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Gov't unveils measures to promote marriage, raise birthrateBy MARI YAMAGUCHI TOKYO
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So, instead of the politically expensive strategy of modernizing the society (beginning with the government) the "plan" is to throw some money at the problem with band-aid measures?
There is a reason why government efforts have been unsuccessful until now, instead of doing what is necessary to actually solve the problems that make having families very undesirable for the people they only do what is easier and cheaper, even if it solves very little.
Still no mention of what the measures will actually be? Always empty words as usual.
Another article whose premise that getting more women into the workforce will increase the number births. LOL.
Kinda obvious, but history tells us the oppositive is true: families in Japan and other countries had more kids during the era of traditional gender roles. Birthrates fell once women entered the workforce in large numbers and under gender equality laws. Hello?
In addition, most Japanese workplaces are strict, taxing and inflexible, more so than anywhere in the world. I dated a girl who worked as a waitress and said her boss used to force his female staff to stand silently at attention when there were no customers in the shop (all for minimum wage and no tips, of course). No one was ever allowed to rest their feet. One of many examples I can cite, but how many mothers would want to return to return to a karoshi-inducing environment? I certainly wouldn't.
Elvis is here
There is an election coming up. Got to look like we're busy and on the ball.
Please make more babies because we need … more Japanese troops? I don’t think that’s a winning marketing campaign.
Japan has the traditional gender roles AND a falling birthrate though, JeffLee. How about that? Let's put it down to "It's our culture," like everything else is explained. If Japan can't reproduce itself, I am pretty sure these measures will have little effect. But it doesn't really matter in the big scheme of things.
Don’t look at the root of the problem as usual, just throw money at it. Our public servants p!55ing our taxes up against the wall as usual.
Oh great! A plan to promote divorce, domestic violence and child abuse. There are many reasons people are remaining single and not having babies. Money is only one of the reasons.
Family are burden with taxes and higher costs. Make pay the single only.
I would flee Japan if I was planning to get kids.
Paternity leave is a drop in the ocean. It does not help in any way to take care for your family during 2 decades or more, and pay the bills during that time.
Where are the perks for raising a family ?
Anyway, mathematically, it is done for the next generation. Nature does not wait.
Too little too late!!
This just about sums up this country.
Throwing money at this problem is what the LDP do best!!
They are absolutely clueless buffoons!!
The world is facing overpopulation. This is destroying our environment, increasing wars, creating pandemics and increasing global warming/climate change.
humans need to adapt. Renewable energy, smaller family sizes, distribution of wealth to developing countries and the controlled development of AI, would allow the world to reduce population and strive for a sustainable future.
countries like Japan and China with aging populations (chinas birth rate down 880,000 last year), could use innovative radical changes to live with a lower population at the same time, caring for the aged.
but, as numerously stated by multiple posters here, Japan is governed by only one party of dinosaurs.
This comment is for all those here who often make comments about the "history" and "culture" of Japan being so deeply ingrained, in society and use it as excuses for why Japanese are the way they are today.
Japanese "culturally" took care of children, hell there are holiday's and events, focused on children, but lack of "public tolerance"?
Here we go again, the writing is on the wall BUT NO ONE is reading it.
FREE child care for working mothers / Couples.
FREE education and health care for all students till they finish gradate school.
FREE transportation to and from schools
One FREE meal at schools for all students.
Many countries are already doing it and it works just fine and they don't even have Japans $$.
If you type "OECD labor force participation and fertility" into Google, you'll see graphs that show the relationship is actually the opposite of what you expect. And you'll see that the exact relationship between these two factors has also changed over time.
For instance, take a look at: https://cepr.org/voxeu/columns/new-era-economics-fertility
Among rich countries, those with the highest female labor force participation also tend to be those where people have more children. In most of those countries, they have introduced policies that reduce the trade-offs between children and work. This seems to actually make female labor force participation go hand-in-hand with fertility. Japan is now trying to do the same, so what is the problem exactly?
Stop throwing cash at the problem hoping it will go away, have a LONG TERM Policy / Law that will guide and result in a successful outcome.
Excellent point! How often do we witness anything but an outpouring of adoration for young children in Japan?
Although the writer, Mari Yamaguchi, graduated from Doshisha University before continuing on to Stanford, I have often found her writing to be our of touch with modern-day Japanese society. And here we have another example of it: a claim of a “lack of public tolerance for small children.”
This mentality sounds like it's from another time (and planet as far as that goes) that is not relevant to our modern way of warfare. I read it like the government is planning of increase the population so that Japan will be able to prepare millions of young people to defend the Mother Japan when the Chinese land invasion comes.
Is there anything in place if the man leaves and leaving the woman holding the financial bag taking care of the bag while the man moves on when he gets tired of playing house?
When the Japanese are forced into smaller and smaller homes by the high cost of everything then just where are the kids meant to be?
This government has been in power for decades and only just now it is starting to change policies for families?
Let me rewrite my statement. Is there going to be anything legally if the man leaves and holding the woman entirely financially providing for the children and household when he gets tired of playing house? Because at this time there are no solid laws or penalties if the man ups and leaves and moves on and is so commonly known and that is why women are refusing to give up their financial and emotional security anymore.
still no ACTUAL plan……..just the same, “we need to do this, we need to do that” but no actual thought being put into it beyond that.
great job, j-gov. Keep wasting everyone’s time.
Well said! She often comes across like a mouth-piece for the LDP.
Having a partner and kids is a natural human path.
However, in a materialistic and developed society, all is calculated and should not. Too many calculate and it does not help for making a family and having kids. In addition, a society where everyone can flourish with free time and expression is necessary. Japan must create a society where everyone can flourish, express themselves. It must have a better work life balance. Start by giving opportunities for everyone to take a few weeks vacation a year like in Europe . Time is important for raising kids.
You forgot to mention a stable income !
And a decent income!
Free education for kids until university.
Tax reductions for families with 3 or more kids.
The LDP is clueless!!
First, they should put a cap on how many parttime/contract workers a company can have. For example, 1% of total employees.
Second, they need to ban jukus and let's teens date and have free time to develop their social skills.
Third, no more unpaid over time, strictly enforced by fines to the company and/or jail.
Fourth, childbirth should be completely cover by the health insurance. No more of these complicated subsidies and paperwork.
Last, under 20 years old is completely free healthcare for necessary reasons (not like cosmetic surgery)
OK, my dream is over lol
Whatever they do it will just be scratching the tip of the iceberg.
Japan's population problem can be solved with one very simple policy change: immigration
"In a country that ranks among the worst globally in gender equality, the situation hampers women's pursuit of careers after marriage or after having children."
And that doesn't even begin to take into account the cost of child rearing, which this plan does almost nothing to help, nor does it address where the money would come from. I think we all know that'll be tax hikes.
LOL. They had to sneak that one in there. Be afraid of the Boogie man in the closet. How exactly does government policy increase the wages of younger workers?
Am I correct in thinking that Masanobu Ogura, in whose expert hands Kishida has placed our demographic future, got married once for less than two years and has no children?
Sounds about the level of expertise the LDP expects for its lip-service schemes.
While it is nice they want to make things better for current and future parents, I have yet to hear anything that would improve life for children. Quite a few people I know aren't interested in having children because they themselves have hangovers from their childhoods here in Japan. I'm not saying they had bad or abusive childhoods or that they don't have any good memories. I'm just saying the negatives outweighed the positives. Examples of negatives:school: old school buildings with old equipment and facilities, over-crowded classrooms that were scorching hot in summer and freezing in winter. Draconian school rules, overbearing teachers, tons of wasted time (go to school for 3 hours a day the week before spring vacation instead of just starting vacation a week early), tons of homework, extra-curricular activities - no down time
-super long practices for any kind of sport or club, no free time to be a kids
-the pressure cooker juken life
-watching mom go crazy trying to keep up with all of the school / PTA / neighborhood obligations and home life while dad comes home late everynight
-not being able to take a real vacation - only going on vacation when everybody else goes and it is crowded
-knowing that none of this will ever get better or change because society does not like children (just yesterday I saw a group of old folks chasing children, who were there first, out of a park so they can play gateball)
People know life can be better for children. They know how things are in other countries. And they know Japan will never change.
JeffLee made some excellent points.
Unfortunately a lot of the problem comes down to women's liberation. I am certainly not against women's liberation, I support it. I certainly do not think we should go back to the days when in Japan women tried to get a job making tea for men in "good" companies so that and until they could find a good husband, get married, stop working and have and raise kids.
I am against some of the consequences of women's lib. Instead of the husband having to work and support the family, the husband and wife have to work leaving no one to support the family. Instead of women learning to cook, no one learns to cook, both boys and girls should be taught to cook so that either can do it. Instead of both both husband and wife having to work, either working should bring in enough to support the family instead of both and either should be able to stay at home to raise the kids.
Increased automation and robotisation should make this possible, but I doubt it will.
The other big problem is continued urbanisation. Country people have the space for kids. Many people in cities cannot afford to have a place with enough rooms to have kids.
In an already grossly over -populated country, a declining birthrate is excellent for the environment.
When life for the majority is in a cramped 2ldk on the 15th floor of a 30 floor high block and life revolves around the daily food shop (by bicycle) and a trip to the recycle shop, the average Japanese person’s footprint is lower than the average westerner…
a lot of LDP crap again,we will consider we will urge we will increase...
did not find a single line in story what exactly they will do.how much they will give exactly,what will be exact conditions.we get zero informations.
If it's good enough for the world's happiest country...then...
There are already tax reductions for dependents, and they increase with the number as well.
How "traditional" are they? Gender roles have shifted significantly in the last three decades or so, since the equal employment law in 1986.
Three-quarters of working-age Japanese women are in the workforce, whereas the ratio in the 1980s was around half. Also, nearly half of all university students are female, when it used to be around a third in the 80s.
With this shift, the birthrate went from 1.5 to 1.0. I doubt that is a coincidence, since the same trend is observed in every other developed country.
OK. So if you think the japanese plans will work like this,
If you think Japanese plans won't work then please down vote this.
Lets look at the best countries with better services for their population.
According to the mighty god called google.
Best Countries for Raising Kids
And not one has an increasing fertility rate. not even replenishment rate. So deal with it Japan. Its nothing to do with money. nothing to do with parental leave, nothing to do with the job.
Smaller families have everything to do with great health care, better mortality rates, longer life, and great education, so young men and women have better choices to make a career and female empowerment in the workforce. and also with their fertility. They can earn their own money, have a career, which japan is pushing, and today have way more choices for men and women to spend their money on, and frankly, a smaller family means more money to enjoy those holidays, trips, cinema outings, clubs etc. The natural global trend is, a falling birth rate. Just silly politcal men thinking throwing money at it will solve the problem when if they want to sustaine the economy and population and have tax paying workforce that can pay for the elderly, and also become carers, and that will mean immigration. We may not like it, we may not want see it, we may even laugh nd deny it, but eventually the truth is all that is left to accept.
Yet no mention of the toxic culture of overworking / unnecessarily long hours. They'll never get it will they?
Do all the aforementioned, but for God's sake don't you dare bring in more of those foreigners to build up our economy. Yuck.
This news is actually laughable after the other news that just came out today: "Inflation pain to continue for Japan consumers in new fiscal year"
Wages are for the most part stagnant, while prices of basic necessities are soaring. Tell me, Children's Policies Minister, Masanobu Ogura, how do you expect people to find love, marry, and have children, when they are already struggling just to take care of themselves? When they can't afford the ridiculous increase in the cost of transportation to get to their job, where wages haven't changed in years? How do you expect these people to take on additional mouths to feed, when their current salary isn't even enough to feed their own?
Laughable, is what this measure is. Simply laughable. (And a horror for those who actually do want to be able to have a family some day.)
Can we finally get rid of the whole haken-sha-in system? I'm positive this system contributes greatly to the low birth rate.
But I guess that would be equivalent of trying to fix the medical insurances system in the USA. The big bright neon pink elephant sitting in the room no one wants to look at.
The birth rate in Japan isn’t much different than any of the other G7 nations. Only difference is that the other G7 nations offset their birth deficit with immigration. Japan royally shot itself in the groin with their immigration policies. Or Japan could take a page out of the Philippines where they encourage women in poverty to have as many children as possible and make divorce impossible. But parents in japan don’t view their children as pawns to work abroad as maids and use as a retirement plan. So that would never work.
Well, I for one, thank Japan for sacrificing its reproduction for the sake of the Earth. It is very noble. Long may it continue. I love Japan.
If you give women the choice between have 2 or more children , or enjoy a career or get material/services, guess what choice will be decided by far by the majority. Same for men after all.
If you have what you need, why get brave and lose some quality of life for yourself ?
Nature did not give such a choice until last century and society does not recognize havig numerous kids as a respectful and raise to a higher standard, rather the total opposite.
Every time a child is brought up should be seen as a success and give reward, not the opposite.
Not only in Japan.
My heroes are my parents who gave 3 persons high education, opportunities to live happily and care. No actor, nor sportsman nor businessman will ever come close by.
Again the solution to all problems is using more tax money to pay for others child costs. With new technology and especially A. I. we will not need a huge working population in the future.
The "new" plan is doomed to fail, unless it comes with an incredibly cute anime character.
What's with this weird mockery? Google is a search engine, nothing more. The work of those who have researched this is what matters.
And looking at this on a year-by-year basis is misleading, because the TFR is an artificial number compiled from the data of birth rates in all age groups for that year; it describes how many children a woman would have if she were to fast forward through her entire reproductive life. As such it only provides a snapshot of fertility, and the exact number can be influenced by a lag effect; for instance, we can assume that it is influenced by the ongoing inflation crisis.
In any case, to get a better look at fertility you have to look at cohort fertility rates, where you actually measure how many children each generation of women has had when they've completed their reproductive life cycle. If you look at those numbers, you'll see that it is closer to 2 in most of the Nordic countries. And the regular total fertility rate was above replacement in Iceland until about 2010...
It helps to know about these things before speaking out about how this has "nothing to do with money. nothing to do with parental leave, nothing to do with the job" - nuts, I say. Demographic research is quite clear that these things should not be summarily dismissed.
People that cannot deal with their own emotions, cannot be their emotionally for a child when they need it
Honestly, I don't think it's a race issue. But it is a culture and language issue. Immigration threatens the homogeneity of Japanese culture. But it's inevitable that immigrants will slowly replace the nonbreading natives. This is the case in the US, Israel, and UK.
KokegawaToday 06:30 pm JST
Not mockery just the reality of the situation backed up be what we already know about developed countries.
I respectfully disagree. We can see historically that birth has fallen as every single country improves its education, health care systems, gets women into the workforce, and has increasing standards of living.
You are absolutely right about looking at the cohorts, so here is a pretty good link. You can see how fertility rates have fallen as each country has developed and gotten richer.
The countries above were just an example of countries with great child care services, great paternity leave and the native populations are falling. Ofcourse this is reduced by immigration which will hopefully reduce the impact.
As you said it is closer to two, but it is not at the replenishment rate.
Here is my reading of the cohort fertilfy rate. Excellent read and you can see that young women are delaying having a family, and older women are not
"cohort fertility decreasing because of a lack of fertility recuperation at older ages. More broadly, our results call into question our understanding of the patterning of fertility across high-income countries and illustrate that fertility declines can occur even in contexts favoring work-family reconciliation and high levels of gender equality. Consequently, more nuanced studies on the relationship between gender equality and fertility are required".
IS it correct that 10 to 12 % of the Japanese population is homosexual. ? One poster on another thread stated this. If this correct than that is another statistic that will certainly effect births rates.
Possibly private industry could help with the situation working with the government through tax breaks. Thus, grocery store and restaurant chains, for example, could give a % discount on the purchase of 10% per child per household. Parents would carry some form of ID to show the business when paying for services/goods received. Another idea might be engage the elderly in their neighborhood who live on pensions to spend time with an assigned family to help with cleaning, homework, babysitting, etc. once or twice a week.
Policies that support individuals’ "pursuit of happiness" would be great. The more people that take their own path the happier everyone will be. A happier society will be one in which people decide they want the society to continue and have kids.
Get rid rid of half of the public holidays and force employers to allow their workers 3-4 weeks off at the time when an employee wants to take a holiday. Not only would it improve the quality of life, it would be great for the economy; when people aren't working they are spending money.
I don't understand the post above complaining about the cost of transportation to go to school unless it is the cost of new shoes so the kids can walk.
To encourage the "pursuit of happiness," force employers to provide the same equivalent benefits to all employees. Instead of a company pension, put the money into what the Australians call a superannuation, a potable private retirement savings that is portable across jobs for someone's entire working life.
1 hour of work should equal 1 hour of benefits so either direct health coverage or a monetary equivalent.
A mobile workforce across an industry, industries and the country will allow everyone to pursue happiness as they see fit.
I thought the feminist manifesto was that women should be working on their careers full time to be high-value humans, and only low-esteem slaves of the patriarchy bear and raise children?
Too little, too late. Corporate Japan and it’s bureaucratic government are too intertwined and both sectors are run by old Japanese men with old fashioned ideas. Japan must incorporate major changes to increase its birth rate. It can start with requiring all vendors who contract with the government to comply with equal pay for equal work, decent minimum wages, eliminating part-time work status and the removal of glass ceilings preventing the upward mobility of women. These major changes are directly related to increasing Japan’s birth rate
Unbelievably as I find it, judging from everyone's comments it appears to be necessary to explain; womens liberation and women working is not the problem. Traditional gender roles and men not sharing the load of housework and child raising is.
As it is, women with families are doing 2x fulltime work, one at the office paid, one at home unpaid. As long as this doesn't change and Japan allows men to be equal husbands and fathers as well as employees, no increased birth rate.
Birth rates have fall and homosexuality has risen. So Homosexuality need have own this social problem or at least their percentage.
Everybody has to move to the big cities to get work, because all of the businesses insist on locating there. The big cities are jam packed full - trains are packed, the roads are all chock-a-block, try finding a table for your family to sit down and have lunch anywhere, rents are sky-high. People can sense it and they don't want to have children in that environment - I think humans can just sense when the population is too high and it naturally controls itself. Either, the people have to be spread out more to give a lower population density, or the population as a whole will just continue to decline. Throwing a bit of money at it will be little more than shifting deckchairs on the Titanic.
Nihon Tora: if you drive around the country side of Iwate there are huge project going up all over. One is a mega project by Toshiba in Hanamaki. Which will employ over2,000 jobs plus all the logistics jobs that go along with it. There are having problems with filling positions because dirt poor ages. People mostly move to the cities because of higher wages. That what drives and keeps people in the cities. Minimum wage in Japan is 930 yen per hour. This and no immigration is the main reason. This trainee visa project to entice workers from overseas is fill with problems for these worker. They need to get over this monoculture mentality start facing diversity is the only way to stop the race to the bottom instead of just relying on robotic.
All false ideas.
Data shows there is hardly no increase of fertility rate in such case and remains below 2 on average.anyway, thinking that men will turn into a housechore maniac is utopian.
Give respect and reward to families and things will change. Not close to happen reading all the comments. People now prefer a material life or nothing . So sad.
I'm in a same sex partnership and we would love to have children but the government refuses to let us get married. And that makes is vastly more difficult to provide a good environment for children.
Discrimination against LGBTQ is a contributor to this problem and I still don't see these out-of-touch LDP ojiisan doing anything of substance to include people in the family structure.
Same sex? Its not the government stopping you have children. It's biology, unless you mean adopt children.
Last I checked men can have children they do not carry to term themselves. I'm pretty sure such men are called "fathers".
I'm already aware of the tendencies you are describing, plus the article you linked. It does not prove what you are saying, namely "Its nothing to do with money. nothing to do with parental leave, nothing to do with the job."
What you've said is simply an obstinate dismissal that anyone who studies demographics will frown at, and it's completely baseless, plus contradicted by all the evidence we know (just take a look at Japanese National Fertility Survey) and common sense (children are a large expense; working mothers struggle between juggling work, childcare, housework and care for elderly relatives).
Linking that article, which does indeed describe a real world trend in the Nordic countries, does not prove your point, precisely because fertility is a dependent variable influenced by numerous independent variables. A change in any one of these can bring about a decline, and it is straight up bad science to suggest this means other factors have no explanatory power. They do.
Yes. Like so much reactionary politics, it's entirely counter-productive too. Refusing to adapt to the new reality that capitalism has prompted women to enter the workforce is just a recipe for the decline of the family altogether.
It's true, historically, that the gender revolution resulted in a decline in birth rates, but how this phenomena played out, and the extent of its effects have differed significantly by how much each country tailored its policies to match the new reality, and with how much the dominant culture shifted along with it.
Certainly, it's not feminism or postmodernism that continues to keep fertility so extremely low in Japan, Korea, or China. In fact, China is right now having something of a conservative backlash against feminism, which authorities are prone to dismiss as "Western ideology". These are all societies that are more "family-oriented" that the rest of the developed world, yet they somehow have much worse outcomes in fertility and family formation.
Food for thought, indeed.