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Gov't to tackle maternity harassment, day care to slow population decline

49 Comments
By Stanley White

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It may be too little too late. Also allow people who are of sound mind to work longer, abolish these silly until '60 rules".

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Abenomics boosted asset prices and corporate earnings when Abe took office almost three years ago, but many households felt left out.

No kidding, this is the heart of Abenomics, ensure the zaibatsu get their cut, and then let the rest "trickle down". Sound familiar?

7 ( +12 / -5 )

All that rhetoric means, "we urge companies to do better".

When any change comes to mind the government only urges, unless it's something the government that will directly benefit themselves.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The Supreme Court handed a partial victory to a woman who sued her former employer for being demoted during pregnancy.

Well, sort of. But, as usual, it fudged the issue. It invalidated a ruling in favor of the former employer, made by a high court in Hiroshima. The Supreme Court did not hand down its own rulings, though it did say demoting a female employee against her will because of pregnancy is acceptable only when the employer can offer a compelling reason for the action. However, perhaps with political will getting behind maternity harassment the Supreme will be able to stand up and make a real decision. It depends on how sincere the political will is and how well the judges can read it.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Had to check the date on this as I am sure it's almost the exact same as last week's article and probably 5 before it. It still doesn't have any specific solutions, laws or information...still just a pipe dream I guess.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

"“The second stage of Abenomics is about strengthening the foundations of childcare and welfare to improve the economy,” said Abe said after a meeting Thursday with cabinet ministers."

Say what, the second stage? What happened to the first one? Did I miss something?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Can't believe that this is even a topic in the 21st century in a country that is support to be in the top 5 leading world countries.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

It would be nice if one day I could read an article about Abe's plans to drag Japan into a state of functioning modernity where the headline isn't phrased as an infinitive, i.e. a potential future in a state of non-completion.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Here is the same old political propaganda we've been hearing for three years with no changes what-so-ever! Every few months we hear him spouting off about how he's going to do this and that to increase the birth rate, but there is still one point he is missing. It's not just the difficulties of the beginning of life that is stopping people having babies. It's the end of the their lives too. If you ask any person in their mid-20's how the feel about getting a pension most of them will tell you they don't expect to get one at all! The huge lack of aged care facilities is also contributing to the declining birth rate by having many young 'potential' mothers stuck at home as full time careers of their ageing and ill parents and/or grandparents. Abe is the lip-service king!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Zaibatsu uber alles is what he is talking about.

He puts these plans out into the ether so it can be on record that he said something but, in actual fact, how many people do you know PERSONALLY that have actually benefitted from any of the disappating words that he spits out of his lie hole?

Every few months or so, he blbs on about what "Abenomics" is and what "stage" we are in now and how he is "committed" to creating a beautiful society where everyone has a role...blah, blah, blah....

Jeez, just take a look at the picture of him in the article. He looks like a Sith lord in that lighting.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Encourage all Japanese living abroad to come home.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Won't do anything because it absolutely WON'T get done. You can't cut family tax breaks, allow these private day cares to limit people and then have unlicensed places doing the same, expect everyone to work (dual income), and expect more children, and all while raising every tax (except corporate) and reducing the volume of goods you get for your money.

Abe is proposing more miracle arrows that do not exist.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

They actually going to punish companies who allow "mata hara" to continue? No? Then nothing will change.

Are they going to punish companies who use pregnacy against mothers when it comes to recontracting or promotions? No? Then nothing will change.

Are thing going to punish companies who use taking pat leave against fathers when it comes to recontracting or promotions? No? Then nothing will change.

Are they going to punish companies who demand silly overtime of their workers? No? Then nothing will change.

Abe can spout on and on about all of these changes and proposals but until the government actually puts its mouth where its money is and starts punishing folks for abusing their staff, nothing will change.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

These measures are a joke.

The problem is far bigger than the anemic solutions Abe is proposing.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I think people shouldn't overreact here.

I did read last week that they are planning to form a Committee to explore the creation of a Panel which will, in turn, debate the merits of a Task Force that can propose ideas for a Special Bureau, which will thereby determine Special Procedures in order to form a Panel of Trustees to weigh the pros and cons of establishing a Commission to outline the steps required by the Board of Directors to voice concerns about this most vexing issue.

Or maybe not.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

i can't be sure but i think this story was just cut and pasted from last month and the month before, and the...the biz mentality in j-companies are not conducive to nails that stick out. and instead of hammering them down, they get pulled out. ain't nothing gonna change.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

“The second stage of Abenomics is about

How about completing the first stage first, and evaluating the results, before going off on a different tangent?

After three years of Abenomics we've had two technical recessions. The first one could be put down to a blip caused by consumption being brought forward ahead of the 2014 consumption tax hike, but no such excuses exist for the current recession.

Abenomics boosted asset prices and corporate earnings when Abe took office almost three years ago, but many households felt left out.

criticism that his policies are not trickling down.

Had there been more in the way of first stage 3rd arrow reforms to boost confidence in Japan's economic future, corporates and individuals may have invested more of their earnings, and new business ventures may have sprung up, generating more attractive employment opportunities, as happens in properly functioning economies in other parts of the world.

But in Japan there is an aversion to reform and change, and the same old stale companies with no fresh ideas keep capital and labour locked up, effectively ensuring that the economy stagnates.

the government would focus more on childcare, welfare and the re-distribution of wealth

So he's focusing on how to slice up the pizza, rather than ordering another one, or at least a bigger one.

Just get out of the way, and let free markets take a bigger role in determining the supply of childcare and welfare. There is too much useless bureaucracy which holds the economy back. Less bureaucracy, not more, would surely help.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

In every company I worked at in Japan, during lunches, talks of politics were always a hot subject. 99% of Japanese I had regular lunches with hate their government. How would you feel someone you hate tell you what to do ? ... exactly!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Because maternity harassment and day care are the problems with the economy! Not giving billions on dollars away to other countries or raising taxes (decreasing spending) or selecting contractors before designs are complete or spending millions of dollars on logos were you didn't research the designer very well

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Can't say I've had a lot of lunches with Japanese people that want to talk about politics.

I think that might be part of the problem. When a new prime minister or cabinet comes to power, the people on the street just say that they hope the politicians will "do their best".

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Trying to encourage women to work (through a guise of protecting them) while simultaneously convincing them to have babies is a bit like trying to go north and south at the same time. Not saying its impossible, but Japan is going to have to do even more than western nations to pull it off, yet Japan is clearly doing a lot less although perhaps talking a lot more.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Yep, That oughta do it Abe; ya turkey. Still, more support is a small step in the right direction, the finish line a bit further though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Even if all of the women in Japan became pregnant tomorrow, those kids won't become tax paying citizens until 2034 at the earliest and 2038 if they go to university.

The only thing that will truly stop the population decline in Japan (and all other first world nations) without immigration are life extension technologies.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think that these articles tend to focus more in women; but I wonder what happen with men; do they want to have a family and have children? and If not, what is happening with them?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think that these articles tend to focus more in women; but I wonder what happen with men; do they want to have a family and have children? and If not, what is happening with them?

In this country men are never thought about when it comes to families having kids. It's all the women's doing and men are mere cash machines. Or at least this is how the population views it for the most part. Which is the damn problem of why people aren't having kid because the men can't afford it and women don't want to work under the horrific working conditions men suffer through.

Let's be honest. Until things are better for the MEN of this country when it comes to work, very few women are going to want to work FT. Very few can survive on one salary with kids. Meh. Preaching to the choir. Yet the bloody government STILL doesn't get it.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Abe is proposing more miracle arrows that do not exist.

Agreed. Nabe is all talk as usual

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Energy woes over! Natural gas plant found in Nagatacho.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Time to play Government Press Release Bingo! We all know the language being used here, which will never materialise into anything - and then we go around the carousel of 'urgent action' for 2016. Just face the music, guys.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@azukaya Not entirely sure your point is clearly articulated, but childless couples might very well be offended by the idea of an "easier life" or one not making "sacrifices."

You write: "Maybe the problem is that for many people the life is very easy and full of stimulus." This is where you are mistaken. It is not a "problem" at all. It is a joy. Life is, in fact, full of stimulus, and that's why we have opted to share it as a couple.

I'm 40. My wife is 41. We have chosen to remain childless because we thoroughly enjoy our life together. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with this path. No problems, whatsoever.

Are there things that could have swayed us, say, ten years ago? Perhaps. A life less dominated by school and school related activities would be number one. It's just not something we would want for ourselves, or, our own child.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@tmarie So you are saying that a marriage can’t generate enough “money & free time combo” to have children; but I have another question. Why in other countries where the income of families (even adding 2 incomes) are lower than the income you find in Japanese families (even in one income families), and where women have to work all the day and have reluctantly to look for someone else to take care of their children (I know that it happens in Mexico), they not have low birthrates?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ok here I go with my broken record AGAIN!

Japan needs a new RESTORATION! A full on comprehensive plan to re-think pretty much EVRYTHING, the way things are Japan is well down the road to ruin.

The biggie work-life balance needs done, right now is a complete mess for most families. People need to be at work 8hrs & then GO HOME, until this happens there is precious little chance of there being families with children in the numbers needed to manage the decline of the population

Big cities MUST be de-centralized, peoples commutes to/from work MUST be greatly reduced

Comprehensive AFFORDABLE daycare & senior retirement options for mere mortals again nearby

Govt needs to massively cut its wasteful ways, I figure there is EASILY 20% waste at MINIMUM that could be dealt with quickly. Bloated bureaucracies need to be trimmed/disbanded. Paying taxes needs to be simplified

There is more but without a REAL plan to do REAL things, this stupid spouting off about taking care of some of the symptoms with vague speeches is only sending Japan closer to the cliff.

Honestly I think it will have to get MUCH worse before there is even a slight chance of changes. Thank goodness we have no kids here! Also I can see the birthrate diving lower & lower & then Japanese who can will increasingly start leaving Japan(this is already happening).

Again I would LOVE to be proven wrong but I doubt I will be.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Miguel, I don't really have an answer for you except to say culture and birth control. Plenty of other countries don't have the vast amounts of options for birth control or it is engrained via religion not to use it as often. I think when you look at Mexico it is pretty easy to see that many love kids and big families are cultural based as children are seen to bring happiness. Here? People often see kids as pain in the butt due to the school system (PTA, entrance exams, keeping up with the neighbours with piano, eikaiwa, dance...). Kids here are seen as a blessing by some but overall society sees them as a tiring burden who needs their mommy to be with them 24 hours a day. Clearly this line of thinking isn't helping anyone.

I don't really know many moms who want more kids. One, two is enough for them and they are constantly complaining about how busy they are. Japan. Where one needs to pack a full day of activities and busy work to complain to others about. I don't think there really is that attitude in just relaxing and playing with your kids while they are small. I could be wrong on it but I don't see it. Kids in my area are thrown into every activity under the sun and that costs money. Don't think that is normal in non Asian countries but I could be wrong.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Tackling Japan’s rapidly aging and declining population has become an urgent task

the Japanese government is aware of this issue for decades, and apparently it "has become [...] urgent" just now. "Slow to embrace change" doesn't even start to describe it !

It's not even a matter of "if" or "when" it's going to happen. Now that it has happened, what will Japan and the Japanese people do to make sure the future generations will have the same access to a stable life than their elders ? If the government keeps the same passive attitude, they better prepare for some social unrest in the next decades.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@tmarie I can say you that the lack of child control is not the reason, at least not in Mexico. Certainly the difference is that here children are desired and in Japan not. In Mexico, especially between families with low incomes and when the wife not work, they tend to have several children, and for these mothers their children are their main reason for live, children are never seen like a burden even if it means that the parents have to make sacrifices. We could say that it means a cultural difference, but I think it is more profound; it is not coincidence that low birthrate comes of the hand with modern style of life and wealth. And maybe it is not surprising; where I´ve seen that more women have more children is where they understand it like what it is supposed women have to do when grow up and where there are not much more to do outside the family sphere anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The problem is far bigger than the solutions Abe is proposing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@tmaire I forgot to say that there is a big difference between men too. Where women have more children men tend to be willing to have a stable job and make whatever is necessary to support his family; in other hand, in places where the birthrate is low, I’ve seen that men tend to want to only work in what they like most and in the conditions they like, without giving much importance to how much money they are making.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NATIONAL Gov't to tackle maternity harassment.

Tackle? Legislate for heavens sake!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

To tackle this, Government has to really interfere directly! Human rights gone to dogs these days,!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I think deep down many Japanese don't really care to improve things (for the country anyway). Many still have it too easy even as others work themselves to death.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is one piece of the puzzle.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a contrast! While over 90% of African countries have a population of below 50 million people each and encouraging family planning methods to match with the economy, Japan is encouraging the contrary. This certifies Japan's economic stability and the proposed strategies should be encouraged or you import african workforce. (this I say on a light note)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan is a lost child that doesn't understand US liberalism or european socialism!

The US liberalism gives chances to everyone, willingly taking in to account that in reality more then half of the population won't succeed in anything and live with a huge deficite in healthcare, pension, while killing their life at work. However can indeed a strong individual change the course of his and his family life . . . . this prospect alone keeps liberalism alive.

Socialism is more down to earth and says that we are all equal, that no business or economic advantage of a few can rule the wealth of a country, people get an equal health care, equal pension and the government helps to model the economie to keep the nessessary founds in the treasury to finance social equilibirum.

US liberalism and european socialism work hand in hand however . . . . a reality forgotten by liberals and socialists. Europe would be a dark shit hole without american liberalism and the US a dictatorship with out european social thinking.

Japan has copied all of this without understanding any of it. Liberalism is welcomed when japan expands oversea, ultraconservative socialism - called it even communism is accepted as compatible with the domestic culture of forced social order.

Japan can infact show the world how to combine modern liberalism with socialism and create a new society for the 22th century . . . or go back to militarism. The success will lie in the cultural exchange of j-politicains with their foreign counterparts.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

With all of the talk of the ageing population of Japan; there seems to be a bigger issue at hand. That is the future of Japanese people as a whole. Is the Japanese becoming an extinct ethnic grouping, that is dying off as the population declines? What will Japan look like in the next one hundred years? Will japan look barren of its native inhabitants? Will the Japanese be a people we will read about in history books, or are they the canary in the coal mine? In the human race heading towards its swan song as a species, and can't see its own demise because it can't see beyond the simple dollars and cents. Money can bring you riches beyond the dream of avarice, but can't keep you from heading into extinction. Our money; or our lives. When does it all begin?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here we go again, Japan will attack Japanese problems... or not

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Encourage all Japanese living abroad to come home.

Why in the world would we want to do that??! We're having a great life outside of Japan! Shorter working hours, more space, kids get to see their dad more often, cheaper cost of living. Give up all this and go back to a tiny apartment, crazy working hours and school pressures? No thanks!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan has set its sights on stopping maternity harassment, increasing day care centers and allowing more workers to take time off after childbirth in a bid to slow its declining population and shore up the economy.

Horse left that barn so long ago it isn't even in view anymore. LOL.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

But neither of these issues is the cause for Japan's declining population. What needs to change is the stupidly high cost of living, and a work environment which requires long hours, and short holidays. People are not having children for two simple reasons, not enough money, and not enough time.

If tariffs and protectionism didn't result in food prices being two or three times higher than other developed countries, people could more easily afford to raise children. If companies were not concentrated in the few metro areas where living costs are astronomical, and homes too small, people would have more children. If Joe Salaryman spent less than 12 hours a day away from home, and was allowed to take vacations more than five days at a time, he would have more time to help raise children.

Maternity harassment and daycare are not the problems here, and addressing these issues is pointless, and will have no effect on the problem at all

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Sangetsu stop making sense, the govt doesn't understand THAT!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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