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Gov't targets boosting birth rate to increase economic growth

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Announcing hopeful targets is what passes for policy these days. But no one is holding anyone to account so it matters not and it looks busy, which is all that seems to matter.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Bad news for robot makers.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

However, others warn the government has fallen so far behind on the population issue that it will be difficult to raise economic growth without opening up to large-scale immigration.

This is the most correct, Japan has know for over 2 decades its population was headed south, this DIDNT start happening a few years ago DUH!

And once again the govt picks a few symptoms to tackle & completely misses the PROBLEMS!.

The biggest is work life balance, there simply ISNT any for most people here & that is whats causing this.

Simply pushing to get a few more women to work more, lower standards for daycare AINT going to fix this.

My prediction is the birthrate will continue to head south, at this rate its going to take a miracle to keep it where its at let alone raise by any substantial margin.

Just look at the math of most peoples lives, particularly young people, they don't make enough money to consider getting married, they don't have enough time to start or maintain a family......

Come on you dim wits cant you see the bloody obvious!

Again as I have been harping for years Japan MUST re-invent itself pretty much wholesale to have a chance, I don't see anything at present even remotely making a significant difference here.

But there is plenty happening that will make things harder for people to have relationships & families!

20 ( +24 / -4 )

...loosening regulations on childcare providers Other proposals the government will consider are easing the tax burden for some part-time employees and making interest-free loans available for higher education.

These steps don't seem to be confronting "the demographic problem head on and place particular emphasis on policies that will contribute to raising the birth rate,” to me!~

How about making all health care related to pregnancy and birth free like they are here in NZ and other nations? They would immediately make having a baby less of a financial burden.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Promises, "want-to-do", plans, and ...."I want to confront the demographic problem head on ...."

Which or whose head is he talking about. Because so far I have not seen any benefit from the promised "arrows"!

And I totally agree with "igloobuyer" ... make health care related to pregnancy free, make the education system free and you will probably see results. Do something for the children, for the future generations!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

GDP is an aggregate anyway. So yes, more people mean higher GDP, but that has nothing to do with the country's economic health. Bigger ain't better. The countries with the highest social-economic levels all have small populations.

Corporations want larger markets, that's basically behind this push. LIving standards of the common people are not a factor.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Of the many solutions that should be taken, I think the most important one is simply encouraging men and women in Japan to mingle much more frequently. At the early elementary school level boys and girls in Japan seem to interact 'normally,' but society steps in and separates them once signs of puberty emerge.

Rather than continually clamping down on teenage dating and individual pursuits outside the context of school (like part-time jobs), these things should be encouraged as a healthy form of transition into adulthood.

Also, teenagers should be encouraged to babysit from time to time. As it now stands, because the notion of teenagers babysitting is almost non-existent in Japan and highly discouraged. As a result, when people reach 20-something adulthood they often have no concept of child-rearing, particularly given that a large percentage of the younger generation are/were raised in only-child households. As a father now, my time as a teenager babysitting for other families and taking care of my younger siblings certainly helped me imagine myself becoming a parent.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I have to agree with most of the comments, the issue is what Japanese are brought up to become; and that is slaves to the company. Work place ethics need to change, mandatory overtime needs to go, the next generation is not going to want to raise a family they cannot be around for.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Because it's just not crowded enough yet.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

A good way to assist people in increasing the birthdate is by allowing them time to have kids. Point out black companies, encourage less overtime, incourage people to take their holidays....basically teach about a work/life balance. Then, increase daycares by giving tax breaks to big companies who will host in house daycares. The government has to realize that the 3 generation households are rare no and women can't do all the child raising on their own.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Immigrants have lots of babies.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Japan plans to include steps to raise the birth rate, such easier access to childcare and tax incentives, in a package of reforms due this month to tackle the biggest bottleneck to economic growth.

Here is what I posted yesterday about the article on Abe wanting to lower the corporate tax rate:

Folks, you are all getting worked up about something that is just a good smoke screen/P.R. Japan will announce 3rd quarter GDP numbers shortly, and they are likley to show another period of contraction, or, at best, a miniscule increase. This after almost three years of "Abenomics". All he is trying to do is get ahead of that news, and attempt to show he has some ideas to turn things around. And you can bet that on the same day they announce the bad GDP numbers, they will also announce a supplemental spending plan, or something similar. This is just political cover.

The exact same thing can be said here. In fact, the GDP numbers must be even worse than has been predicted. The "three arrows" of Abenomics have proven to be complete failures, so he is simply trying to do something, anything, to try to deflect criticism. Face it, the horse has left the barn on both these issues -- corporate taxes have been way too high for way too long, thus discouraging foreign investment for at least two decades, and, as this article states, it will take a couple of generations to get Japan's birthrate up to the needed level. Just rearranging the deck chairs now.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Frankly, there are too many people whose main business is making others busy.

Get wise to these wastes of space and oxygen, get productive, and live.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

All I hear is 'blah blah blah'. Same old spiel from the government.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Everyone in Japan already knows everything that everyone is posting.

There, that should settle it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Corporations want larger markets, that's basically behind this push. LIving standards of the common people are not a factor.

Corporations, especially those in exporting businesses also want a large pool of labor. And banks want a large pool of both young people and immigrants to go into debt for housing, education, and for immigrants, getting set up in their new country. All boost GDP, but have no effect on the living standards and prosperity of everybody else. And the people who developed GDP never claimed it did have such an effect. In fact they explicitly said it was not a measure of prosperity.

As for the birth rate itself, a low birth rate is a function of a malfunctioning economy, not the other way around. The Japanese government is basically treating the sickness by trying to make the symptoms go away. They will have zero success.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Abe and his cronies won't be around to see the problems this will cause. Just words…he really doesn't care.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I want to confront the demographic problem head on and place particular emphasis on policies that will contribute to raising the birth rate,” Abe said on Thursday after a cabinet meeting.

Blah Blah

others warn the government has fallen so far behind on the population issue that it will be difficult to raise economic growth without opening up to large-scale immigration

Not difficult. Impossible.

“There is a lack of childcare facilities and improving this is important,” said Hiroshi Shiraishi, senior economist at BNP Paribas Securities. “However, this will not boost growth in the next five years. The more direct way is through immigration.”

Exactly.

Abe wants to raise the birth rate to 1.8 per woman from 1.42 currently by loosening regulations on childcare providers and making it easier for women to return to work after their child is born.

He could start by getting rid of the clause which heavily taxes back to work mothers. Like I said, blah blah.

The idea is to prevent the population from falling below 100 million from around 127 million currently. Advanced economies usually require a birth rate around 2.1 children per woman simply to keep the population stable.

There you have it. How on earth are you going to keep the pop. stable at 100m? Abe's ambitious goal is a birthrate of 1.8. he can't even do that. They need 2.1 just to KEEP the pop from declining. Impossible. Its math.

Because it's just not crowded enough yet.

Its not crowded at all if you don't live in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto, or Nagoya. May I suggest John, you take a trip to Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, or ANYWHERE in Honshu outside of 5 the big cities mentioned above. Nowhere else is crowded. That's just a myth like all foreigners are tall and all Japanese are short.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

They've been doing this for decades. Ain't gonna work.

There is only one solution to Japan's declining population:

Immigration.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It's all about employment and money. How can one expect to bring up a family in Japan when the minimum wage is so low that a person can barely survive by themselves. Take in to account that one has to pay health insurance, pension, citizen tax and if owning a car, car tax etc. Not everyone can secure a high paying job- that is just the way society works.

As an example in New Zealand, public hospitals are free, there are no additional payments for health insurance or pension. There is also an accident compensation scheme funded by business. One can enter in to their own health insurance or additional pension scheme. All this is covered through the New Zealand tax take. The minimum wage is a liveable wage unlike in Japan. New Zealand also gives assistance for those with families.

The New Zealand consumption like tax ( GST) is higher at 15% but at least the people get social benefits in return for it.

I can not understand how Japan with all it's taxes can not return some of it for the people. If a small country like New Zealand can do it, why can't a supposedly richer country like Japan do it. After all, where does the government think taxes come from ? Where does all the money go ?

Until Japan can work to take the burden off the Japanese people by removing double taxes, some of which should fall under the umbrella of the consumption tax and work to reduce food prices and raise wages, there won't be much children raising.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The government should look at Edogawa ward. Tokyo has a fertility rate of 1.1 babies per woman but the rate in Edogawa is higher than the national average (1.5). I believe there are several reasons for this. There are many nurseries, the local government offers their own "child allowance" on top of what the country gives, there are many schools, parks, etc. If the government offers substantial tax breaks for families with 3 kids, we may see a further rise. The key is providing incentives to families who already have kids to have one more. It's much easier to go from 2 to 3, rather than from 0 to 1.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

“I want to run my mouth and push people around so I can feel like a big shot, but I really don't have any answers,” Abe said on Thursday after a cabinet meeting.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Actions speak louder than words...and so far these words mean very very little. I also would encourage a system in which older people (who are able to) can work past 60, especially in occupations requiring skills, knowledge and experience.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you ask Japanese people whether they would accept larger immigration numbers to maintain the national economy at its current level as top 5 in the world and may will reply "No". Many will tell you they don't mind the national economy dropping to the top 25 or so world wide in order to maintain the population of the Japanese race at 94%.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Let the population decline. Japan, and the entire world, has more than enough people. It's not like we've done a good job as custodians of this earth so why contribute further to the destruction?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Increase the economy to raise the birthrate? This is totally backward. People don't get married and have babied because they do not feel financially secure. More people are part timers or contract workers and don't know if they will have a job tomorrow.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is the paradox: People are not having babies because of the instability of the economic future of Japan, but Japan needs to increase the birth rate to stabilise its economic future.

Whether Japan likes it or not, the only answer is immigration!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

It takes at least 20 years until the babies grow and become work forces while receiving immigrants has instant effects though it may cause various unknown problems.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Tax breaks and easier childcare are helpful, but you have to spend time with your partner to actually create a child. The ridiculous and arbitrary work relocation system in Japan creates, essentially, single-parent households even if the husband doesn't move out completely. Which many do. How do they not factor in the fact that it's hard enough to get pregnant if you have sex several times a week, given the timing required in even the best case scenario? Add to that the fact that you might only get busy several nights a year, and they're lucky women here are giving birth at all.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@kickboard

The government should look at Edogawa ward. Tokyo has a fertility rate of 1.1 babies per woman but the rate in Edogawa is higher than the national average (1.5). I believe there are several reasons for this. There are many nurseries, the local government offers their own "child allowance" on top of what the country gives, there are many schools, parks, etc.

I lived in Edogawa for over 4 years. Edogawa is a shining example of everything that's wrong with Japan.

1) Exhorbitant taxes - I was on a slightly-above average wage (still not great, though), yet I was paying almost ¥100,000 a month in TAXES (city / health / pension) alone. It's the young, single workers that keep that place going. How are they expected to save to get married & start a family? I had no choice but to get out.

2) Too many elderly people - All the clinics are packed all day with elderly people. With Japan having the highest hospital visitation rate in the world, Edogawa is the worst of the worst. More burden on the taxpayer. Which brings me to my next point:

3) Plenty of families - entirely supported by the younger generations slaving away on the minimum wage. You see very, very few young people in Edogawa. Certainly very few young families.

4) Very few parks - too crowded. Very dangerous at night. Supermarkets are also a nightmare.

5) Unlike the rest of Tokyo, East Tokyo has been totally abandoned by the Metropolitan Government. There are only 3 train lines that have to ferry over a MILLION people to & from work daily. I was on the Toei Shinjuku line & it's one of the main reasons I moved. Like the Tozai line - absolute nightmare. You only have to look at a subway map to see where I'm coming from.

6) High crime rate - Yaks everywhere. Not exactly a family-friendly atmosphere, let me tell you.

7) Pachinko parlours everywhere - more Yaks.

8) Tiny blocks of land with terrible access - the real shitamachi is no place for kids.

I could easily get to 50 on this list, but I think that will suffice.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

american_bengoshiNOV. 13, 2015 - 09:18AM JST If you ask Japanese people whether they would accept larger immigration numbers to maintain the national economy at its current level as top 5 in the world and may will reply "No". Many will tell you they don't mind the national economy dropping to the top 25 or so world wide in order to maintain the population of the Japanese race at 94%.

There is no such thing as the 'Japanese race'. Japanese are an ethic group of mixed race. Actually Japan is also made up of various ethnicities as well (Ainu, Ryukyu etc.) The myth of the 'one race' was a fabrication by the Meiji government to create national unity after years of warring factions.

Japanese are no different to any other country before mass immigration begins - nervous and afraid of what 'might' happen. Same thing happened in the UK 40 years ago when Indians and Africans began to come in large numbers.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

What's the point of having a family if you have no time to spend with them? It's the Japanese culture of work, work, work that makes the thought of getting married feel like a burden. In fact, I seem to remember someone saying that it's not that married couples aren't making children, it's that less people are getting married.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@igloobuyer: I disagree. The Japanese piblic has the benefit of hindsight. They've seen the turmoil and social chaos that large scale immigration has brought to other countries and how it's ruined some countries. Japanese people would be wise to strongly resist increased immigration. I doesn't lead to creating a Utopia as some liberals would have us believe. It leads to societal chaos and ruin.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

I think they may be 2 reasons.

People think is easier the life without children. peoples expectations to decide have children are superior that the reality offers them.
1 ( +2 / -1 )

Thats what the Chinese just did..... Come on Abe, you can do better than that!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Judging from my friends and co-workers here, I really have to disagree with all the theories about how the economy or social conditions as the main factors playing to the psyches of young couples not having more babies.

I've never heard anyone say: "Taxes are too high and I don't make enough, hence I'm not going to have more kids" or "There aren't enough pre-schools and parks, hence I'm going to refrain from having kids", etc.

Sounds like armchair sociology to me, at least its more or less detached from the voices of young couples around me. Most of them are turned off from the workload (of raising a child) after their first. In other words they value their own "single-life style" enjoyment of life over the presumed enjoyment that can be had from having more kids (like being able to travel overseas, etc)

And this isn't a pattern that's only present in my Japanese friends neither, many of my friends back in Canada are very much the same regardless of what tax-bracket they're in.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Everyone focussing on immigration is correct. Those wanting to make pregnancy-related healthcare free aren't thinking about what that actually means. Who pays for this cheaper healthcare and education? The taxpayer, or more accurately the workforce. A workforce, that is getting smaller by the year. So your solution is to increase the tax burden on a decreasing workforce. Kids born this year will be the same economic burden as those who are retiring this year. The current raising of taxes is just the tip of the iceberg, it's about to become a real nightmare. Not only will the population decrease because of birthrate, but Japanese people/families will have to leave. Either taxes will skyrocket and/or the ederly will be left without pensions, healthcare/education won't be affordable and crime will increase dramatically as people/families become more desperate. You think you'll get any immigrants at that time? You're more likely to get an apocalyptic wasteland with abandoned cities. The ONLY solution right now is immigration, and it has to be NOW. As mentioned in the comments above, this problem isn't a few years old, anyone studying geography at even a high school level has known about this for around 2 decades. I learnt this 12 years ago at high school (geography is now my major). If any Japanese government during that time was smart, there would've have been a healthy influx of highly skilled immigrants looking for a better lifestyle. Now, the situation is a lot more dire. Japan needs any immigration to increase it's workforce and help carry the impedending tax burden. Only after that happens can you even start to plan raising the birth rate. The most important point when looking at demographics, like anything in life, is balance. You must have a balance between workforce and economically dependant. Right now, Japan's workforce is too small. Raising birth rate now will increase the number of economically dependant dramatically for at least the next two decades... Which is a disaster. Yes, immigration can bring its own problems. Had the government encouraged highly skilled workers and high income families everything would've been fine. Now you need any immigrant you can get. You can always tighten immigration policy when you have enough. But for now, you need immigrants. Forget birth rate right now. Don't make a situation worse with a solution that might sound right. It will create a living hell for everyone in Japan.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Raise salaries period. You want economic growth and population growth just raise salaries. People at the age of reproducing can't make enough to move out of their mother and father's house let alone start their own family. An added benefit to the government is that when salaries go up so does the amount of tax revenues.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Linda JoyceNOV. 13, 2015 - 09:54AM JST Tax breaks and easier childcare are helpful, but you have to spend time with your partner to actually create a child. The ridiculous and arbitrary work relocation system in Japan creates, essentially, single-parent households even if the husband doesn't move out completely. Which many do. How do they not factor in the fact that it's hard enough to get pregnant if you have sex several times a week, given the timing required in even the best case scenario? Add to that the fact that you might only get busy several nights a year, and they're lucky women here are giving birth at all.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Hope Govt officials are reading above comment. to figure out how it can help to promote people wish ro have more babies. **

2 ( +2 / -0 )

american_bengoshiNOV. 13, 2015 - 10:28AM JST @igloobuyer: I disagree. The Japanese piblic has the benefit of hindsight. They've seen the turmoil and social chaos that large scale immigration has brought to other countries and how it's ruined some countries. Japanese people would be wise to strongly resist increased immigration. I doesn't lead to creating a Utopia as some liberals would have us believe. It leads to societal chaos and ruin.

Sure, they have other countries to see how they may have managed immigration poorly (U.K, France). Nut to say immigration 'ruins' and creates 'chaos' is a wild exaggeration. Immigration in NZ and Canada are good examples of how there are vastly more benefits to immigration than drawbacks and certainly no chaos. Ask yourself why NZ and Canada are so socially and economically successful - immigration done right. Japan could learn from THAT.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Now you need any immigrant you can get. You can always tighten immigration policy when you have enough.

@Soohwan Trass: That approach would create an absolute nightmare situation that should be avoided at all costs. Besides, can't close the barn door once it's open. Japanese should refuse large scale immigration and preserve their culture. Foreign immigrants will refuse to assimilate and expect Japanese people to change their way of life to satisfy the immigrants.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

I believe Japanese Govt want to increase Japanese babies, not foreign immigrants. Born abd raised in japanese family environment, .

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Older people (who oppose immigration) at least need to also be willing to take a pension from 67 or 68...many countries with shorter life expectancies do that.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think population of Japan will decrease much much faster than any predictions !! The main reason is Smart Phone !! And not only Japan population but the whole world's population !! Which is a good thing for the overpopulation !! I read somewhere that with this speed Japan's population will be zero in 470 something years .

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Actually, sighclops, Edogawa has the youngest average age among the 23 wards of Tokyo at 41 years. Taito and Kita wards are the highest, at 46. Also, Edogawa has th most kids (under 15) among all 23 wards with around 100,000. I don't know when you lived there, but things have changed quite a bit in the last 5 years.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Gov't targets boosting birth rate to increase economic growth

The problem is they have got it backwards? the vision should be Govt targets boosting economic growth to increase birth rate

2 ( +4 / -2 )

given the number of weirdos whose idea of sexual gratification is to hide in gutters and take upskirt shots or stealing underwear or sitting in maid cafes or any number of other abberant behavior and who find actual human interaction with the opposite sex too stressful, I think it will take more than a government initiative to fix this. not to point out that in most highly developed/affluent societies low birthrate is anyway a problem (which most others deal with by allowing some form of immigration).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Such idiocy. There is so much capital stashed away. Companies literally sitting on billions upon billions of yen, hoarding it all.....simply disperse the wealth in the form of higher wages and you will see people start to support the economy by making purchases.

Increasing the birth rate RIGHT NOW if it were even magically possible still will take 2 decades for it to have any effect on the work force.

What on earth are they blathering on about???

There is this tendency here to be very, very self-destructive and hold on to outdated and archaic thinking even as it actually harms society and leads to disrepair.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Blah blah blah, saw this on the news last night, and heck something to the effect of this pretty much every 2 weeks since I got here like 5 years ago. They won't do anything, they won't up immigration, they won't change the cultural rat traps in this... I can't stand hearing about this stuff.

My husband and I have a young daughter and we would love to have at least one more. But even though we're decently financially well off, it's not enough in this country. Everything is so expensive, and so much extra difficult than back in the States (where I'm from). My husband has a good job with a fairly fluid work schedule but my daughter still barely sees him. From him traveling outside of the US, to being at the office from early morning until evening... The late night meetings, nomikais, press conferences followed by meetings about press conferences and of course a nomikai to celebrate successful press conferences, weddings every damn weekend that cost a fortune, which (naturally) are followed by that one party, and then that other party which wouldn't be complete without an even smaller group of people going out drinking after that. My husband meets once a month with his elementary school swimming club friends for drinks. Are we kidding with this stuff? Not to mention the fact that we could buy a damn 5 bedroom mansion on a friggin' hill back in the states with the same amount it costs to rent a 1 bedroom in Tokyo.

The issue here is so obvious. In Japan it used to be socially unacceptable to not get married and have several children. Since being outside the social circle is basically worse than death in Japan, people just accepted this and found ways to make it work, as people do. Ever since the bubble it's become far more socially normal to remain unmarried or to get married and have no, or maybe 1 child so of course people are opting for this. Unless they make life outside of marriage and family a heck of a lot easier, this won't ever change. It just won't.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Porn....too much easily accessible porn. Dudes just aren't interested in the ladies any more. Partly I jest but I'll bet it's statistically significant.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Its curious, I ve seen many times low income families to be more prone to have several childs than middle or high income families.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@bicultural

Actually, sighclops, Edogawa has the youngest average age among the 23 wards of Tokyo at 41 years. Taito and Kita wards are the highest, at 46. Also, Edogawa has th most kids (under 15) among all 23 wards with around 100,000. I don't know when you lived there, but things have changed quite a bit in the last 5 years.

On paper - that's all good & well, still doesn't take away the fact that's a terrible place to live for young people. It hasn't changed at all in 20 years, trust me.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@azukaya

That's something that happens world wide. I read a paper by one of my professors in college where he was studying the psychology of family planning... I think the main idea was that humans are always trying to find meaning, but in the simplest route for their situation. Rich people (broadly termed) will travel, buy expensive things, etc... Poor people turn to religion, having children, etc. And (if I'm remembering correctly, it's been like 10 years) when you fail to find meaning in the 1st level, all across the board they turn to the 2nd level (drugs, alcohol, gambling). In terms of making life 'meaningful', difficulty of the task is (usually) reversely proportional. In Japan, most people are relatively economically stable, there's a low crime rate, high rate of education... so when finding meaning (according to this professor) they will choose the easiest option, and in Japan that's definitely not having large families. It's just interesting, I'm sure there's lots of studies to read about this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Capitalism is the problem. It is consumption based.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I say this every time this topic comes up but the birthrate is not falling.

The number of babies is falling, because there are fewer women in every generation. That's because the birth rate fell below sustainability (2.1 per woman or whatever it is) about 40 years ago.

Saying the birthrate is falling implies that each adult woman is having fewer babies. This isn't happening on a year to year basis. There are simply fewer women having the same number of babies. There is no need for politicians to blame women for not having as many kids as 10 years ago, because they still having the same number. Conversely, there is no proof that society and its problems in 2015 is making women have fewer kids than they did in 2005, because they aren't. They are still having the same number of babies. There are just fewer women between the ages of 18 (ahem) and 40 something.

The brother of this misconception is that people worldwide are "breeding like rabbits". The number of babies worldwide is pretty much stable and is only really high in Africa. The birthrate in countries like Bangladesh has dropped close to 2, a fact seemingly unknown to about 99% of the Western world who are quick to blame Bangladeshis whenever some strife befalls that country. Once progress is made regarding child mortality and female education across Africa, the number of babies born worldwide will fall. Huge advances have been made against extreme poverty, so this could happen in less than 20 years. The huge increase in global population we are experiencing is caused by people living longer, not more and more babies.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They've been targeting this area for 20 years now

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@25yrsin Japan- Chances are the Kiwis do not have to use such a large proportion of their tax revenues as subsidies - subsidies for elderly LDP voters, or LDP voters who work for national, regional and local bureaucracies, or LDP voters in the construction and agriculture industries... It's money being taken wholesale from metropolitan areas and spread throughout the countryside to keep the party that's always been in power in power. Giving it to women is not going to result in them surrendering their votes.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Many commenters her have noted the Japanese work culture as the primary deterrent to having children. This seems fairly obvious to me as well. When I speak with my foreign friends it is probably accepted by about 80% of them as an enormous detriment to the birthrate. When I speak with my Japanese friends about 80% of them have never thought of any potential causes or solutions to the problem.

What I would suggest is that the Japanese school and work cultures are both working against Japan's progress (in many areas). If children are taught always to be busy in school, all the while never learning critical thinking this problem will persist and grow as they reach adulthood. We will not have the time to raise a family of our own, and we will not have the ability to figure out solutions to it.

I almost feel like there needs to be a social leader to develop who is himself outside of the political process but can rally a few million Japanese people to the ideas that our schools and companies need to loosen the bonds over the monopoly they have on our time week in and week out. I have absolutely no idea who this social leader could be, perhaps a foreigner, perhaps a retired politician, perhaps a doctor. I just hope that it wouldn't be a comedian because his credibility would be shot with most people even if he spoke the truth.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@ kohakuebisu

"Saying the birthrate is falling implies that each adult woman is having fewer babies"

No. You've written about fertility rates. Birth rate is no. of babies born per 1,000 of the population.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Just keep sending the girls to us!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

igloobuyerNOV. 13, 2015 - 10:54AM JST

Immigration in NZ and Canada are good examples of how there are vastly more benefits to immigration than drawbacks and certainly no chaos.

In Canada and NZ, immigration drove the people living there to near extinction. Same can be said of US and Australia.

GW NOV. 13, 2015 - 07:35AM JST

This is the most correct, Japan has know for over 2 decades its population was headed south, this DIDNT start happening a few years ago DUH!

Over 2 decades?

Population of Japan; Birth Rate

1990 123,611; 1.54

1995 125,570; 1.42

2000 126,926; 1.36

2005 127,768; 1.26

2010 128,057; 1.39

2011 127,799; 1.39

2012 127,515; 1.41

2013 127,298; 1.43

The population started to decline in 2011, whereas the birth rate is picking up.

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CH3CHONOV. 13, 2015 - 05:45PM JST igloobuyerNOV. 13, 2015 - 10:54AM JST Immigration in NZ and Canada are good examples of how there are vastly more benefits to immigration than drawbacks and certainly no chaos. In Canada and NZ, immigration drove the people living there to near extinction. Same can be said of US and Australia.

Um, I think you have confused 'immigration' with 'colonization' - cute mistake though I'll give you that. ;)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Back on topic please.

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They can't even do a good job with the kids they have on hand, what's the purpose of having more? Educate our young properly & the problem will solve itself. Really, though, we're taking to the walls.

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Gov't targets boosting birth rate to increase economic growth

I might be wrong but when a family have more income, they can afford more children. So, the Govt should target boosting economics and concentrate on people's income up.

But some people may not be able to become pregnant by their choice or other reasons. Beside that, there are people who choose to be single. Women no longer will be stuck as maid-wife in Japan. And some men love to examine school girls skirt size or pervert.

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" Government targets boosting birthrate to increase economic growth" Lol

While today's headline article reads:

"Survey shows maternity harassment still a problem at workplace"

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In addition to Stuart's point, I'd like to add the problems of suicides by minors and familicide - the killing of one or more adults along with children by a family member. Addressing the birthrate is great, but you should also address the mental health issues that can make being a child a risky proposition in some families and school environments. I feel the emphasis should be on ensuring their survival from conception to adulthood, not just from conception to birth.

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Nothing will change! First the mind set of the country has to change people need to grow up. Women and men have to realize you don't go to college get a degree find a husband or wife at work and she has to the quit working. The country has to become child friendly who ever heard of a child making too much noise that schools or day care has to be carefully silenced. Things will never change unless the people do!

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I don´t think that promote that women keep working after they have their children is going to increase women´s or men´s desire in have children. I think the important reasons why people not want to have children are more fundamental and general, I think they have to do with the fact that many people prefer an easier life and they don´t want to make the sacrifices implied in forming a family or just have expectations to decide have children that are superior to those the reality offers them, but it have to do much more with subjectivity than with the reality. Maybe the problem is that for many people the life is very easy and full of stimulus.

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Maybe they could hire the Sister Wives' husband as a consultant. He's got four wives and 17 children.

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