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Japan's population suffers biggest recorded fall

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not so much a crimp on their lifestyles but damn expensive and that is if you don`t have plans for private school. japan should really do something about the cost of raising children, it is obscene.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

sillygirl, Japan is broke and trying to save the dying European Union. Though it you think school is expensive, private schools in America are very pricy. About the population, perhaps it is best it is declining. Japan will have to find a new business model for current times.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I think it's good. People may suffer in the short term, but I think it will stabilize when it's no longer crowded and when people are so poor that they won't be thinking of luxuries like ipods, mobile phones, etc. They'll be going back to living the old way and start having babies. That's what people do when they're really poor (and uneducated) - have lots of babies. Really, this country, like most in Asia, is just too crowded, especially in the Kanto region.

Yuri: Japan is broke because the government has wasted trillions on bridges to nowhere and making the wallets of politicians weigh more, because of the apathy of the people and their insistence on keeping Japan closed to fresh ideas (both from here and abroad). Don't blame other countries. Look closer to home.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

last year's eathquake/tsunami may have an influence on the data

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"A slow economy has also discouraged young people from having babies."

Yeah, that and the removal of tax breaks for families, increased living costs, increased taxes and costs for other social services, not to mention the threat of further increases and poorer services in the future. There are just too many negatives in this nation to have and raise a kid.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most babies come from sex and Japanese people "enjoy" sex at a rate that is about the lowest in the world. 2011 data is that couples in Japan average 37 times a year but in the US the average is 132 times.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan people enjoy sex just fine. But not always with their partners and not with a view to making babies. It is very expensive and also doesn't fit with the more selfish lifestyle and attotude of da youth.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Fix the cost of living, improve support for famillies with children, give incentives to breed, reduce taxes on those who breed, (who produce more people who can be taxed later) improve the economy thus making a more stable enviroment for people to marry and have kids,(too much uncertainty on future continuing employment).

Forget about saving the euro and the lazy buggers over there, save yourselves. The Euro and Europe is gone anyway. Put that money into guaranteeing Japan has a large group of "breeders" by supporting them financially, economically.

People who want to breed are happier its a fact.

Having kids can be financial crippling and daunting to so many young people why would they bother in this country?

Time this govt woke from its stupor and smelled the coffee.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They are going to reprint this story for the next 40 years EVERY year until the rate flattens out near 2050.

It is sad, but not the end of the world for Japan. The population will eventually flatten out. The biggest problem is that Japnaese businesses will have to understand this FACT and change accordingly. They will not be able to keep up their aggressive expansion campaig that many of them do. When I moved to my town 5 years ago, there was 9 combinis, now there are 6. It is probably a safe bet not to build a new one, with the shirinking population we have here (just like most cites in Japan, but sure enough they are.

I am not going to pretend I am a business person with any economic sense, but most business models take into stable pop or population growth.

I know it wont happen, but I think the government should invest in destroying closed down business and dilapidated. building. I have traveled every corner of Japan, and you can see everywhere closed business that once enjoyed the booming population and ecominy. Japan is fine and will do fine, but these building are DEPRESSING! a reminder of once was. We need to accepted the current and future state of Japan, but how well do you think a city will prosper when half of eki mae looks like it was hit by a zombie plague and abandoned? Just like the 3 closed combinis in my town, they just sit there, empty ugly shells.

The government should require corporations like to tear them down, but I know they are franchised out, so the financial responsibly falls on the franchisee not the corp.

One of the most depressing places I have been is actually the entire northern coast of Lake Biwa. One of my motorcycle tours took me along the entire northern coast. The entire coast was littlered with old closed down ice cream shops, swim wear and toys boutiques, tackle and fishing stores, restaurants, etc, etc. Dozens. HUNDREDS of closed places that probably all thrived when people had the cash to to flock to biwa for the weekend or the afternoon for a swim. who even WANTS to go there and look at these remeindres of how the population is shrinking is the ecomingy is not doing so well. Things are not THAT bad, but some places like biwa make is look much worse than things really are.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

""A slow economy has also discouraged young people from having babies." then why do the poorest countires in the world have the highest increasing birthrates. actually increased wealth leads to lower birth rates. It is that the standard of living has actually increased in Japan, and the results are only now being witnessed. it is the same with the causcaiousn population in the USA. among whites in the USA, birthrates are dropping. It is only among the poor minutoriis in the USA that birthrates are skyrocketing.

Statitics have shown the more educated you are, the fewer children you are likely to have in your life time. They have also shown, the more wealthy you are the same applies. not opinion. fact! google it for your self.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Yuri, why, why, why do you always have to make a comparison with the US. The article is about Japan. Not the US.

Cost of kids, lack of childcare, little job security, women wanting to be more than just a wife and mom... Plenty if areas here the government can start to improve on. The "have babies while young" scare tactic isn't working.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

couples in Japan average 37 times a year

Not many of the couples I know...

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

For young people think babies get in the way of TV/iPad/Playstation/Xbox/Mixi/Facebook/Manga etc

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SmithinJapan - "There are just too many negatives in this nation to have and raise a kid."

This time I don't agree.

From my personal experience only - my wife and I have been raising a kid in Tokyo for 4 years and it's surprisingly affordable on average incomes.   Daily necessities are cheap and the daycare our daughter goes to is heavily subsidized by taxes (markedly cheaper than the equivalent in my home country) and the service and level of care is superb.

Things would be different if one's kid/s have serious ongoing health problems but that could be expected anywhere.

Personally, I think raising a kid in Japan is sensible and affordable. (Probably unnecessary NB: my kid is a haffu and damn proud of it. :-) She's also bilingual and interprets - accurately in most instances.)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sushi - A 4-year-old doesn't cost that much. Wait until she hits high school. Even if you go the public route all the way, it's not cheap, especially if she wants to go to juku to aim for the better Tokyo schools. Uni more so. Start saving now.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

RDykes,

Agreed its depressing as hell seeing the old abandoned rotting building everywhere, its going to go from streets to towns, there are going to many many ghost towns & they will be the only ones that are "growing" so to speak.

Yeah for the life of me I dont know why all this old $#%$ isnt torn down & the land given away for free to young people or something, the rot is pervasive & depressing as hell.

As the the population drop, I gotta feeling the birthrate is going to start plummeting & its going to get a whole lot worse a whole lot faster than the SOBs are predicting!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

my wife and I have been raising a kid in Tokyo for 4 years and it's surprisingly affordable on average incomes. Note the S on incomes.... MOST Japanese families with four year olds don't have incomeS. They have ONE income. No S.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Cleo - "Sushi - A 4-year-old doesn't cost that much. Wait until she hits high school. Even if you go the public route all the way, it's not cheap, especially if she wants to go to juku to aim for the better Tokyo schools. Uni more so. Start saving now."

Like many things in life, it's a trade off.

My wife and I are already saving heaps every single week our kid goes to daycare here in Tokyo compared to if we used similar services in my home city.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

tmarie, have you got any stats to support your claim?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"65 percent of mothers are stay-at-home housewives."

http://factsanddetails.com/japan.php?itemid=906&catid=24&subcatid=156

If you think you're the "average" family with two incomes in this country you really need to take a day off of work some week day and walk around a shopping area, a park or a cafe. Plenty of research, data and graphs on this topic. I am personally shocked you need to ask for stats about this.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

If you don't like that one "That is why over 60 percent of working women quit jobs at their first child birth,"

http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48629

Or this one... "Among married women who have been in the labor force for one year before having their first child, only 32.2% go back to work in six months."

http://www.dawncenter.or.jp/english/publication/edawn/0412/01.html

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

http://www.dawncenter.or.jp/english/publication/edawn/0512/06.html This graph at the bottom is helpful - and the one I was thinking of when I posted my first reply to you.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

last year's eathquake/tsunami may have an influence on the data

Yes, about one tenth of the year's "population decline" occurred on that day.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

women wanting to be more than just a wife and mom." JUST a wife and mom! What do you mean "JUST"!There you go, running down being a mother again, just because its not YOUR choice! For a lot of women it is the most rewarding thing they will ever do with their lives. If Japanese young women realised that and stopped dressing up their dogs and putting them in pushchairs perhaps Japan wouldnt have these issues.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

ARg, I messed up with the quote button, that was "just a wife a mom", from Tmarie....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What is the advantage for marriage here? I can't see it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

93% of japans debt is owned by japanese, maybe japanese can forgive the debt to save the economy and reduce the debt which is around 230% of gdp the worlds highest.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The thing about many daycares and schools here is that in order to send your kids there, many parents would have to quit their jobs.

With all the meetings and rules and things you have to make, I don't know how a working mother could do it all. Maybe it's just the places I go to. And the school meetings that are at 2PM.

And then when you do want to take a day off with the kids, the daycare workers tell you not to because your kid will get behind and let the class down for the preparation for the next event they are putting on.

Seriously, sending your kid to daycare here is a full-time job in some places.. And, strangely enough, some people don't see the irony in that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"couples in Japan average 37 times a year

Not many of the couples I know..."

Actually a lot of women boast about their perfect score of 0 for the last year. And the year before. After hearing middle-aged women talk about the zero physical contact with their soda gomi husbands, i see oyajis in a whole different way than I used to.

I'm in two minds about the population problem. On one hand even close to Tokyo in Saitama and Chiba I see lots of open land and think they could easily increase the population. On the other hand, if you could come up with the perfect theoretical population for Japan it would probably be less than 120 million.

Any takers?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Jared, do you know many Japanese who will volunteer to do that?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"What is the advantage for marriage here? I can't see it."

Married guys are motemote.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry Orange, I didn't put the "" there. Should have. Thing is, many women who want to work do complain about being seen as "just" a mom. Women lose their identity when they marry and have kids for the most part if they don't work. They become "Ken's mom" or "Taro's wife". Many women don't like that - hence the "just".

Kuri, for women it means they can have a kid and not have to work - unless they want to. Why men get married here is beyond me.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Some men get married for love, because they WANT children, they WANT to be a family, they WANT what is best for their children and they do not resent going to work to provide for it, while their wife gives their children the best care possible.

Again, SO judgemental, Marie, about things which are your opinion, not fact.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You don't have to get married to be in love, have children, be a family and give the best to your children... Talk about judgements, opinions and not facts....

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Oh and staying home doesn't equal the best care for kids.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Oh and staying home doesn't equal the best care for kids.

I suppose it depends on whether the working parents can afford to buy junior the best possible day care, better than they could provide themselves. Don't quite see how that fits in with working mums wanting ever-cheaper day care subsidised by the taxpayer.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Cleo, plenty of SAHM moms don't do a great job and being places in a daycare, kindy would be better for the child. Kids their own age, games, activities, things to do. Better than being stuck in a stoller being dragged from store to store of being put in from of a TV. Indeed, some fantastic moms out there get involved, go to play dates, interact... but not all. Which is why I disagree that staying at home with the bub is always the best option. Depressed mom who can't get out of bed is no great role model for a kid. Wouldn't daycare be a better option?

With regards to subsidies, if the government wants kids so they become future taxpayers to prop up the system, they need to make it cheaper for parents. What gets me is that government funded daycare charges based on salary. How is that far? If X couple makes the top bracket, they are charged more for the same daycare than Y who makes less. X already pays more taxes so why do they have to pay more in terms of daycare? You could also look at M who doesn't have kids, never will and whose taxes go towards people with kids. Will never be fair it seems.

Steve, some parents are better parents when they work. I have friends who state this. They would go insane being at home with their kids. They drop the kids off at daycare, pick them up after work and spend quality time with them rather than hating being home all day and not spending quality time with their kids. It should be a choice for parents. Thing is, with the lack of daycares and support for working women, it isn't a choice. I would love for my hubby to offer to stay home with any kids we may have but realistically, that can't happen. Not with my lack of job security and pay. And I'm in a very well paying job compared to your average J women.

Historically, women didn't stay home. They were out in the fields working with others. A whole community of women and kids helping each other. That isn't the way it is now and I think plenty of women suffer from not having a support community and group to help out.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

tmarie, I know some sahms don't do a great job. I know some working mums spend quality time with their kids. But that argument is comparing apples and oranges; the worse of one group with the best of the other. The deadbeat sahm would be just as deadbeat if she had a paying job, while the working mum spending quality time with the kid in the limited minutes between picking the child up from daycare, taking it home, preparing a meal, feeding, washing and putting the kid to bed could do even greater things with more time and energy to spend on the child.

X already pays more taxes so why do they have to pay more in terms of daycare?

Because the subsidised daycare is supposed to be for people who need to work and have someone else look after their kids, not those who work from choice. Also places are limited, so discouraging the hi-fliers gives a better chance to those who need to work. The well-off (those paying enough taxes for the rest of us to feel awed) can afford private care, nannies, etc. Not cool for them to complain about paying for child care what still amounts to a lot less than they would pay, hour-for-hour, for a pet hotel.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You seem to think that being a mother isnt work, Marie, or its only work if you get paid for looking after someone elses child. Being a mother is work, just unpaid work. Its also incredibly hard and tiring, and rewarding. My children will remember me as someone there for them throughout their childhoods, when Im gone. You cant take money with you, and few people make much of a difference with their chosen careers. Im making a real difference to two people's lives which will serve them well throughout their lives, and I am happy, Im not just "someone's mother", Im a worthwhile person, and I LOVE my job. My husband doesnt mind supporting the family - its his duty and his pleasure. Not everyone is obsessed with yen. We manage perfectly well on one salary.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Children do best with their own mothers....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2005/oct/02/childrensservices.familyandrelationships

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1325770/Children-better-school-mother-stays-home-year.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/16/us/two-studies-link-child-care-to-behavior-problems.html

A British study in the "Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health" reported that children of stay-at home-mothers are more likely to participate in organized sports than those whose mothers worked, possibly because their mothers had more time to take them to sports practices. Other studies have found that children of stay-at-home moms were exposed to fewer germs and suffered from fewer illnesses. In addition, stay-at-home moms can have more time to prepare healthier foods and they rely less on convenience foods, partially for financial reasons.

In the case of the 13 year old who was caught selling her body you said the parents should have been more involved. Well you cant do that if you work full time, can you, especially not in Japan where hours are so long!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Before Marie jumps all over me...if women have to work, or want to, its no business of mine. The vast majority of mothers only have their children's best interests at heart. However all this slamming of stay at home mothers, and distortion of the facts about the amount they work, and the worth of their work really gets me riled.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

putting the kid to bed could do even greater things with more time and energy to spend on the child. No, not exactly. Some moms would, others would not because they aren't happy. Aren't you the one that says women should have a choice? If one mom knows she's better when she works, why would you suggest that she would be better if she stayed home?

You seem to think that being a mother isnt work And you would be wrong in making that assumption. Being a mom is a hell of a job. Being at home all day alone (with a few trips out) with a kid is hard as hell. Which is why many women would rather be at work. They know that mentally they can't do it without being stressed and resentful - be it to the hubby who goes to work or the kid that needs so much attention.

And great for you that your husband doesn't "mind" supporting your family. Thing is, some husbands DO mind and other husbands don't make enough.

Having a job doesn't mean not being involved in a child's life. Is that a joke?

I also don't think I have "slammed" any SAHM on this thread. Perhaps you could reread my posts and point out where I have done so? It seems YOU have an issue with women who would prefer to work than stay at home. That is your issue to deal with. If you feel society looks down on your for staying home that isn't my fault.

And is staying at home is oh so important here, why on earth do women here and other places send their kids to kindy? Why not keep them home? Heck, if it is better to be home with mom, why not home school them until they need a teacher if mom can't do the proper teaching? Socialization can easily be done by play group. Teaching is easier one on one than one worker per six kids...

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Some moms would, others would not because they aren't happy...Being at home all day alone (with a few trips out) with a kid is hard as hell. Which is why many women would rather be at work.

So why bother having a kid in the first place, if looking after it is so stressful? It's a bit like buying a bottle of wine and then getting someone else to drink it for you - they get all the pleasure and all you get is the bill.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Because they want to have one? Are fathers that are out working facing your scorn as well? Why are you addressing this for the women and not the men? Does it mean that men want their kids less than women because they go to work? Come on Cleo, you're smarter than that. ad sexist, isn't it?

You can argue all you like that women should stay home (not so much directed at you Cleo but at Orange) but the reality is, many women are not happy to get married, stay home and raise the kids. If they were, Japanese women would be getting married and having kids like they used to, But they aren't. Why? Because they aren't happy to stay home and be "just" a mom. If they were happy to do so, there wouldn't be cried form the women here that they want more daycare, want more support while working and aren't happy with the maternity laws and being let go from jobs. Argue with me all you want but the wider picture is saying exactly what I am saying.

You want to stay home? Fine. But don't dare suggest that a working woman doesn't love her child or wanted her child any less than a women who stay home. It is judgmental and horrific to even suggest that you (the wife no less) "have" to stay home with your kids to prove you love them and want them.

Oh and I've bought nice wine. And given it as a gift. And was more than happy to do so...

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Because they want to have one? Are fathers that are out working facing your scorn as well? Why are you addressing this for the women and not the men?

That doesn't answer my question of why they want a child if they don't want to look after it. I'm not pouring scorn on anyone, just stating that it's something I don't understand. It's not like buying a bottle of wine as a gift for someone else, is it? The child is hardly a gift for the day care staff. I'm not saying that mothers should stay at home; I'm saying that I don't understand why a woman with the choice (admitting that not all women are fortunate enough to have a choice) would choose to go through all the discomfort of pregnancy and take on all that extra expense, yet give someone else the joy of raising her child for her. And yes I say woman because like it or not we do have different hormones from the boys. Throw 'sexist' at me all you like, it isn't going to make me want to act like a bloke or make me want my bloke to act like a lady.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You've not answered my question...

Cleo, raising a kid in modern day isn't the same as it used to be. As I mentioned. Communities used to raise kids. Women got out, had friends and... WORKED. Be it in the fields or not. Now people go on about how staying at home is traditional thing. It isn't. Women used to have more than a few kids and the oldest kids used to help raise the youngest. Do you question that? Does having someone else help out make you less of a mom??

Many women want kids - for various reasons. They shouldn't have to tell YOU why they want kids. They also shouldn't have to explain why they want to continue working. You don't have to understand their reasons nor agree with them. You ARE pouring scorn on them by questioning why on earth they would want a child and not stay home with them all day, everyday. Didn't you put your children in yochien? How can you be judging people on this when you left your kids in the care of others? Didn't you put your kids in ele school? Care of others... Some people love babies, some love kids, some love teenagers... why should a women who wants to have kids be "stuck" at home because of the scorn of society and deal with an age group they don't "have" to deal with or "want" to deal if they can get someone else to help? Why is it okay to dump teenagers at school all day (add in club, juku...) but yet, daycare? Oh bad mother!! Didn't you say your daughter works and has a child? Do you question her reasoning of why she had children?

Some mothers don't think it is "joy" to be home all day, running the house, dealing with a child and not making their own income. Some women like to be independent and were raised to work for money heaven forbid something happens or their marriage doesn't work out. Step off the ferris wheel here and try getting back on again. Women are scared to step off it - and rightly so! Again, you don't have to understand it or like it. Or accept it. But until this country is willing to get over that this is what women these days wants, women will continue to refuse to get married, refuse to have kids... Wouldn't it be better for everyone if women had the choice and support for whichever life style that want when it comes to raising kids?

I didn't realise that wanting to be independent and/or working for money was 'acting like a bloke". News to me. Obviously we grew up in very different times with very different mind set on this.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Many women want kids - for various reasons. They shouldn't have to tell YOU why they want kids

They should if they want me to be supporting their kids. Otherwise, carry on.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

And in 30-40 years time when you collect your pension, they'll be supporting YOU!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Now people go on about how staying at home is traditional thing.

Not me. Tradition doesn't come into it.

Didn't you put your children in yochien? How can you be judging people on this when you left your kids in the care of others? Didn't you put your kids in ele school?

Now I understand why you are so against women staying at home to care for their own children, and why you don't want to do it. You have no sense of the timeline. I've always said kids deserve the undivided attention of a parent at least for the first year, and for the first three years if possible. I started working again when the younger child was three years old. Sending kids off to kindergarten, pre-school, school, is all in the child's best interests. You'd be doing them a disservice by not sending them. And that's way, way different from handing them over to a child minder while they're still in nappies simply because you think you have something better to do.

Didn't you say your daughter works and has a child?

She stayed home for the first 12 months and gave the child her undivided attention. I certainly would have questioned her having a child if the only thing on her mind had been dumping the kid and getting back to work virtually before the umbilical cord was dry.

heaven forbid something happens....

That's why people take out insurance, which you've told us before you don't think is a good idea.

or their marriage doesn't work out

Not a good idea to contemplate making a baby if the marriage isn't solid. It's a wonderful thing to have enough confidence in your relationship to be able to let yourself be totally dependent financially on your partner. And if that sounds smug, I suppose it is.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Cleo, where am I against women staying home? When have I EVER said that? Oh, right. I haven't. I have repeatedly said that if they have the means to allow a parent to stay home, by all means stay home. Again and again and again. Heck, I've said it in this thread alone a few times.

"Dumping the kid"... yet you didn't "dump" yours at yochien?! Oh I get it, when YOU dump it is okay and not a question of your priorities. When it is okay for YOU to dump, it is in the best interest of the child and would be a disservice to the child. When others do it at a different time that YOU don't agree with, they have messed up priorities. Glad to have cleared that up.

Indeed, having a kid with someone with your marriage isn't solid is probably not a good idea. But guess what, some people do it. Some people think it will save their marriage. Why people think this is beyond me but it isn't my place to judge them for it. And guess what? It isn't yours either.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"Dumping the kid"... yet you didn't "dump" yours at yochien?! Oh I get it,

You obviously don't get it at all.

it isn't my place to judge them for it. And guess what? It isn't yours either.

To paraphrase Nessie, if they're going to expect the rest of us to support them as single parents, it is our business.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

BTW, who supports this pension that SAHM get?! The tax payers... A housewife will end up getting more of a pension that a working woman in Japan. Tell me that isn't a broken system. Never paid a dime or a small sum and yet go more than those who personally contributed... Wrong on so many levels.

Silly j women. They should just forget school, forget getting a job and just get married and pop out kids. They get more of a payday that way. At the tax payer's expense. Oh wait, they don't actually need to have kids. No wonder they aren't.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

BTW, who supports this pension that SAHM get?! The tax payers... A housewife will end up getting more of a pension that a working woman in Japan. Tell me that isn't a broken system.

On that I agree with you completely. It's a broken system, and it's wrong on so many levels.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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