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Japan sees record population drop amid declining births

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Who really wants to have a kid in Japan today?

The Japanese are finally learning the answer to that question.....

11 ( +12 / -1 )

It is not just in Japan, in America they call themselves "child free".

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Less strain on hospitals which is good. More doctors and nurse for other people, so quality of life will get better. If population keeps dropping, in 10 years I can find a seat on train to Tokyo every morning!

Japan should embrace this as a “de-population policy”.

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

I did my part in creating 4 Japanese Italian kids and the gov't still treats me like I haven't contributed to society.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

More doctors and nurse for other people, so quality of life will get better. If population keeps dropping, in 10 years I can find a seat on train to Tokyo every morning!

And if the population keeps ageing, who will look after them? And if less people go into the medical profession, where will the new doctors and nurses appear from, I wonder.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

"Since the number of women in their 20s and 30s has been decreasing, it is difficult to raise the number of births right away," an official of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.

Not like this is a problem that just suddenly popped out of somewhere, known for decades by govt and bureuacrats who continue to kick the can down the road while blowing empty air bubbles and vague promises about the need to improve the fertility rate.

Less strain on hospitals which is good. More doctors and nurse for other people, so quality of life will get better. If population keeps dropping, in 10 years I can find a seat on train to Tokyo every morning Japan should embrace this as a “de-population policy”.

Embrace indeed , what was it that your favorite VP Aso said a few years ago.....that the elderly should just hurry up and...bugger off ( to put it mildly ) so they don,t strain the system ?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

We've got three and I might have been wiling to have four, but I then discovered that we'd have to go into the elementary school at least once a fortnight during office hours. On top of being roped into lots of neighbourhood things and then sports club things when our eldest joined one. In Japan, the family is below the workplace and is also below the school/sports club. It never comes first.

I would scrap the family register, stop all benefits to childless/kids-grown-up housewives who are not looking after elderly, and use the same money to raise child benefit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's good that the government notice but there's really nothing they can do alone. Housing is expensive as heck, half the workers are on 1 year contracts, salaries don't go up, people "are proud" of their excessive working hours and I say proud because that's what they sound when I say I'm taking my paid holidays. It's not that they're not allowed to but they seriously feel proud every time they tell me "we Japanese people work hard."

So unless people change their mentality and start taking time off, rent somehow goes down (at least those pointless upfront fees like key money), the government offers assistance and companies start treating their workforce as what they are, their main assets. Only then we might see some changes.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

A couple of years ago, the government conducted a massive (and probably very expensive) investigation into the declining birth problem. One of the major findings was that women were reluctant to have kids if the father wasn't going to be able to help raise them (i.e. stuck in the office because of Japan's continued myopic work hour culture). Meanwhile, nothing has been done to address this problem, nor, does it seem from a recent LDP lawmaker's comments, will it anytime soon.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The figure was much lower than the rate of 2.07 necessary for Japan to maintain its population, highlighting how measures to reverse the declining birth rate has not yet produced results.

What measures? I mean c'mon.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japan saw its births decline but so did its G7 peers.Six of the Group of Seven advanced economies -- all but Canada -- saw a drop last year. U.S. births declined to 3.85 million, the fewest in three decades.

The global financial crisis of 2008 and sluggish wage growth since have left many leery of having children. And the European debt crisis of 2010 and resulting steep cuts in public spending spurred people to put money in the bank rather than rush out and have kids, particularly in places like Italy and the U.K.

My main point is that Japan isn't the only country having this problem.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Think about this people-

a nation of 126.6 million sees less than 1 million births a year for the second year and this will keep going down.

ANYONE who thinks this is not a serious problem is a few Chu Hai short of a Hanami.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Japan, land of the robots. Blade Runner looks increasingly spot on.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

It makes me remember my young ages in Brazil when I saw in a fast food restaurant a big family waiting in line to order the menu before going to their reserved tables. I asked the oldest woman who was a grandmother of them why didn't they go to the others restaurants around in small groups. And the old woman answered: That's what we did. We're altogether 75 (family members.) I gave up waiting in line and I went to the supermarket to buy my lunch. It's like a joke to see what is this Japan today.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is very little motivation for young people to have babies. Decreased job security, a total lack of child care vacancies, increasing health care and pension premiums, flailing economy with no growth, the list goes on and on. The declining birthrate is a social and economic issue that they are not addressing. It's not just a statistic.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I would love to have a child in Japan!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Today, there are many young couples that do not want the responsibility of raising children, they want the good life!

The desire of many today is to be employed by the government, high pay, big twice a year bonuses, many holidays, long vacations with lots of travel for the two of them. No children to handicap their wonderful life style.

For the average citizen, that is well off today, in Japan and America . . . is either employed by the government or retired from the government.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@macv

I did my part in creating 4 Japanese Italian kids and the gov't still treats me like I haven't contributed to society.

i created 3 and i took then with me to my country before they made a robot out of then.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

It's twenty years too late to address this. A century too late for politicians to grasp the root cause...their mindless need to complicate the daily lives of people.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

this is what feminists wanted after all, the wholesale destruction of the family unit....you can see by this example that you can't have your cake and eat it also, that being said, I came from a single parent enviroment, and without my grandmother, it would have been impossible to be raised on public childcare alone.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Too many reasons not to have kids these days. And I don't think any government can 'fix' this, it's beyond their control.

Not all about $ anyway; low income couples tend to have more kids than high income earners in most developed countries.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There are a plethora of low income, people, families in Japan. It's Government policy after all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In Japan, the family is below the workplace and is also below the school/sports club. It never comes first.

Yep, and that what needs to change, taking off for few hours during work for family chores is frowned upon and in most places would be career limiting, not to mention the post work drinking culture, which leaves no time for family.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

this is what feminists wanted after all, the wholesale destruction of the family unit....

No, that's not what they wanted. Where did you ever get such a silly idea?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

highlighting how measures to reverse the declining birth rate has not yet produced results

Given that these "measures" consist of some old LDP fool telling women they should have more children it's not surprising they haven't worked.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Less strain on hospitals which is good. More doctors and nurse for other people, so quality of life will get better.  actually unless you start culling seniors at a higher rate taxes will increase and pensions and healthcare will dwindle dramatically , seniors in retirement wont get gov support and have to depend on their families adding more financial pressure to families making children more problematic. If your depending on the goverment pension when you retire four a fool, in 20~30yrs itll be almost impossible to live on. If you haven't started saving for retirement already your in trouble.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There may be many structural issues in Japan inhibiting people from having children.

But there is a much more fundamental question that is at the heart of this: more and more young people just don't want to have kids. Period. Or if they do, maybe 1 at most.

And it has nothing to do with anything other than the fact they don't want to complicate their lives with kids.

And this is true in the U.S. and western Europe as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is what happens when you delude yourself into thinking that if you avoid the issue it'll magically go away, or if you think the whims of old men who think women should be baby machines will make babies suddenly appear, be well cared for, and families have enough money to support themselves.

Maybe had they not taken away family tax breaks in favor of corporate ones, given more incentive to have children instead of just expecting women to lie no their backs and start popping them out because you (government) think they should, maybe if you made the daycares (FREE!) you have promised time and again come election and/or scandal time, and maybe if you gave a little instead of taking and demanding more, we wouldn't be in this mess. But I don't know... well, pretty much anyone... who says, "I want another child and we more than enough financial and community support to do so." What I do hear a LOT though, is, I wish we could have another child, but we don't have the money, and there's not enough help.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well, Japan can thank the ol' JET Program for one less; I took a war scootch home from my tour there and we had our kid here in the US. So did about 6 other dudes I can think of right away.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

YuriOtani: "It is not just in Japan, in America they call themselves "child free"."

How insecure do you have to be to make such comments? "Well... it's this way here, too!"

First, Yuri, it's not a contest. Second, while a lot of couples may not be having kids in the US, the US is not suffering from the same aging society problem -- not by any means. Despite tightening immigration they still accept many willing people every year, who contribute to society and make up more than the slack. In Japan... no. Draconian and even inhumane immigration laws, and immigrants are the only obvious answer, haven't made up the shortfall, and quite frankly it's too late for what the government is FINALLY talking (only talking, of course) about doing. They will have to in about a decade, when it's far too late and social systems are collapsing, but again, too little, too late. So, that compounds the problem of the aging society and dropping birthrate. Having children in his nation has become some you must "bear" and is almost a punishment. It's not something to cherish and enjoy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Less strain on hospitals which is good. More doctors and nurse for other people, so quality of life will get better. If population keeps dropping, in 10 years I can find a seat on train to Tokyo every morning! Japan should embrace this as a “de-population policy”.

Ganbare Japan - I've explained this to you twice before but I'm in a good mood and old habits die hard (I used to be a teacher) so I'll try one more time in a slightly different way.

I live in the suburbs of Tokyo, where there are lots of people, and there are lots of trains.

When I visit my in-laws in rural Fukushima, where are there are not many people, there are only trains every two hours, but the trains are still full. When my father-in-law was treated for cancer and I visited him at hospital in the nearest small town, the hospital was busy.

In short, as the population drops, train services will be reduced and hospitals will close because of insufficient tax revenues or health workers.

I hope you understand this now. I don't want to sound too critical, but repeatedly making the same comment about more space in trains and hospitals every time there's an article on Japan's shrinking population is making you foolish.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Nice to see slightly less hysteria on this subject. We are overpopulated and a decreasing population will happen one way or another. Japan's way is the easiest way.

Regardless of one's opinions on that, it is obvious that there is little the goverment can do to reverse this trend-even if that was desireable. The government should accept reality and, rather than try to fight it, simply deal with it.

Sadly, most of the problems we are facing could have been avoided if these old people hadn't consistently supported services they couldn't afford. Now the funds are drying up and the people have forgotten how to take care of themselves without a huge government.

Its the younger generations who will be forced to deal with the worst of it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Real issue : social status of parents is reduced to nothing (obligations only) while child free person are seen like successful ones (no obligations).

That is why you have very low income families get more kids and you see hordes of young women only in make up shops spending times to look nice for themselves, and hordes of men as hikikomori.

Life work is so much better out of Japan if you can imagine how it can be fulfilled with passions.

At the same time, sorry to say that Japanese themselves inflict to them this dire situation, and are very far willing to change it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think the Japan of the future will be a more comfortable place to live. Less crowded and less dog eat dog mentality.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

not only did I participate in creating 4 Japanese Italian American kids been a resident of Tokyo since 1970's my Japanese wife has been a midwife gynecology nurse 20+ years and like Rodney Dangerfield I still don't get no respect...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

“That is why you have very low income families get more kids and you see hordes of young women only in make up shops spending times to look nice for themselves, and hordes of men as hikikomori.”

Good observation. It’s like those men have no motivation to try & hook up. No wonder low birth rate.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

a nation of 126.6 million sees less than 1 million births a year for the second year and this will keep going down.

When baby boomers are aging, the population drops more rapidly. No surprise. It's more about death rate than birth rate.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Next well see what happened within the UK shores, an invasion of Indians who multiply like Rabbits on Speed. IT within Japan, is now already dominated by them, and has essentially become a closed shop to only their ilk. Next, the cheap labor-force, which will probably come from an Indian outsourcing company based in Japan bringing in Indians to replace the already low paid Japanese workers... so it's with little wonder Japanese people don't wish to procreate, what future is there ahead ? It's all looking very very bleak.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Two incomes, a must. Working till late and night, no choice. Bring work home on the weekend, again, no choice. Who has time, money, and energy to have kids? Don't need new labor laws, just follow the existing ones!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When baby boomers are aging, the population drops more rapidly. No surprise. It's more about death rate than birth rate.

Only the birth rate keeps dropping at alarming speeds. And don't forget- Generation X, the ones after the boomer are a HUGE demographic too. Boomers had alot of kids. So this is a disaster in the making

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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