thought.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Have you ever even set foot in this country? The countryside here provides a depressing vision of things to come. Villages where the youngest people are in their 60s. Where there are no schools, hospitals or even grocery stores because all services are retreating in the face of demographic decline. Where the only news people talk about is who died this week. Where the number of houses sitting empty and crumbling increases year by year.

This is happening right now. This is spreading to more and more places as a trend that started in remote hamlets 40 years ago is affecting small cities now, and will even be playing out in prefectural capitals in the next decade or so.

Thats interesting, I didnt know that, but it makes sense. That would definitely suck, but I dont think its that way everywhere. Osaka, Tokyo and all the way out to Saitama, not good, IMO.

Kumomoto, Shizouka, Yamanashi, really nice places in spring, summer. The vibe in southern Japan is pretty good. Some of the most fresh and great food you will eat anywhere.

I seen these guys living in cabins, and were using the run off water for a little hydro electric project. Those little villages deep in the mountains, are really cool, at least to visit anyway.

I hate absolutely hate Tokyo, its one of the most stressful cities in the world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'd think the pandemic would have the opposite effect. Couples staying at home together with more time on their hands.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, Japanese sexless marriages are still sexless marriages, just more time spent in different rooms ignoring each other.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'd think the pandemic would have the opposite effect. Couples staying at home together with more time on their hands.

Kind of how it's working out here. ^_^ Shame were a tad old for making babies. Mom is 52 and we have a 5 1/2 yo so not bad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Every developed nation is experiencing the same thing. The total fertility rate (number of babies born per woman) is a mere 0.87. Taiwan is at 1.14. South Korea is 1.29. Poland, Greece and Romania are all at 1.38. Japan is at 1.43, Germany at 1.47. Canada, which has lots of low density housing and spread out suburbs has a total fertility rate of only 1.57. China and Russia are at 1.6. The US is at 1.84, higher than Vietnam's 1.77. Isn't that a howl? Sweden and New Zealand, both at 1.87 have the most fertile women. The replacement fertility rate is about 2.05 babies per woman. Of the developed nations only France is there at 2.06. Places like the US, Australia and Canada are able to replenish their populations through immigration. It's not without problems but in my estimation it beats what happens when your population ages and declines. Watch what happens to China over the next few decades. Nobody immigrates there, especially since Chairman Xi took power. They face stagnation and decline.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes, of course, closed entertainment and restaurants, kissing through masks at distances of 1.5 meters and communication or even touching each other only by remote computer applications will definitely solve the problem, supported and triggered by loud #metoo campaigns.....lol

1 ( +1 / -0 )

PLEASE do not use this excuse. It's nonsense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is an article specifically about Japan’s demographic problem and that is specifically what I was talking about when you deigned to intervene in the discussion.

You are talking in circles The demographic problem is actually a financial problem - that's all. The government will not have enough tax revenue to fulfill its promises. That's a financial problem. You rant about demographics, but don't present any reason for it. Some villages and neighborhoods will die off. So? Sorry for "deigning to join he discussion," but that's what comments are for. We all get to talk.

But the math is clear, if Japan doesn’t do something to stabilize its population at some point by raising its birth rate to replacement levels, the problem will spiral out of control.

Absolute nonsense - what kind of strange math are you talking about? The problem will spiral out of control how? The population will go to zero? Honestly?? When population levels reach an agreeable point, they start to increase again. That's the way it works.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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