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Japan's child population falls for 39th straight year to record low

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@ Richard Gallagher

What a load of B. S

You mean women with a café who don't have kids are the good ones, the ones who have decided that life shall carry on are the bad ones ?

When ill or if accident happens, or when retiring do you know where the money to pay all that come from ?

Answer : from others meaning the younger generation compare to you.

I am not saying all wolen to have kids, but too many do nowadays for selfish reasons.

One day, fertility rate shall be above and remain at 2.1...simple maths.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@GW

Very good and wise post.

Indeed, the fact that nowadays female only chose to wish to marry not among their acquaintances but in view of their view of all males in the world, is not good for demography.

I could testify by experience.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan isn’t a mess though, at least in this context. People aren’t homeless or starving or out of work due to overpopulation like they are in countries where it is a problem. What specific problems that Japan faces today will be solved by a declining population of young people? 

I didn't say Japan was a mess. But even so, declining population is good all around.

the number of sub Saharan Africans migrating to Europe is miniscule relative to the rate of population growth. Its not a significant factor in explaining why the birth rate there remains so high.

You have a point. Yet, these countries are losing their most motivated youth to Europe, when such motivated people would be better off fixing things at home.

services and life lines are becoming more centralized, not less. Schools, hospitals, stores, railway lines - these things are all being shut down in rural areas and concentrated in cities, a trend that shows zero signs of abating and all signs of accelerating. 

You are missing the bigger picture. It is widely agreed among those who study these trends that decentralization is the wave of the future. I spent a week this year listening to UN urbanization experts discussing just this issue. As we know, Japan often is the last to get on board. Decentralization will happen, and it may happen quickly as Japan catches up.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There are a record number of virgins in Japan now. In world war 2 there were 80 million Japanese people. I am sure Japan will survive.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Child support is yet another problem in Japan, as it is a Non Tax Deductible Expense,

and so many parents are left to care for the children alone, with no laws to enforce child support payments.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

tmarieMay 5 01:20 pm JST“having sky high expectations has repercussions, simple as that”

Expecting men to parent and attempt to look after themselves and their offspring is “sky high expectations?”

To clarify I was referring to women's expectations well BEFORE marriage, in the west they are sky high, like the 3   6's you know 6ft 6figures, sixpack etc . Women are much more picky than men, I have read many times how women dismiss about 80% of men as unattractive in online dating(which in & of itself is a joke for the most part anyway), so that is why we have 80% of women chasing 10-20% of the men, it makes for a disaster all round & THAT is what it is in the west for sure, plus getting married means you are pretty much guaranteed to be divorced(70%+ women initiating) & all this mess was way before the metoo thing. And if you are male that means you will lose financially & emotionally almost guaranteed.

As for parenting in Japan, its a disaster for all men & women, unless the societal norms start changing imo its going to suck bigtime for BOTH men & women period! Neither sex has it easy at present in Japan, in fact its a real grind on everyone for the most part.

Plenty of women here want careers. They end up giving up because men here do not step up. How many men on JT step up? I see a lot of women being blamed for the population crisis but from where I sit, it’s not the women at fault. Who holds the power to make changes so both men and women can have better working lives? It’s not the women

.….why don't men step up, seriously, lets clarify,  here in Japan WORKING is AWFUL for the vast majority of people(which are mostly MEN!!) Again that is a big reason most J-ladies want nothing to do with careers. That all said if women want to pursue they can, difficult, for sure, but no one is stopping them from trying, men don't have some magic wand to grant women their wishes in the workplace.

As for the birthrate, I don't want to blame anyone, but the simple fact is women(and men) wait & marry later in life than decades before, that is their rightful choice, but of course doing so will impact birth rates, its unavoidable. Also biology IS a thing, once past 30 & certainly past 35 conceiving can be VERY difficult & $$$$ if you go IVF etc.

It is what it is, I am merely commenting on what I see around me, not who is right or wrong, people are FREE to make choices BUT all choices have consequences, affect results etc

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Having a kid in Japan is like taking out a 24,000,000 JPY Loan for 20 Years, not to mention the wife too LOL.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think many people assume that the "stay at home" thing will result in a Baby Boom in Japan and other countries. Some say these babies will be called "Coronials". I think there might be a few of them, but the reality is that its really, really difficult to date during this pandemic and that there will be a huge decrease in new births and marriages, especially since people are losing their jobs and because of the economic uncertainty. I think marriages are likely to be delayed. Even online dating is difficult because many coffee shops and parks are closed making that 'first date' something of an act of unlawfulness. Sucks to be single during this pandemic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If poor childcare support, the patriarchy, floundering economy, low paying jobs, etc, are the main reasons for Japan's low birthrate then why do many countries have far superior birth rates despite being far worse off in the above matters?

Statistics show that Japan's historical fertility rate of 4-5 children per woman plummeted to 1.8 within 35 years of WWII, while Japan economically boomed. 

While the above are factors, it seems that economic prosperity and resultant materialism might be bigger contributors. 

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1033777/fertility-rate-japan-1800-2020/

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Studies on OECD countries have shown that fertility is higher in countries where women can easily join the workforce and where men are more involved in taking care of home and children. Things really need to change in Japan - employers need a new mindset, where they respect people's need for a home-life, and everyone needs to rethink gender roles, so men get more involved with family and women can more easily have a career.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Still many posting DONT see that Japan's population isn't in decline it is PLUMMETING!!

The big reasons as I see it are:

Extremely low quality of life for BOTH men & women!

Crappy paying jobs

Big cities sucking the life from the rest of the country

If this were true, it should be true across the board, not just for Japan.

Here are some statistics for countries with crappy or non existent jobs

Low quality of life and far far worse.

Niger = 7 live births per woman.

Afghanistan = 4.6

Iraq = 3.8

Haiti = 3

Philippines 2.6

Japan = 1,4

Italy = 1.3

and so on.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependencies_by_total_fertility_rate

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@tmarie,

Absolutely agree with you. That's the problem. Men here think childcare is all on the women. It takes two to tango. What, bringing in the new life for 9 months wasn't enough, we also have to take care of them by ourselves. How selfish you are thinking that way. Not to mention women have their own careers they want to have but have to choose between one or the other.

Because men think women should be slaves here, no wonder people aren't marrying or having children.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Or more like far too many women here dont want to get married to mama-boys!

Best comment of the day!

I would add that a lot of women also don’t want to compete with their husbands for hair care products, make up, and mirror time.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Plenty of women here want careers. They end up giving up because men here do not step up. How many men on JT step up? I see a lot of women being blamed for the population crisis but from where I sit, it’s not the women at fault. Who holds the power to make changes so both men and women can have better working lives? It’s not the women.

Plenty of women in this country are more than happy staying at home and spending the money their husbands earn.

Both men and women have the power to change this. Yes, men do have more power, but that does not mean women have no power.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It is not about finance, career or corona virus, it is all about hapiness.

Life is about future. No future, no will to raise a family.

At the same time, without subsidies, most couples can't have over 2 kids and get a career.

Stop confronting men to women, they are both to blame.

Sorry to say but Japan's current and next generations era are going to be bleak. Better go and see overseas if I were you, by experience. Of course those who get from rich enough families or well educated in Tokyo will tell you life is perfect there. It is for them like it was for me.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Demographics. An overall decrease in the population is fact. The population of elders will decrease. The population will continue to fall. So what? It will decrease impacts on natural resources and require fewer imports. The export markets far outweigh the domestic in terms of corporate profit. Same with financial investment. Pensions? Japan has a fiat currency. As is evident, Japan simply can print money and increase debt - that's where your 100,000 yen (if and when you see it) comes from; 'an increase in the money supply. That debt is domestic aka internal.

As for all the opinions about WHY 'women' are not 'producing' more offspring - all are purely speculative and meaningless. As if it is a matter of 'identifying' a problem and determining an underlying cause, which hence will produce an understanding of fact or a remedy.

To produce additional anecdotal evidence: I know many women in their 30s and 40s who are not married. A large majority own a business, a small shop or cafe, essentially independent and owner run. Owning and operating a business is at the center of their life. A few were professional athletes when young. (Look at Nadeshiko Japan and in the professional soccer leagues now & then, how many are not married) Others are not willing to submit to an annoying mother-in-law or overbearing husband. Some have been shunted into caring for an ill parent or parents alongside holding a FT job. One individual, the first female president of a major Japanese corporation, professed it would not have been possible to marry, have children, let alone take care of her ailing Mother for a decade and pursue her career. They are all, independent, strong-willed and intelligent. Certainly they have relationships and boyfriends, but they are not going to give-up their livelihood to become at home mothers or enter into anything but a relationship of equals with a suitor and possible husband. On a whole, they are some of the finest human beings I know or have come across in a lifetime. They are not married, let alone with children for an array of complex reasons, there is no baseline or underlying shared reasoning.

To take a different example: The USA would be better off with 100 million.

There are too many people everywhere. And reductions in populations are inevitable, as should be apparent as of late. As the seas rise, as the planet warms, as natural disasters increase - it will take a creative and imaginative response which will probably not be forthcoming, the present disaster isn't even a warm-up. That the concern for a decrease in population is mostly an economic concern is to mark such as grossly ignorant, if not totally vapid.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

10% sales tax was the wrong direction to take. It should go back to 5%, or 0% like it was in the 80's when Japan prospered the most.

Also, I think there should be more cuts to politicians' salaries, and definitely lower the number of politicians.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“having sky high expectations has repercussions, simple as that”

Expecting men to parent and attempt to look after themselves and their offspring is “sky high expectations?”

Plenty of women here want careers. They end up giving up because men here do not step up. How many men on JT step up? I see a lot of women being blamed for the population crisis but from where I sit, it’s not the women at fault. Who holds the power to make changes so both men and women can have better working lives? It’s not the women.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

while I am expecting that there might be a surge of "quarantine" babies being born months from now since people are confined at home for longer, I also agree with the comments above that the global human population does not really need to grow so much.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

*IVF

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Subsides and help with rent or mortgage. 

Daycare for single parents free. 

Subsides baby food, dipers. 

Subsidize IFV.

Increase worker efficiency so people can go home at a decent hour and help raise children instead of looking busy.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Make it easier and more affordable to have children.

Subsides and help with rent or mortgage.

Daycare for single parents free.

Subsides baby food, dipers.

Having children it's not cheap, easy, or time affordable.

The government should be like another family member to help financially or in any other way possible.

If a war happens you have to fight and die for your country.

If another Fukushima happens who's running inside the reactor? Won't be the old people passing laws I can tell you that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Still many posting DONT see that Japan's population isn't in decline it is PLUMMETING!!

The big reasons as I see it are:

Extremely low quality of life for BOTH men & women!

Crappy paying jobs

Big cities sucking the life from the rest of the country

The only solution is to focus in the village areas. The divorce rate is much lower than cities. People value family more the city dwellers. I suggest for a mother with four kids, give her 15 man yen every month for 20 years apart from the child support. So that he can take care the children well, She can take care the parents well ( no need care home support). If she have 5 or six children then increase the support to 20 man a month. More over they should get subsidized food and clothing. Do it for next 20 years. Japan can solve the population problems. Other wise the few young people should carry the total burden of Japan and the sales tax may increase to 50% to cop up with the expenses to take care the old who are alive in the care homes. Bringing millions of workers from the other nations will cause the same problems the Europe is facing now. Raising up own citizen is the only way Japan can survive as Japan.

Something like this may be the last hope for Japan but may already be too late, even if the birth rate were to jump to 2+ the decline is likely to continue, the country is literally dying!

Your Post is exactly why many women here don’t want kids. You’ve put all the onus on mothers and forgotten that dads should also step up and parent. Why is the birthday declining? Because women know they deserve better.

I disagree, the vast majority of women in Japan have NO INTEREST in becoming career women, they can SEE how crappy it is for men & want nothing to do with it!!

Non Partys idea would help BOTH men & women & would not change any woman's career aspirations, again very few women want to do this in Japan & I suspect they never will.

The fact is that changes women have & are making in the west has made for REAL changes in population dynamics, it cant be otherwise, this isn't blaming women, simply stating the obvious.

Japan becoming more like western women will NOT help Japan with its population issues, women's choices(which they are perfectly free to pursue in my opinion) have affects on society overall, waiting to marry later etc, having sky high expectations has repercussions, simple as that

3 ( +4 / -1 )

One reason their birthrates are booming is because they can export their offspring to Europe to send money back to them or to enable the whole family to move north.If my neighbor's yard is a mess, it doesn't mean I can't have a clean yard. 

Japan isn’t a mess though, at least in this context. People aren’t homeless or starving or out of work due to overpopulation like they are in countries where it is a problem. What specific problems that Japan faces today will be solved by a declining population of young people? Its not going to make Tokyo less crowded.

One reason their birthrates are booming is because they can export their offspring to Europe to send money back to them or to enable the whole family to move north.

This is just nonsense, the number of sub Saharan Africans migrating to Europe is miniscule relative to the rate of population growth. Its not a significant factor in explaining why the birth rate there remains so high.

Whatever - this is no reason for Japan not to have a smaller population.

There are lots of reasons for Japan to avoid a greying population which have been enunciated on here too many times to be worth repeating. You can’t just magically wave them out of existence by pretending they aren’t there.

And there already is growing interest in rural living among younger people.

This is just nonsense too, there is a massive level of net migration among young people from rural to urban areas, not the other way around. That is just a fact. Yeah, there are some young people attracted to the amenities of rural life, but they are a tiny minority and overwhelmingly outnumbered by youth fleeing rural areas for the cities.

That trend will grow as decentralization increases.

This too is just wishful thinking not grounded in any understanding of reality. Services and life lines are becoming more centralized, not less. Schools, hospitals, stores, railway lines - these things are all being shut down in rural areas and concentrated in cities, a trend that shows zero signs of abating and all signs of accelerating. It is getting more and more difficult to live in rural areas, not less.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Would love to have another. It's way too hard in Japan unless you already have the personality and self-sacrifice of a kindergarten teacher. Women are expected to give up absolutely everything about themselves from the second they have a child until that child gets married. There's basically no middle ground. Unless your dream in life is to be a full-time caregiver every moment of the day, I'd almost advise not having children in Japan. It's too hard to navigate, especially if you were raised in a society where women have more options. I used to try to be more optimistic but it doesn't matter anymore. Japan won't ever change. If you're a woman in Japan either give up everything about your life before children, or don't have kids. Otherwise you've got one heck of un uphill battle.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The laws allowing women to give birth are all in place... its the mindset of both women in Japan and more importantly their usually male bosses.

In a more fundamental level, the problem is with seishain and lifetime employment. Many of the same bosses will not employ any man who already has work experience, and certainly not on a wage that reflects his skills. Any man who won't do unlimited overtime may also be punished. An inflexible system will punish everyone who needs flexibility.

On the childcare issue, I vastly prefer the idea of child-benefit/UBI for parents to free or heavily subsidized childcare. The latter encourages bad parents to get any old job and not look after their own kids. Anyone not using childcare saves society a fortune and this should be recognized.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

commanteerToday  10:01 am JST

i know so many now in their 30s and 40s here in Japan that want children but can't conceive. Perhaps this is an issue that should also be discussed

Not much to discuss. The human body wasn't designed to give birth to a first child in the 30s or 40s. It's always going to be more difficult.

I meant that though they have tried, they could never conceive and now in their 30s/40s don't have children. most have given up trying.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

i know so many now in their 30s and 40s here in Japan that want children but can't conceive. Perhaps this is an issue that should also be discussed

Not much to discuss. The human body wasn't designed to give birth to a first child in the 30s or 40s. It's always going to be more difficult.

Sub Saharan Africa, where birth rates remain way too high. Japan having fewer kids isn’t going to do anything to improve the situation there.

If my neighbor's yard is a mess, it doesn't mean I can't have a clean yard. Reducing the population is essential, and will happen. Let Sub Saharan Africans deal with their own decisions. One reason their birthrates are booming is because they can export their offspring to Europe to send money back to them or to enable the whole family to move north. Enforce borders, and that will force these countries to shape up or fail on their own. Whatever - this is no reason for Japan not to have a smaller population. In fact, it is the developed countries like Japan that are depleting resources and causing pollution and environmental problems in places like Sub Saharan Africa. Reduced populations work all around.

Nonsense. Tohoku and other provincial areas will be desolated, while the majority still cram into densely-populated megacities on the Pacific coast.

You are using current circumstances and technology to predict a future that will have very different circumstances and technology. Tokyo, believe it or not, is not all of Japan. And there already is growing interest in rural living among younger people. That trend will grow as decentralization increases.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

And that’s what japan needs but “womenomics” truly is about using women as cheap and disposable labour.

Exactly. Womenomics, like Abenomics, is a charade; it's nothing more than exploiting women as cheap labour, because without women to exploit Japan would need to import even more foreign "trainees".

If the rate of decline continues, there will be more space for everyone in Japan

Nonsense. Tohoku and other provincial areas will be desolated, while the majority still cram into densely-populated megacities on the Pacific coast.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Any nation that allows itself to develop such demographic problems like Japan is doomed to have economic difficulties and even eventual failure.

Whether it be for society or personal benefit, you never lose by having kids, My mother had more than a handful of kids and while it was tough raising them, they are taking care of her in her old age when she can't take care of herself. And I don't regret the sacrifices I'm making to raise my bunch.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

There are many factors related to the falling birth rate.

Or more like far too many women here dont want to get married to mama-boys!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The government has set a goal of lifting the total fertility rate -- the average number of children born to a woman -- to 1.8 by the end of fiscal 2025, from 1.42 in 2018.

Easy to say, difficult to do, when the government does little to really help!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are economic reasons, for sure. But there are also socio-cultural reasons. Most couples don't want to have more than two kids, it's considered kind of the "good" number.

Mosts salarymen families, with a stable economic situation, won't like to have 3-4 kids. If you ask students at the uni, they all have this idea in their mind already: smaller family = less compromises and an easier to manage life.

Not to count the many people that don't want to have kids, or the odd ones that cannot find a couple to live with. Not the best country in the world for interpersonal relationships.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

There is likely to be the "second baby boom" after this disaster in Japan - so expect these figures to bounce back very strongly.

However, de-population is not necessarily a bad thing. If the rate of decline continues, there will be more space for everyone in Japan, less impact on nature, and become easy to get seats on any train and hospital beds. In some places, like Akita for instance, by 2050 just a handful of people will live in the whole prefecture. Very peaceful lifestyle!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Free nursery school for stay at home moms doesn’t fix the issue of a lack of daycare shortage for women who want careers. Daycare is also not free for 0-3 so again, the government is punishing working women who want careers AND kids. That’s not going to solve any issues. It’s window dressing.

A population crisis but not enough daycares so they make kindergarten free for families that can clearly afford to have one parent staying home or working a PT job to stay under the spouse benefits salary cap? Where’s the logic? I get it helps those families but again, not helping career focused women. And that’s what japan needs but “womenomics” truly is about using women as cheap and disposable labour. Women will continue to not have kids until this government sits down with women aged 18-30 and asks them what they need in terms of support.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Fair call.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

WHAT efforts?

In fairness, there have been some efforts. Kindergarten became free from last October and, as the parent of a kindergarten student, I can say that relieved us of a fairly major financial burden associated with raising a child. So the government is putting some money where its mouth is, but yeah, there are bigger issues out there which they aren’t tackling so the birth rate is going to remain low.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

despite efforts to tackle the long-standing issue of a declining birthrate.

WHAT efforts?

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to tackle the nation's declining and aging population by implementing measures to promote women's empowerment in society

Ahhh a pledge that's why nothing has changed except it being even more difficult to have children. Guess it's a legacy of sorts.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There are many factors related to the falling birth rate. A major one is women putting off having children to much later in life. Unless employed in the public sector, education or medical fields, it is very difficult for women to rejoin the workforce. The average age for both marriage and childbirth is rising. This leads to many women finding out all too late the surprising fact that women have a better chance of pregnancy at 15 years old than 30.

The laws allowing women to give birth are all in place... its the mindset of both women in Japan and more importantly their usually male bosses.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The population of Japan is over 120 million, all squeezed into a country a fraction of the size of America that has over 300 million people. You do the math and compare percentage wise. 

Not denying that it is crowded in the cities, but Japan’s population density (333 persons per km2) is lower than Belgium, Holland, South Korea and a lot of other countries. Its only marginally higher than the UK and Germany.

The world needs less of overpopulation in order to conserve natural resources for future generations.

Yeah, but Japan’s population going down isn’t going to solve any global problems. Overpopulation is a huge problem in parts of South Asia, though birth rates are declining there, and Sub Saharan Africa, where birth rates remain way too high. Japan having fewer kids isn’t going to do anything to improve the situation there.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

“I suggest for a mother with four kids, give her 15 man yen every month for 20 years apart from the child support. So that he can take care the children well, She can take care the parents well ( no need care home support). If she have 5 or six children then increase the support to 20 man a month.”

Your Post is exactly why many women here don’t want kids. You’ve put all the onus on mothers and forgotten that dads should also step up and parent. Why is the birthday declining? Because women know they deserve better.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

> JCosplayToday  07:20 am JST

@oldman_13 You know, that’s a very good point. And even though in recent years I’ve become more concerned about the rapidly aging population in Japan, I always knew that for a fact. I mean, with how densely populated the urban centers are, a slightly declining population, might actually be a good thing after all. At least in the short term anyway.

> oldman_13Today  07:00 am JST

Here we go again.

The population of Japan is over 120 million, all squeezed into a country a fraction of the size of America that has over 300 million people. You do the math and compare percentage wise.

The world needs less of overpopulation in order to conserve natural resources for future generations.

Its actually more densely populated than you think. Yes, it's a small country, but even then only 23% is arable land, and 90+% of the population lives in less than 15% of the total land area.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So in 30 years, no one will pay for our pension. Better allocate our money somewhere else.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

i know so many now in their 30s and 40s here in Japan that want children but can't conceive. Perhaps this is an issue that should also be discussed.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The only solution is to focus in the village areas. The divorce rate is much lower than cities. People value family more the city dwellers. I suggest for a mother with four kids, give her 15 man yen every month for 20 years apart from the child support. So that he can take care the children well, She can take care the parents well ( no need care home support). If she have 5 or six children then increase the support to 20 man a month. More over they should get subsidized food and clothing. Do it for next 20 years. Japan can solve the population problems. Other wise the few young people should carry the total burden of Japan and the sales tax may increase to 50% to cop up with the expenses to take care the old who are alive in the care homes. Bringing millions of workers from the other nations will cause the same problems the Europe is facing now. Raising up own citizen is the only way Japan can survive as Japan.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

@oldman_13 You know, that’s a very good point. And even though in recent years I’ve become more concerned about the rapidly aging population in Japan, I always knew that for a fact. I mean, with how densely populated the urban centers are, a slightly declining population, might actually be a good thing after all. At least in the short term anyway.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Here we go again.

The population of Japan is over 120 million, all squeezed into a country a fraction of the size of America that has over 300 million people. You do the math and compare percentage wise.

The world needs less of overpopulation in order to conserve natural resources for future generations.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

is understandable who wants to have children in Japan? life is hard ! At the moment 4K people live in the internet cafe, many free meals restaurant for children they starving. !

9 ( +14 / -5 )

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