Take our user survey and make your voice heard.
Babies born in Japan stand the best chance of surviving, a UNICEF report says. Image: UNICEF

Japan is safest place to be born, UNICEF report says


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.


©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Some cultures are better than others. On the other hand, I wonder what the daily number of abortions in Japan is?

-17 ( +12 / -29 )

I would assume that part of the reason is that Japanese women in general don't have the social pressures of the anti-abortion crusaders in the west, so that if there is something physically wrong with the fetus they're far more likely to get an abortion. Nearly all of my close Japanese girlfriends have had at least one abortion, for various reasons.

That coupled with a low rate of poverty, universal healthcare, frequent OBGYN visits while pregnant (with ultrasounds), no real obesity problem (although low birth weight is an issue here) as well as a long hospital stay and (usually) a month with one's mother to help out would contribute to newborn survival rates.

21 ( +24 / -3 )

What? Doctorers routinely deni pain relief, tell mothers they are too fat, it's absurd but understandable given a culture of subservience,

-11 ( +10 / -21 )

Both of my kids were born here, the second had a serious condition but the care here is excellent so both were born healthy. Not surprised to hear that this is the safest country in that regard.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

Have fewer babies.

Make sure that all survive.

It's not rocket science. Now, if they could just work on facilitating educational aspects....

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

There is room for improvement, change is difficult, labeled as No 1 won't help.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Two babies born for us - one in Japan, one Australia. Really can’t fault either - both public system, effectively no cost (except via Medicare/National Insurance) both attended to by excellent professionals. Higher tech/newer facilities in Aus, longer hospital stay in Japan, but overall just lucky we werent in Pakistan etc.

Every child has a right to a safe birth - lets hope the bottom nations on this list one day bridge the gap.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Highest life expectancy and lowest newborn mortality, that is some achievement but not surprising at all considering the quality of healthcare here

10 ( +14 / -4 )

This news isn’t up for debate. Let’s just concur that Japan has all the armada to be the best place to be born. Give credit where credit is due.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

It’s the quality of the part between birth and death that needs improving.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

“A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”........

The picture is inspirational, natures creation, flawless.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The picture is inspirational, natures creation, flawless. technically speaking natures creature arent flawless, without flaws there would be no evolution

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The statistics for maternal death in childbirth/from childbirth complications are also very low in Japan.

I'm not sure if poverty rates are the only variable, and the image of Japan having a very low rate is just that, an image. Comparing to my own country, in 2015, 13.5% of Americans lived in poverty. The most recent statistic I could find on Japan was from 2009, when 15.7% of the population lived in poverty. Granted the methods and definitions of "poverty" are different with Japan using a relative poverty index (set at half or below the median disposable income). I wonder if literacy rates play a part: Japan's literacy rate is often put at 99%; even if you're poor, if you can read and understand written info, I imagine you can get info on good health practices and free or low-cost medical services much easier than if you can't read or understand written instructions. In 2003 13% of Americans were said to have a "below basic" literacy level.

An NICU nurse friend says the longer hospital stays are probably a big factor, since a lot of complications can happen in the few days right after birth.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Culture difference? American women marry and babies are born. Japanese girls prefer to attend univ.. than marrying.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Great news, well done Japan.

Would love to know world stats re average mother's age at LAST birth. Have the impression that more western women tend to have babies well into their 40s these days and as severe birth complications (& death) are more common with older mothers this may help explain, at least partially, why Japan seems to have a better outcome when it comes to newborn mortality.

(same with obesity/diabetes/drinking/smoking during pregnancy etc rates as well as delivery methods; surely healthy mums are more likely to give birth to healthy babies).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Where are the usual Japan doomsayers on this board?. The neo-libs constantly are telling us that Japan's demographics and social security system are in a crisis and sweeping neo-lib style reforms are critical to prevent Japan from sinking into the abys.

I've been insisnting for years this is a false narrative, and my argument is routinely supported by hard data such as this.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

With the civil war in Syria, I would think it would be worse for babies, but Pakistan and Afghanistan beat them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Culture difference? American women marry and babies are born. Japanese girls prefer to attend univ.. than marrying.


3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sadly there are many in denial of this fact (lowest infant mortality rate) in some countries.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

UNICEF doesn’t tackle the problem that many of these depths can more than likely be attributed to the mother’s Lifestyle. Smoking, alcohol, drugs, and malnutrition are leading causes of child mortality rates. Wrath or the lack of is not the only factor for all the birth deaths. Now many of theses factors feed into their research report.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Wealth not “wrath”!!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Depends on your definition of 'safe'.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

"Japan has tackled this issue of every child alive historically and we have heavily invested our government resources and knowledge to solve this problem," Japan's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Yasuhisa Kawamura told an audience attending the New York launch of the report.

Yeah, it is good that more children survive birth in Japan than in central Africa, but please spare me the showboating! You only make yourself look foolish. I wonder if he actually has evidence to back up this showboat claim. The numbers are not necessarily the facts.

UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) is the worst international charity. Less than 10% of the donations actually make it to their intended recipients. 90% of the funds are used to pay salaries and to support lavish office buildings.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I had all my prenatal care here and birth with emergency c-section. All the staff were super professional from start to finish and the hospital food was more than edible. It was a truly great experience and I'm grateful for all the support I received.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

So many irrelevant comments about culture and abortion. Some people can't be satisfied with a good thing. This one fact about Japan is something to commend. No need to bring in the sun, the moon and the price of coffee in Madagascar.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Japanese gov't has been complaining youngsters are not jmarrying and shortage of newborn. babies Girls prefer tooo attend university than marrying.

@Wrembreck: We are talking current Japan. It is true. Japanese young women are not interested in sex life. Japanese gov't is proposing national daycare center but both boys and girls are not marrying.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Also a great place to live after birth. I’ve lived about 50-50 life in USA and Japan. I like Japan life better.

3 ( +4 / -1 )


Both the US and Japan have a female population with a degree about 40%. So effectively the same. The culture difference would be that the US women get degrees and also have families, whereas Japanese women just want the degrees.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Or are we talking surviving the birth? Unless an unprepared mentally and who knows how mother does not throw the baby away like a piece of trash, then yes, the newborn is settled. For the first years, that is.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

My beautiful daughter is born here, I had a very intense 36 hours labor and all the nurses, staff & doctors are really professional. I was this close to having a C-section but the nurse who was helping me said my baby has a strong heart beat that I can push her out and I did!

I wouldn't want it any other way!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The article directly below doesn't seem to back these findings up!

"18-year-old mother arrested for killing 2-year-old son"

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The article directly below doesn't seem to back these findings up!

The article you linked to literally (and I don’t use that word lightly) has nothing to do with this one.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Some countries are miles ahead of others, in terms of medical care.

Good job Japan

2 ( +3 / -1 )

toshiko... There are actually more females than males in tertiary education in the US. The problem is Japanese culture which says that once you have children you must stop working and become a housewife. Old Japanese bosses wont hire women with children, and will openly fire women who try to come back to work after maternity leave.... So ambitious women would put off children for a career. Change the cultural attitude to working mothers and birth rates will increase.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Natal care is wonderful in Japan.

At the same time, few babies are born and abortion rate is surely high.

Hygiene is highest on average.

Great job and hope it remains as high standards

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I myself had an absolutely horrific birthing experience in Japan. I've gone into it before on here so I won't go through it again. This article isn't about the best country in which to give birth... it's about natal care and newborn survival and in that case I had a great experience. The way they treat mothers is an entirely different case.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Just recently there was another article where the discussion veered towards doctors and giving birth in Japan and there was a ton of foreigners lambasting the Japanese doctors and hospitals, thinking they actually knew better than the trained professionals... guess this article shows just how well the Japanese doctors and hospitals are doing!

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Those are two completely different things. How they treat newborns and how they treat pregnant mothers are completely different. Apples and oranges.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The problem is Japanese culture which says that once you have children you must stop working and become a housewife.

You do not have to stop working and fewer and fewer women stop working. That women continue working after having children is a major factor in the shortage of daycare places.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


It depends by what you mean by "how they treat pregnant mothers". If you are referring to being strict with regard to body-weight and diet (as most posters in the previous article were) I think the two are very much related. If you are referring to them being rude or something like that then that is a different story.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites