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Japan logs record low childbirths in 2021; deaths at postwar high

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A total of 514,242 marriages were registered in 2021. Divorces totaled 187,854.

A 36.5% divorce rate — always surprising to realize that only a little more than 60% of committed couples in Japan are in relationships they consider to be tolerable.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Isn’t that the number of new marriages in the year compared to the number of divorces for all marriages, not just marriages in the same year? There’s no way Japan has a 36 percent divorce rate!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

We don’t need so many people with the development of AI and robotics. Lower population means more money for pension as less people equals less cost.

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

Japan logs record low childbirths in 2021

Every year same story but nothing is being done.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Number-of-births-in-Japan-falls-to-record-low-in-2020

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@samuraivunyl

divorce-rate: A more refined measure divides the number of divorces by the number of marriages in a given year (times 1000).

https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095723243

There’s no way Japan has a 36 percent divorce rate!

Perhaps your perception might change if you take off those rose-colored glasses.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Unsurprising, I've not seen hide nor hair of the promised 100,000yen that ALL families with children under 18 were supposed to receive. Due to covid our Hoikuen closed for a week so we had to stop our jobs and use our yearly holidays with no support from government. There is no incentive to have kids here just constant expense without any support so I understand why young people opt to get overpriced dogs and push them around in children's buggys instead. The government is utterly clueless and is failing to address this issue instead giving out cash every month to bard that are failing but choose to close at 8:00pm, madness.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Asiaman7Today  06:49 am JST

A total of 514,242 marriages were registered in 2021. Divorces totaled 187,854.

A 36.5% divorce rate — always surprising to realize that only a little more than 60% of committed couples in Japan are in relationships they consider to be tolerable.

That is not what the article says as pointed out. For a rough estimate, about 30% are not married so 125M*0.7=88M married people for a total of 44M couples. So divorce rate is 0.187854M/44M.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

That cannot be how you calculate the divorce rate.

Why not? It seems like one way it could be done. When I read it, I was interested, as I've always wondered how they do calculate divorce rate. If that's not how it's calculated, then what is the calculation they use when reporting divorce rates?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@WeiWei

So divorce rate is 0.187854M/44M.

So none of your 44 million couples divorced last year, or the year before, or the year before, or …?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

As is well known, this is not a problem exclusive o Japan.

Many developed countries boost their populations with immigration.

However, even with generous subsidies (money for babies) their birthrates continue to fall.

My point is, No one has the answer.

Wealthy, safe stable, Monaco has the lowest by far.

https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/birth-rate-by-country#:~:text=Monaco%20has%20the%20lowest%20birth%20rate%20in%20the,annual%20births%20per%201%2C000%20people%20per%20year.%20Loading

6 ( +9 / -3 )

deaths increased 4.9 percent to 1,452,289

That's around 70000 more from last year. I wonder how many of those are unreported Covid related deaths.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Japan needs to reduce its population and it was predicted there would be a population decrease. This is the beginning. It’s actually a good thing.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

@Strangerland:

It's not a correct way to calculate divorce rate when the population is declining (or increasing). It will be highly overestimated when population is declining (due to higher number of marriages/year in prior years) and vice-versa.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan as a whole is not overpopulated; however, Kanto area is. And while the total population is decreasing, Kanto population keeps increasing, don't mind the blip last year. And we are going to see the downsides of the population decrease more and more in the coming decades when a very significant portion of the GDP will go to pensions and health care for the elderly, country's stagnation will continue through self-serving policies for the 50+ year-olds who prefer the status quo above reforms both in public and corporate policies.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I did my part three times and all I got is higher taxes and zero support for college tuition. This country is geared towards old people. No reason to have kids unless you really want a family.

10 ( +18 / -8 )

Despite government efforts, the nation's rapidly declining population trend shows no signs of abating.

Who in their right mind would want to have kids in Japan? Daycare facilities are lacking; office hours remain atrocious; salaries are stagnant; general lack of support and financial incentives from the government to have kids...there is no rhyme or reason to have babies in Japan.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

deaths increased 4.9 percent to 1,452,289,

That's suspicious

5 ( +7 / -2 )

i am not surprised at all.

in recent situation to have 2 or more kids is financially tough if consider whole costs/schooling fees incl/for many as real salaries/income went down,prices up/through products "shrinking"/ and many people worry what tomorrow may bring for them.

zero support from government for raising kids and zero family support.

so here we are.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Good news for the environment. Japan is showing that economic growth can be achieved despite a shrinking population. More nations in the West may well be eyeing this model to apply it to their nations.

I am certain everyone is looking to a time in the future when getting a seat on the train will be a given!

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

Good news for the environment. Japan is showing that economic growth can be achieved despite a shrinking population.

Apparently, you don't live here - or you live in a bubble. The economic growth is going to a handful of people, while that vast working class is falling farther behind. The wealth that Japan built up during the boom years is being frittered away by the ruling classes and the wealthy seniors. Even worse, they are building up a massive debt to dump on their children and grandchildren.

No wonder people aren't having kids.

That said - you are right that it will be good for the environment.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

I am certain everyone is looking to a time in the future when getting a seat on the train will be a given!

You think train companies will run half empty train services? They will reduce the frequency of trains.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Gambare Japan 08:36 am JST

Good news for the environment. Japan is showing that economic growth can be achieved despite a shrinking population. More nations in the West may well be eyeing this model to apply it to their nations.

I am certain everyone is looking to a time in the future when getting a seat on the train will be a given!

As funny as ever. The minimal economic growth goes to giant corporations in the form of government subsidies while the provinces suffer increasing depopulation as the old folks die off. All the young people move to Tokyo or other major cities, leaving them as crowded as ever. Reduced tax paid to the government means there's even less money available to protect the environment.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

chinpo wo sasageyoToday  07:54 am JST

deaths increased 4.9 percent to 1,452,289

That's around 70000 more from last year. I wonder how many of those are unreported Covid related deaths

And

ChibakunToday  08:31 am JST

deaths increased 4.9 percent to 1,452,289,

That's suspicious

Yes that was what hit me first.

The covid deniers kept asking where it the proof people are dying from covid but not being counted.

Well a near 5 % increase the the deaths during a pandemic looks sure looks interesting.

Too bad autopsies are not required in most cases.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

None of this should be particularly surprising. People say it time and time again, but it remains true: you can't have economic systems predicated on infinite population growth within limited resources. At some point it is going to give and the population will decline for a while. The world has been overpopulated for a while now, so it is finally starting to correct itself.

You could make the case that governments should have been better prepared for this and tried to encourage a more smooth population decline, but it is a bit late for that.

Not to mention, I don't blame anyone for not wanting to have children in the middle of a pandemic.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

However, even with generous subsidies (money for babies) their birthrates continue to fall.

Japan has the lowest spending per child in the OECD, so the subsidies cannot be "generous". Just look at how prison-like many school buildings are and the class sizes in the cities.

If it were up to me, I would jack up the cost of childcare to a minimum of 100,000 yen a month, and then give every parent of a preschooler 100,000 a month. As things stand, you can get a subsidy of well over 100,000 a month if you can find your child a place in public childcare. If you can't get a place, you get nothing. If you choose to stay home, and its a fine choice for you and the child but comes with sacrifices, you save the government a fortune but get nothing. The subsidies only go to people who use daycare. I also think that without a critical mass of parents (mothers) taking a break from work, more flexible working patterns that involve sabbaticals, WFH, maternity/paternity leave etc. will never properly take hold, meaning less happiness across society. Rushing back to work within months of giving birth is the stuff of corporate slaves. It's what happens in dystopian novels like "Brave New World". This should not be a society we are actively trying to create. The money printer means we don't have to do this. Its not just for the Olympics, concrete on hillsides and ridiculous sea walls, and that maglev.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Who in their right mind would want to have kids in Japan? Daycare facilities are lacking; office hours remain atrocious; salaries are stagnant; general lack of support and financial incentives from the government to have kids...there is no rhyme or reason to have babies in Japan.

Not to mention legalized child kidnapping. JGov doesn't recognize shared custody.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

But I swear everyone around me is having babies.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

My son is a Japanese citizen born to a Japanese citizen, but I doubt he'll ever live in Japan.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

It would be nice if they properly reported the numbers but each year they don't.

Please report the birth numbers by region rather than whole country. You will find it is Tokyo that fails.

2.Please report the divorce rates by nationalities. You will find that mix UK/US to JP marriages last longer than any other. JP to JP and JP to certain other countries are dismal and that makes the whole number a false flag.

As for number 1. It is worth noting that plenty of babies were made during the first shut-down and normally women like a couple of years between each kid. It may smooth out over time.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

No wonder people aren't having kids.That said - you are right that it will be good for the environment.

That’s a miscalculation, because they have much more kids in all those poorer countries anyway. But now you have less children here, that could potentially develop environment friendly tech later.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Until you support families more and make it financially affordable to have children the date will continue to go down. Only wealthy people can afford to have more than two kids in Tokyo.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@Antiquesaving

@chinpo wo sasageyo

@Chibakun

Funny I though the same about the increase (i.e. COVID-related).

But even though I do believe that COVID has something to do with it, I also ultimately think that the main/bigger cause will be Japan's failing demographics.

Here a link to the MyNumber registration-figures with page 3 showing in the first 4 columns the age-groups for the whole population as of 2021/3/1 (人口(R3.1.1時点)until column 計).

https://www.soumu.go.jp/main_content/000793514.pdf

If we take the total of the 50 - 100+ age groups, I arrive at 59,992,656 citizens. Why do I take these particular groups? Well, because they are not likely to still be around in 2065 when the population will have crashed by around 37 Mio to land around 88 Mio.

(Full disclosure: I am going to hit 52 this year and while my chances to live until 2065 (age 95) are not nil, they are not exactly stellar either...) Not even mentioning that the 45,623,636 citizens currently aged between 20 and 49 will by then be aged between 64 and 94 and start to head for the "exit" as well...

My point is that Japan is a so-called "super-aging society" because of (a) citizen reaching an old age and (b) the birthrate crashing through the floor each single year, so at one point and in parallel Japan will also become a "super-dying society" as the 59 Mio I mentioned above are going to pass away over the next 44 years.

Funnily enough, if we assume let's say 500K births a year over the same period, we would lose: -59M + (44 x 500K) = -37M citizens which is actually the J-gov's estimated figures in losses. Therefore: the J-gov seems to work with the assumption that the birthrate is going to crash by another 300-400K to stabilize around 500K...

Funs and frolics ahead...

@GanbareJapan  08:36 am JST

Well, as Alfie mentioned, if you are located in a major urban center (Tokyo, Osaka, etc), which act as migration magnets and siphon off the population from the countryside, you are not any more likely to "get a seat on the train" than you are now.Actually, it is even less likely to happen...

While, if you live on the countryside, as population will have left for major urban center, will tax-revenue to public and income to private transport plummet and make the whole concept of a "seat in the train" a non-issue as public / private transport will scroll down, potentially to closure altogether. In this regard, news of local train-lines scrolling down services / closing down altogether have started to make news over the last decade. Don't you read/watch/listen to Japanese news? One actually wonders if you are actually even in Japan to roll out nonsense like this year in and year out?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I'm struggling to conceive with my partner for years.

Infertility problems should be associated to this article.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/JPN/japan/death-rate

Not sure how accurate the data in the link above is but it shows a trend of growth at 2% per year while suddenly last year we get a 4.9% increase. The difference of 2.9% amounts to 45000 deaths which is 30000 above the reported Covid deaths for 2021.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Despite government efforts

What efforts?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

RecklessToday  08:21 am JST

I did my part three times and all I got is higher taxes and zero support for college tuition. This country is geared towards old people. 

Indeed. Government for old people, by old people.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Frankly speaking, a decreasing number of elderly people is desirable for Japan, because pension payments will be reduced and there will be no need for elderly care. In turn, this will allow Japan to use the funds to counter the declining birthrate.

Globally, the population should be reduced in order to prevent global warming and food wars.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

A total of 514,242 marriages were registered in 2021. Divorces totaled 187,854.

A 36.5% divorce rate — always surprising to realize that only a little more than 60% of committed couples in Japan are in relationships they consider to be tolerable.

Good lord in heaven.

187854 divorces did not come from the small pool of 514242 new marriages.

It came from the much larger pool of all marriages in Japan.

Its incredible that this needs explaining.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The divorce rate is a relatively low 1.7 per 1000 population and has been falling steadily for 20 years.

https://www.nippon.com/en/japan-data/h00759/

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Asianman7

i think you need glasses, even rose tinted ones.

the ratio of divorce must be the based on the total number of marriages, not just new ones

dont you get it????

if you do what do you , you get a completely false ratio ie the number of divorces of all marriages divided by the number of new marriages in a given year. How the hell does that make sense?? Try and use your einsteinian formula with per capita standards, it doesn’t hold up.

I get a sense that you have been divorced , probably more than once , and hence your caustic attitude to marriage which is a lot more stable than in most western countries.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just the beginning of the fall if you studied how a geometric series work.

Japanese prefer work and everything nice looking rather than love and make life happy living.

I'd rather be a poor happy parent in any other country than a slave to work thinking miserable because my kid needs go to a nursery, juku and go to side school activities which rips you off financially.

International experience speaks wisdom.

When there is a will there is a way.

And no, still plenty of space in Japan.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

There are many women not having babies, because when the marriage goes south the women are holding the financial bag with little to no financial support for the children. Even if the Courts give child support the man can escape (women too) with no consequences and it is up to either parent who has custody to try and track down the parent who is not paying.

Also, the child support is dismal, a person who makes 60 thousand a year only has to pay 500 dollars a month full-stop. There is no additional monies for schooling and or other necessities for a child.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Japan logs record low childbirths in 2021

Every year same story but nothing is being done."

Exactly...just more expert panels that sit around and don't come up with anything and more government agencies with plum jobs for old boys who have no clue...but increased financial support for child raising, free education preschool to HS level at least, meaningful tax breaks for parents, zero tax on baby / children goods etc etc....Naah...thats muzukashii and might " cause confusion"...let's suck teeth and set up another useless govt. agency instead.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

deaths increased 4.9 percent to 1,452,289,

That's suspicious

Yes that was what hit me first.The covid deniers kept asking where it the proof people are dying from covid but not being counted.Well a near 5 % increase the the deaths during a pandemic looks sure looks interesting.Too bad autopsies are not required in most cases."

Yep, pretty sure I read articles / opinions here on JT proclaiming the death numbers were actually lower during the pandemic months comparing to the year prior. That was used as evidence for arguing Japan is doing " better than most other countries" and handling the pandemic exceptionally well.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

An underlying issue no one likes to talk about is the fact that a significant number of Japanese men who are married think nothing of disrespecting their wives by going to hostess bars or having extra-marital affairs while expecting their wives to accept the fact. While other cultures (including mine in North America) exhibit the same disrespect by husbands, at least here they hide it. In Japan, it's 'normal' because Japan is a male-centric society. Misogynistic at its most obvious.

Sad, and yuck.

And don't tell me I'm wrong or down-vote me. I've been in Japan for more than 4 weeks a year since 2011 when I got caught in the Great Eastern Earthquake and Tsunami. I'm a writer. I observe.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I see most of the responses have been from a male no. Japanese viewpoint. I'm female, mother of a Japanese citizen children with my Japanese husband. The marriage broke down due to his violence. I have been refused a divorce despite 7 years of separation. I have no access to family bank accounts and have to beg for money. There's no official way to make him pay. There was also no desire to prosecute him for violence. Any woman getting married in Japan and having children knows if it goes wrong, like Ashley says, they are left penniless and without resort to recourse. Japanese women need to go on strike, no babies until this is fixed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Trevorpeace.

You are totally right.

But for a part, it is the wife's fault. It takes two in a couple to make things right.

Sex life is for life, not the first years. Men are living beings, not machines.

My parents are an example for me, as were my grand-parents.

So there is no one to blame in reality. And if you had observed, no demo or women rebuke of that service bar situation in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Trevorpezce, I upvoted you because I find it unhealthy indeed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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