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New cabinet minister seeks to stem shrinking population

144 Comments
By Kiyoshi Takenaka

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Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk......and more talk, talk, talk, talk talk......

The ways to fix what is a perceived but in reality not a real big problem is make this viable for WOMEN to have children, raise them, and keep their careers.

Oh and teach the guys to be men.

21 ( +30 / -9 )

Reminds me of when Japan made a task force to get people to stop working so much overtime (overwork...) and take more free time for their families. The task force was disbanded because they were working more overtime than anyone in Japan.

The irony was staqggering.

35 ( +39 / -4 )

boosting women’s empowerment

A man in charge of gender equality and women's empowerment... Here's already what's missing.

27 ( +33 / -6 )

Three things immediately sprung to mind after reading this article..:

Firstly, if couples want to have children they will. Why does there need to be a ministerial position? Any plan to create incentives for women to have babies will almost certainly lead to an increase in unloved/unwanted children. Children should not be born to be servants to the older generations.

Secondly, if there has to be such a position, why choose a 59 year old man for the role? Why not a younger person who is aware of reality in modern Japan and why not a woman to do this job?

Thirdly, if Japan is desperate to stem the shrinking population, why has Abe ruled out opening the door wider to foreigners?

27 ( +35 / -8 )

One word, guys ---- IMMIGRATION! Japan has to get over the hurdle of avoiding this option.

7 ( +18 / -11 )

The lack of interest between men and women in Japan only increases. You need immigration otherwise or you can keep pretending

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Thirdly, if Japan is desperate to stem the shrinking population, why has Abe ruled out opening the door wider to foreigners?

I think people who advocate increasing immigration numbers are missing the point. This government is not interested in JUST increasing the population, they want increase the JAPANESE population.

Even allowing increased immigration is not going to solve the problem either as it is extremely difficult to gain Japanese citizenship and diversifying the population is not something they seriously want to consider either. Just adding immigrants will add to the population of people living here but not to Japan, as they see it.

8 ( +19 / -11 )

In my experience, most Japanese people seem to have very few fond memories of their own childhoods. Instead, their childhoods tend to be ones of misery, enduring entrance exam hell and countless hours of cram school, while dad spent marathon hours in the office six or seven days a week. This seems to be the case at least for the college-educated segment of Japan's population (not sure about the blue collar segment).

Also, any childhood joy they do reminisce about tends to center on school-sanctioned activities in a group-based 'dantai-kodo' setting rather than happy memories of family outings and holidays and quality time together.

For the birthrate to increase, a sea change needs to occur in the Japanese mindset with less of a group/organization-centric lifestyle and more of a family focus. If people have joyous memories of their childhood experiences as members of a family unit, they will tend to want to continue that tradition by having offspring of their own.

24 ( +28 / -4 )

I fully agree with you Yubaru that Japan in its current state would never consider allowing foreigners to make up the missing numbers. My third point was a rhetorical question really as I am fully aware of the real answer.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I'll probably get a lot of thumbs down but this is what I believe, depopulate the large cities. Give incentives for large and small companies to move out of the city, build more stops along the shinkansen, and the workers will follow. Plus, give each new home insulation and a large yard. Lots of farm land sits and will be sitting vacant because of the TPP. One more point, set a population goal for each new area and don't go over it. OK, I can wake up now.

25 ( +31 / -6 )

Stop taxing us with very little return in services. Stop making committees to study this. Stop the Japanese corporate mentality of staying late at the office. Stop the mandatory drinking parties.don't make "efforts " but actually DO something. When people have time to spend with a family they just might start thinking about starting one.

25 ( +28 / -3 )

build more stops along the shinkansen,

Defeats the purpose of the shinkansen, and there are already enough stops on the regular train lines.

Plus, give each new home insulation and a large yard.

Who is going to pay for it? With taxes as they are this is a pipe-dream for the average Japanese family, putting up the house with land can and often does run over 50,000,000 yen and that mortgage takes decades to pay off.

Nice ideas but not practical in the reality.

0 ( +7 / -8 )

. Give incentives for large and small companies to move out of the city, build more stops along the shinkansen, and the workers will follow.

@ FizzBit: Excellent points. My spouse is amazed that one of the richest families in America (Walton's of Wal-Mart) are from my home state, and that their corporate headquarters is in the same state and not in New York, Chicago or some other big city. It goes against the Japanese norm that anything that is of "worth" or "value" and to be viewed as a "success" must come from Tokyo. You read the stories of so many small towns having their schools close because the young people have left and are no longer living there to raise families. Yet those same people will move to places like Tokyo, and live in a small place at way too high prices, yet they are living in the big city.

If Japan wants to do something about this they should change not only this but a myriad of other things to make work/life more conducive to raising a family.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Absence of sex-oriented valued topics is so now embedded that cańt change the tide. How do you want to make people have kids if they live ith limited relationships and no incentive to live together. In my country, there are good advantages; here it is only despise you get.

Still proposing my help to Japanese women ;) starts with will and nice words.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@sensato: completely agreed. Among other reasons, that is why my wife and I have happily chosen to remain a couple. I'm sure parents there are parents who disagree, but the way school dominates life seems excessive, and not what either of us would want. For those who are happy with it: be fruitful and multiply. For us, it wouldn't make our lives better.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Want more people to have families?

Well when its not a "happy accident" that requires most reasonable and forward looking people to have, a reasonable stable income, accessible services and an at least somewhat balanced life.

Yet the changes in economics mean the older "same company with benefits until retirement", with high school and university all geared for this doesn't work or even exist in many cases, rather than attempt to look at how to actually address this we have ended up with many contract workers, part time workers who struggle to make lives and many of those workers who do manage to land a "company job" stuck in a rut of late excel spreadsheets, very small pay increases and far less benefits than the previous generation had... is it any surprise the population is taking a nose dive.

This is something that needs to be a multi angle conscious decision to change things,

Support mothers and protect their jobs if they want to go back to them.

Schools need to change, and rather than more time there and juku etc learn balance from a young age, for all the time kids seems to spend at school here no-one seems anymore educated or ready for the workforce/life than countries with significantly less hours, either the teaching is ineffective or the wrong things are being taught. (most probably too much attention on entrance exams from what Im told)

Workplaces need to have shorter hours too, but with so many relying on the overtime as an expected time to make up their income to a liveable level its hardly surprising people both managers and workers seem to be so excellent at finding ways to not go home.

Unfortunately any discussion about this seems to end in shoganai... and sometimes even straight out anger that anyone dare to question the clearly failing status quo.

Lets just assign it to the next merry-go-round politician or the newly created department of scapegoatery, oh sorry I mean committee for urgent matters.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I think people who advocate increasing immigration numbers are missing the point. This government is not interested in JUST increasing the population, they want increase the JAPANESE population.

Even allowing increased immigration is not going to solve the problem either as it is extremely difficult to gain Japanese citizenship and diversifying the population is not something they seriously want to consider either. Just adding immigrants will add to the population of people living here but not to Japan, as they see it.

If immigrants from China or Myanmar or Syria or whatever are allowed to become Japanese, then the Japanese population WILL increase. The hurdles to gaining Japanese citizenship (mainly the 10 year residency requirement) can be lowered if necessary. I don't really understand the point Yubaru is trying to make. Japan should open its doors wider to immigrants.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Many very good comments here, and all deserving of which I added a thumbs-up. I believe the biggest problem is the mindset of the younger generation, due mostly to the 'must-have' culture that's a direct result of the must-not-fail education system and rampant obsession of Japanese parents to force their children to a standard of excellence that's a dream, not reality. All the lip service about family and dedication thereto is a veil that covers the dysfunction of a society that's so insular it won't accept 'gaijins' as equals.

Sorry, but that's the story from me, a gaijin, AND my Japanese family in Sendai.

Pity!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@sillygirl - "Stop the mandatory drinking parties"

Full stop. End of story...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Reduce the numbers of part-time workers and pay full-time staff a decent salary, so that they can afford children, a place to live, car and family life.

Every time that there is an economic hiccough, the companies are out with the begging bowl, wanting support and decreasing salaries and benefits; but when there is recovery, they are very, very quiet.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

These old men look so stupid with their wrinkled faces but jet black dyed hair! Why do they do it??

There is no answer to Japan's population problem. 40% of the population have totally insecure part time and contract jobs. They have no confidence in the future for having children. And those with full time jobs are worked to death, leaving no energy for sex and making children. And look what immigration on a massive scale has done to European countries. Ruined them.

2 ( +10 / -7 )

It is embedded in this culture that a women quits her job after getting pregnant, and then becomes dowdy wearing old lady style clothes. Then their hubby does not want to come home. If it does not happen after the first kid, it surely happens after the second.

Women here want freedom, but are nails sticking up, so it is easier not to have kids.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

This government is not interested in JUST increasing the population, they want increase the JAPANESE population.

This is why it fails. It's ethnic only. Anyone who lives and grows up Japanese regardless of being ethnic Japanese would be a Japanese person in all respects. The notion that only ethnic Japanese can be Japanese has to end if Japan is to keep on existing in the 21st century

As a Canadian there is no "ethnic" Canadian as our heritage is always a story of change and new beginnings no matter how far back you go (save for aboriginals).

Culture makes the country and those who love it

16 ( +17 / -2 )

Ironically, the1.42 fertility rate in Japan would be considerably lower than it is now if there were more women in the workforce. So, if Abe's womenomics actually succeeds (which I doubt), I would expect to see an even lower fertility rate.

In office environments, I see many women from their late 20s to 30s who go full bore on "konkatsu" (婚活) crusades to find a potential spouse (some even announcing those goals at office drinking sessions) because they are fed up with work want to escape the drudgery of corporate life. Once married, they quit their jobs immediately. First they claim they are opting not to work so they can take care of their new husband, and then later have one child so that they can justify/solidify their stay-at-home, no-income existence.

Somehow, these cabinet ministers will have to come up with a "have your cake and eat it too plan" for increasing the fertility rate and female workforce participation rate at the same time.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

here is the big question,who needs children the establishment or the families? if you needs children just to fulfil your agenda then it is not going to happen.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Unfortunately Japan's population is declining rapidly and aging faster than any other on the planet. Immigration would help and making it easier for mothers to work is also necessary because a higher women participation rate has higher birth rates. A ministerial created to increase fertility and assigning gynecologist to patients on a lifelong basis providing financial support for unmarried Japanese could be a good idea. In the end the shrinking of population threatens not only the economic growth and future benefits, but prestige. So Mr. Abe needs to show that he can talk the walk and soon.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

South Korea has the same problem as Japan. However, in 2008, landmark changes were made to SK law.

First, Dual citizenship was allowed. Second, an immigration law was set into place if you live and work there for 5 years you are entitiled to citizenship without losing your original citizenship. If you get married to a national, its only 2 years. 2 years, and you become a national.

contrast that with Japan...just saying....

21 ( +24 / -3 )

People are born to work. In today's Japan, people who finished working live too long. How can we shorten longevity of old folks?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Politicians are all rich so they do not understand the lives of ordinary people. The main problem is the deterioration of economic stability of ordinary people that was caused by Koizumi's attempt to Americanize the Japanese economy. People don't know if they will have a job tomorrow, and the number of part timers or irregularly employed has greatly increased. Nobody has money to get married or raise kids. But rich politicians don't have a clue about that.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I think a good environment for child rearing is essential for any population growth. Clean and Healthy food and Water is also essential. Job security would eliminate untold stress which would cause the child abuse rate to go down as well. Japan Government needs an overhaul in its way of thinking because what I see as obvious must elude them. J Govt does not show care, Om Mani Padme Hung.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is the way it is, immigration won't solve it. Any measures to increase birthrates, should they be taken will not show results overnight.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"Hey, guys... it's hard, but it's rewarding! So please have more babies. Thank you! Oh... and benefits to families with children are going to be further cut, and any part time work you're doing to help rear the child full time is going to be followed and taxed -- you scammers. We're certainly not going to help you."

Sounds about right. So far I see absolutely no reason why this guy has a job; he's certainly not even attempted to say HOW he's going to stem the depopulation problem, aside from trying to appeal to people to sacrifice everything.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

They'd sooner become a nation of inbreds, before deciding on immigration changes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The hurdles to gaining Japanese citizenship (mainly the 10 year residency requirement) can be lowered if necessary.

It's 10 years for PR (if you are unmarried). Citizenship only requires 5 years residency. Apparently it's actually easier to get than PR.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Problem has nothing to do with immigration (no one wants non-ethnic people since Japan is an island and has never really had any melting pot), nor money (so Africans should have no kids in view of their income), or school (from college on, there is freedom to all individuals). It is about culture that has not adapted tot he more modern context: more people with same dwelling space, more communication with same limitation of exchanges, more work opportunities with same old-school rotten interviews, more consumption with same stupuid rules of thanking back presents, more living expectancy with same view of people depending only on their age, etc. To tell the truth, most men and women get totally out-of-space here when trying to get human relationships. To summarize, most is artificial, and knowing Japanese are among the people who are the least happy among the wheatlhy countries proves it. (one among many http://www.nippon.com/en/genre/society/l00108/ )

I tried to change this around me and will continue ever to try but with very little success so far. My kids at least are happy at home. But less at school for sure.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

he's certainly not even attempted to say HOW he's going to stem the depopulation problem

He's only had the job for like two days.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

The government knows what to do--they had a major study conducted within the last couple of years and produced solid recommendations. The first, among which, was the need for more involvement of the father in the raising of the children. Japanese women don't want kids if the father is going to at work all the time. Pretty simple stuff, here, but, of course, the government isn't about to change this aspect of J-culture, so the problem will persist--they'll continue to search for that other solution (one that doesn't involve real effort) that doesn't exist. And then there's immigration--the other "painful" change to society that needs to happen.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

he hoped to win over more Japanese to his view that childrearing is rewarding

The usual delusional nonsense that Japan has some unique, country specific problems causing a mysterious drop off in peoples' desire to have kids. Like there has been some weird mass genetic mutation in the Japanese population causing them to behave differently than they have for centuries, and now suddenly Japanese adults have to be educated that having kids is "rewarding". The reality is that these same demographic trends are happening in every industrialized country, and are the predictable result of a broken, dysfunctional global economic system that makes having kids and raising a family much more difficult for the majority of the people than it was in the past. Some countries may cover that up with the band-aid solution of immigration, and people can claim Japan should do the same, but any quick look at the news coming out of various countries (Canadian election campaign for starters) shows immigration brings a whole new set of problems. Basically, until the Japanese government starts dealing with the underlying macroeconomic causes of the population drop (and good luck with that!) stuff like this new minister business are just a load of hot air and a waste of everybody's time.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

This is so ironic it's cheese. The majority of any population in any country in the world are the working/lower classes. The highest contributors to those populations are from those same people. They are all the highest contributors to the tax system as there are billions of us. Sooooo, the gov devises a plan to raise the consumption tax TWICE in TWO years. ffs. Who does that hit the hardest ???? Then there's the talk of reducing the child allowance and increasing Nat health insurance. I have two kids and would love another but it just isn't going to happen. To fork out nearly 400,000 for a child delivery is obscene.( ok we got back 75% I believe but still...... Then there's the crazy kindergarten fees that charge an extra 10-15,000 per month for trips, picnics, hiking, horse-riding, AND electricity bills. ( yes, that's right. The customers pay the electricity bill) (but before anyone says, it's just for the air con, I know several teachers that have told me the charge more than covers it. Another huge, problem and maybe not nice to state but I feel the average family home in Japan isn't a happy home(environment). Everyone has quarrels bad times etc but there's very little affection/consideration after the kids are of a certain age. Maybe that's just my view though. Financially I just can't afford anymore and I'm looking at selling the rabbit. Anyone after a cute bunny ????

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Bla bla bla! We've all heard the same crap from different people since the population decline started. Do they realize how much they contradict themselves? You have Abe going on about how he wants more women in the workforce and then the other twits going on about having more babies. Yet, not one of them has done anything to increase child care facilities or have they addressed the issues of workplace equality. There is also the issue of increased care for the aged. There are many women stuck at home caring for their ageing parents. You are all words Mr. Kato. Just go away until you have an action plan.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Great thinking but not gonna happen just like the 2% inflation target. Road maps for both of your targets are against each other.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sillygirl said, Stop taxing us with very little return in services. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Exactly. Some other advanced countries fund the pension, public hospitals, welfare from the tax take. This is morally right as it is the citizens that pay taxes. Taxes on goods and services are higher in those countries and income tax lower. Minimum wages are much higher than Japan as well, and food etc. is half the price or less. Funny how they manage ok.

I have heard it from people here that they can not earn enough money to even consider getting married let alone start a family. The minimum wage in Japan is not a liveable wage and there is no hope for people who have to rely on part time work which is increasing all the time. There will always be people in society who have a high wage and others that don't.

Be thankful that the Japanese Government does not allow uncontrolled immigration. All the countries taking in these so called refugees will regret it.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

When the spouse and I gave ourselves the last 'OK' to marriage, the final hurdle was not what we had expected. It was, in fact, a question: "do we have enough material?"

By that we both knew meant did we have enough diversity, creativity, seriousness, silliness, educations of many types, ignorance of compatible work-arounds. Could we be each other's sharpening stone? sounding board? taste tester? Did we have the balls and the female equivalent to make the tough call, being each other's head-of-admission/personnel-department-chief?

Could we drop the low rent word 'kid' and let our children grow into being ours in the above as we enjoy flourishing in composition in the above in their lives in the now? What about with cancer? Does that limit or bring out the most in both of us?

We have been friends for 11 / married for 1.2

We have proven to us (as to who else do we need to prove it to?) for 12.2~ that the material well keeps on giving. That's the secret to my material. Chew on it Kato. It don't quite taste so sweet on a a 'mah-nahm-bah' card - Smiles

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Sounds like they are talking about farming people, I can see the point why they need more tax payer...well, every newborn comes to life with already $80,000 in debt with Japan (average) and pays 14 yen interest/hour (average). With shrinking freedom rights and more and more constraint, not very good condition to raise a family, they should make the condition for living better and show brighter future first imo..

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I think most people here clearly understand and said what the problem is!

Part-time jobs, low salaries, no job security and no (real) support from the Japanese Government!

Increase the child allowance! Have employees who worked in the same company for many years become permanent employees. Open the doors to imports from other countries so that the cost of living decreases, build public kindergartens, get rid of those high university (and also school) fees, provide more financial child support .... there are so many things that could be done! However, we are dealing with the Japanese Government and probably nothing or very little only will happen. Of course, Mr. Kato can afford his 4 kids ..... he's got it made. But will he present any good ideas? Will he be remembered for positive changes. Again and as always, I got my doubts!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I actually agree that the immediate answer is not mass uncontrolled immigration.

This would not be good for Japan or the immigrants.

Carefully selected, managed, supported immigration where those who do contribute are treated fairly will in time bring the right kinds of people to help Japan.

The kinds of business and political cultural changes that are needed for the improvement for the Japanese population will make Japan a more attractive destination too.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The best solution is simple: Pay raise and less tax.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Amusing, since all their economic policies mitigate against young people starting families.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

More of my tax money being flushed down the toilet. It'll end as well as the government's attempts to boost English fluency in Japan - in a fireball.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

You want more people to feel childrearing is rewarding... Then pay new mums a baby birth bonus say 100 man and double the child support... But of course blue blood politicians on salaries 10 times the average wage have no clue about the financial struggles of lower to middle class raising kids... Just lip service.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

But people are so happy working 16 hour days six or seven days every week for less and less money. Why wouldn't they want to start great big families? Plus after you're finished fulfilling all your other obligations, there are still at least five or six minutes left in the day to attend to child-rearing. No excuses now, Japan! Hop to it and start increasing that population! Ganbatte!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Marcelito, you are absolutely right!

Here is a comparison Japan vs. Germany:

In Japan it is Yen 10.000 per month for children upto 3 years of age. After that it is reduced to Yen 5.000 (I think upto the age of 18, but I am not sure) (http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/child-support/)

Contrary in Germany it is Euro 190, so roughly Yen 25.600! What a difference!!

As long as Japan does not adopt something similar I don't expect any changes.

Oh, and it's not just Germany: (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindergeld#Kindergeld_in_Deutschland) just scroll down to the chart!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Poverty, isolation push Japan's child abuse cases to record high

http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/poverty-isolation-push-japans-child-abuse-cases-to-record-high

The environmental situation is bad in Japan for 90,000 cases of child abuse to even exist. J Govt has got wake up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You want more people to feel childrearing is rewarding... Then pay new mums a baby birth bonus say 100 man and double the child support... But of course blue blood politicians on salaries 10 times the average wage have no clue about the financial struggles of lower to middle class raising kids... Just lip service.

How about 200 man and triple the monthly allowance!!!!??

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

whatever incentives and efforts made, they won't make any difference. every options should be explored, and it is sad indeed that immigration is not on the table.

do they really think that money paid (for childcare, women empowerment, etc) will change behavior? it already been tried by other developed countries and it does not work. what is needed is not more money, but more ideas, new ideas not old ones. or else, taxpayers again burden the price of it, that is an easy road.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Serfdom: unquestioning acceptance of a narrative that that without the kings and bishops, we'd be much less happy as we strive obediently towards a mythical, joyous afterlife where we will want for nothing.

Consumerism: unquestioning acceptance of a narrative that without the market and celebrities, we'd be much less happy as we strive obediently towards a mythical, joyous life where we will want for nothing.

(At least under serfdom people went home to a loving hovel).

Personal experience is that, like ethnocentrism, religion and rote, materialism delivers a puny return on emotional investment, at the expense of time and energy for family and others.

We all need to get off the hamster wheel once in a while, and rediscover loving humanity.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@powderb totally agree, too many people have children for the sake of having children. some people make useless parents, and some people would make excellent parents but chose not too for many reasons. I love my kids dearly and Im not a perfect father,but if I lived my life again and I met a woman that I loved that couldnt have or didnt want to have children then id happily go without having children. Some call it selfish, being a good parent take a lot of money time effort. If you cant at least supply an acceptable amount of each then dont have children

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@YubaruOCT. 09, 2015 - 07:04AM JST Thirdly, if Japan is desperate to stem the shrinking population, why has Abe ruled out opening the door wider to foreigners? I think people who advocate increasing immigration numbers are missing the point. This government is not interested in JUST increasing the population, they want increase the JAPANESE population. Even allowing increased immigration is not going to solve the problem either as it is extremely difficult to gain Japanese citizenship and diversifying the population is not something they seriously want to consider either. Just adding immigrants will add to the population of people living here but not to Japan, as they see it.

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Not only Govt but Japanese people are not ready to mingle with immigrants refugees. It is not like USA. Look at Korean people who were born in Japan. Not only them but Japanese still discriminate a certain Japanese people who have been discriminated for their occupation. Inter marriage with them, Japanese call Chi ga Yogoreru. When some people point out what they believe is not scientific thinking, they are called Kagaku Kiichigai and Hon Jinkei..

1 ( +6 / -5 )

You want more people to feel childrearing is rewarding... Then pay new mums a baby birth bonus

Looking back how things are implemented here, LDP will certainly do the opposite, over-tax those who are not having enough babies to fill up the govt's agenda to raise further tax payers and little soldiers, wait for the next "re-interpretation" and all the additional functionalities that myNumber can offer to a govt which does not value citizen's privacy and is in a deep need of money.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Look at Korean people who were born in Japan. Not only them but Japanese still discriminate a certain Japanese people who have been discriminated for their occupation.

Toshiko, this sounds like a Japanese problem the japanese have to fix themselves.

Forecasts based on current trends expect the population to fall below 100 million in 2048, and to about 87 million by 2060, when 40% of people will be 65 or older

Those forecasts are wrong. They don't take into account depopluation due to suicides, car accidents, murder, natural disasters, deaths from cancer related to Fukushima, and emmigration.

In 2001, I remember them saying that by 2010 10% of the population would be over 65%. It happened MUCH sooner than that.

If the population was to fall below 100 million in 2048, why is Abe saying he's going to stop it from happening now?? Does he plan to be PM until 2048? No, I suspect the population drop is happening MUCH faster and that the powers that be know this. We are now losing over a quarter of a million people a year, and that drop is going to go up. As the population ages and the taxes rise and our standard of living drops, the exodus out of Japan will accelerate. there is no way out of this quagmire without immigration. No way out.

The Japanese will do the right thing...After they've tried everything else. By then I suspect it will be too little too late.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Instead of giving money to the immigrants in Europe give to the young couples support money for having children and after the child reach 9 years of age cut the benefit.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

A women’s rights group has stepped up its campaign demanding the government’s top spokesman retract a remark last >week in which he said that giving birth is a “form of contribution to the nation.”

LDP already at work, the outline of a future law...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How about 200 man and triple the monthly allowance ".

Why not, the total would probably still be substantially lower amount than what the govt. wastes on pork barrel projects to " "stimulate economy" and other administrative waste.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

It's not going to happen in a rich developed consumer driven economy. Gov wants people to spend money, improve their equality of life and with a great health care system, and child mortality down to its lowest levels women and men don't need to have 3 or four kids because they will be vaccinated against diseases children once died off, medical care and medication again help children survive and this all allows families to give this children experiences in their life they may never have , eg, travel, better food, entertainment. All part of a modern life that many won't want to give up. Not to mention if you have 3 or four kids the cost of a house, uni, college, Juki, etc etc are immense. And to Yubarau, " teach guys to be real men" that has to be one of A) the most sexist comments ever. B) what's it supposed to mean anyway? And C) What is a real MAN? Grabbing women and.........what? I think Japan will accept non JP ,when they are ready, but they won't be wanting it to be EU US style. Total chaos! It will be done JP style and for what they need and for for the immigrant can bring to Japan.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

So Kato's approach is not structural reform to any of the well-known social institutions that act as barriers to parents who want to have children, and instead is trying to vaguely shame people without kids by implying they are so self-centered that they aren't aware that child care is rewarding.

I'm sure this will go well.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Lots of good suggestions here, but immigration is not one of them given Japan's land area and population. However making the workplace family-friendly is, and this, as has been pointed out, is done by not expecting employees to stay on late regardless of whether there s work to door not, by giving good childbirth leave to women, by government providing financial incentive when children are born, and by promoting the view that having children is a worthwhile experience.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Tokyo is a big black hole, it sucks people looking for decent work out of the regions, but the city is so crowded that to have more than the 2.1 kids required to maintain a stable population, you need to be much more wealthy than average to be able to afford the space for a 4+ bedroom home, or alternatively live miles out of the city, which necessitates anti-family commuting times.

Decentralization of power out of Tokyo is a commonly talked about theme, which sounds like it would help reverse this situation to a degree. Good luck to the new Osaka Ishin party, and other forces genuinely in favour of this decentralization.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Lots of good comments here.

One thing I find odd is that it is common for japanese women to pop out their first borns while in their late 30's or even early 40's. And when they miss that window, they go on in life childless.

I think 28,29-30ish is the most ripe for women to start giving birth. . . . but maybe that's just me.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Why not, the total would probably still be substantially lower amount than what the govt. wastes on pork barrel projects to " "stimulate economy" and other administrative waste.

I'm sure you have all the numbers calculated so enlighten me. DPJ implemented the allowance and based on the below paper, it failed macro and micro.

https://wayo.repo.nii.ac.jp/index.php?action=pages_view_main&active_action=repository_action_common_download&item_id=1047&item_no=1&attribute_id=22&file_no=1&page_id=35&block_id=44

Hand outs don't work.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

I keep reading about the lack of the "guaranteed job" that no longer exists in Japan as being one of the causes of the decline of the population. Well, when there were such jobs, the population was also in decline, and at the time, it was because of the stressed work load and trying to raise a family that put people off.

I hate to say this, but there isn't any place where one has a guaranteed job for life anymore, and the rest of the world seems to find a way to have families that have children. Yes sometimes the government has to support but not all of the time.

There needs to be an awakening in the Japanese mindset about what they want as a nation and as a people.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Lots of good suggestions here, but immigration is not one of them given Japan's land area and population

Tony, you must be joking. May I suggest a trip to Hokkaido, Mie, Kyushu, Shikoku, Nagano, Gunma, Take your pick.

The idea that Japan is crowded or doesn't have space is a joke. Hell, even in Saitama which borders Tokyo you have Chichibu and other places in Western Saitama that are just swaths of empty space. There is PLENTY of land and space. It's just that the Japanese don't want to live there.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Nigelboy - no I don't have the numbers calculated and ready to say as much but how much is spent on pork barrel " stimulation packages " and such..best way to stimulate economy in the future is to have more consumers , and since LDP is deaf to suggestions of immigration ( with the token pitiful exceptions of housekeepers, a few nurses and a legion of underpaid farm trainees "...well, then...

Handouts don't work - well the $5000 baby bonus in Australia for each child certainly did work in raising the number of births there when introduced in tandem with generous parental leave provisions. But I,m sure LDP would.much prefer to spend funds on supporting it's cronies, farmers and the rest rather than spend funds and implement any meaningful strategies to actually raise the birthrate. That Abe assigned not a woman but a 60 year old oyaji to be in charge of raising the birth rate and women's empowerment speaks volumes about LDP,s attitude. It's a joke.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I don't support handouts. Those get abused. Just make education FREE - that means uniforms, books, and all the other crap parents here have to pay for. Make having a baby free. Make daycare free for single moms and families where both parents work fulltime and pay their taxes. It's not rocket science.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I think it should read "birth rate", not "fertility rate".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Abe promised to have 4 woman ministers. How about appoint a woman scientist or doctor to replace this minister. There are many married couple who somehow can not have own babies. What do you call? impotent? How about encourage Scientific Society to research efficient fertility method? I am not sure how you call this kind of study. Middle class people can have their own instead.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Nigelboy - no I don't have the numbers calculated and ready to say as much but how much is spent on pork barrel " stimulation packages " and such..best way to stimulate economy in the future is to have more consumers , and since LDP is deaf to suggestions of immigration ( with the token pitiful exceptions of housekeepers, a few nurses and a legion of underpaid farm trainees "...well, then...

You don't? The paper I linked indicates the negative net macro economic effect of increasing child allowance and decreasing government consumption and public works project. (just read the conclusion on the last page).

And let's face it, it didn't for fertility rate didn't rise.

Handouts don't work - well the $5000 baby bonus in Australia for each child certainly did work

Japan also has birth payment. 出産育児一時金

But I,m sure LDP would.much prefer to spend funds on supporting it's cronies, farmers and the rest rather than spend funds and implement any meaningful strategies to actually raise the birthrate. That Abe assigned not a woman but a 60 year old oyaji to be in charge of raising the birth rate and women's empowerment speaks volumes about LDP,s attitude. It's a joke.

You were doing so well then you resort to usual Abe and LDP bashing.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I don't support handouts. Those get abused. Just make education FREE - that means uniforms, books, and all the other crap parents here have to pay for. Make having a baby free. Make daycare free for single moms and families where both parents work fulltime and pay their taxes. It's not rocket science.

I agree. A one time handout does nothing to alleviate long-term worries. What alleviates long-term worries is not having to worry that you won't have enough money to pay for your kid(s). If school is free, that alleviates a lot of the worry.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The islands are over populated and have 100 million too many people as it is. Anyway, They have spent too many years staring at their belly buttons and having meetings instead of making changes. Just think about all the cheap land thats gong to be available in a hundred years!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Until family comes before work there's no way in hell the drop will stop. Actually for a country this size,isn't it overpopulated anyway? Basically the same size as England yet double the population.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The islands are over populated and have 100 million too many people as it is.

Are you saying that Japan should only have 27 million people???

Just think about all the cheap land thats gong to be available in a hundred years!

Its available today. All the government has to do is just GIVE it to people to use. Japan is not overpopulated. Tokyo is. There is a difference.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Sensato - "many women from their late 20s to 30s... go full bore on 'konkatsu' (婚活) crusades... even announcing those goals at office drinking sessions... once married... have one child"

The office announcement comes first, then the child... with nobody knowing which colleague is the father.

Welcome to Japan everyone!!! :-D

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lots of good observations & ideas on this thread. Its SO obvious to many here that Japan went off its rails in the 80s & has continued to stay off course.

As I have often said Japan is in DIRE need of a total Re Invention, a new restoration, work life balance is horribly messed up, & as a few have VERY correctly pointed out Tokyo & other big cities are LITERALLY killing the country off!

I blows my mind how these politicians are so totally CLUELESS, how do they make people this daft! And yeah although I would like to be proven wrong I doubt this guy did much for & with his kids............

I however as I often say ! DONT care much anymore, I make a good life for ME & my WIFE, that I have some control over so am doing ok, however until the locals face up to THEIR reality & deal with it, the rot will continue....

I also think the depopulation of Japan is going to take off & rise MUCH quicker than predicted by the ldp twits! The future is bleak, those with kids make sure they have 2 languages & a 2nd passport!!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@wtfjapan I totally agree. In the very long run, a smaller population with a more balanced demographic may not be a bad thing. So many kids in recent times are selfish, spoiled brats who will probably grow up to be joyless a-holes because they themselves are the product of loveless marriages, or at best are arrangements where the couple tolerate each other. Marriage and having children are still largely seen as a duty here. It's just another thing to cross off the list that for women will give an escape from low-payed drudgery in the workforce as well as get their parents off their back. For men it also quells family peer pressure and helps make them more employable and promotable in a higher-payed form of drudgery. Its not a good environment to raise kids in though. Kids often feel neglected and develop behavioural and learning problems when their parents aren't good role models. Many kids will grow up not being able to connect with others and make friends and surprise surprise! The country's birth rate falls.

But for those who do want to raise a family, improve child support benefits, draw up laws that encourage job security and don't raise taxes. Or at least provide tax breaks for having children. It ain't rocket-surgery.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

We all look at this question as it relates to Japan and it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture: which is that what is happening in Japan is not unique to Japan. Virtually all other developed countries are seeing the same trends: ageing populations and declining fertility rates. The only difference between Japan and some other countries is immigration, which has the obvious impact of increasing the population immediately but also typically involves immigrants with a higher fertility rate.

The question is this: why are the same trends being seen across all industrialised countries? Because while there may be factors specific to Japan that magnify the issue here, I don't think the underlying factors are all that different.

I would have to go back and pull the data, but I believe the data for virtually all developed countries show the same points:

First, as people become more affluent, they tend to have fewer children.

Second, people that are more educated tend to have fewer children.

Third, people that do not have strong religious beliefs tend to have fewer children.

Fourth, urban dwellers tend to have fewer children than rural or suburban dwellers.

Fifth, the more liberal the policies on birth control, the lower the birth rate.

There are a few others, but those are some basic points.

So, consider this. Across virtually the entire developed country universe in the post-WW2 time period, what have been the trends? The trends have been exactly this: populations becoming more affluent, becoming more educated, less religious, more urban concentrated, and with greater access to birth control.

Which begs the question. Are these just incidental correlations or is there a cause/effect going on here? A question for the researchers.

However, I would submit that there is a cause/effect. Let me submit this question to all of you: if you are a married couple living in Tokyo, why have children? And if you have children, why have more than 1? I mean, seriously, why?? Set aside the whole question of male/female sexual relations in Japan for a minute and just assume that there is no issue there. Why have children?

Because I know quite a few very happy couples in Japan who really have no desire to have more than 1 child, if any. Not because they aren't happily married and not because they don't seem to be physically attracted to each. Rather, it is a question of what they want out of their lives in the future. And multiple child families is just not something that floats their boat.

So, again, why have children and why have more than one child? Until the government can answer these questions, there is no way they can solve this. And I would argue that this, perhaps, is not something that can be "solved". Rather, perhaps it is just a question of time and allowing the natural pendulum to do its thing.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I consider it a humbling privilege to live amongst a people so unique they made themselves extinct. LOL quote of the year! changing the word "unique" to "recalcitrant" or "Xenophobic" would also fit.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A new Japanese cabinet minister tasked with finding ways to boost the birthrate and keep a shrinking population from falling below 100 million said on Thursday he hoped to win over more Japanese to his view that childrearing is rewarding.

Where do they find these geniuses? The low birth rate stems partly from the absurdly long hours Japanese have to work or participate in after work drinking (leaving people exhausted when they get home) the taboo over taking long holidays - and a few other things. Until the government forces (not asks) companies to cut back on the above - nothing will change

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Basically the same size as England yet double the population.

The same size as Britain, you mean. England is about 100,000 km2 smaller than Honshu.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just pay people to have kids.

1 million yen in cash for the first kid.

2 million for the second, etc.

If you hit the jackpot of say 4 kids, 10 million yen.

Add in free healthcare for all your kids up to 16.

Add in a bonus such as, if you have more than 2 kids, one kid among them can attend a private school of your choice for free... something like that...

Just flash the cash instead of making endless meaningless committees and non-binding suggestions...

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I dare say the comments on this one thread are endless, and spot on. Indeed, it is just an ethnic issue. As one poster mentioned, if Abe’s plan to have more women working, then the fertility rate would be even lower. Sometimes these clowns really don’t want to think these things over for too long.

As America has its "tea party", I propose for Japan, the "sake party." One of the positions of this new "sake party" concerning this issue, is (1) make porn free, (2) encourage free sex (tax rebates), and (3) make condoms and birth control and abortions illegal. BAM. Increased population. CHECK.

Now, if you want intelligent population increase, well…that is all together another issue, now isn’t it. They will think about that one much, much later though. But, you can't expect these zombies to actually think this ALL through. Basically, it comes down to CASH, where is the CASH for daycares, where is the CASH for marriage deductions, where is the CASH for paternity and maternity leave (Austria gives its mothers time off and replaces the lost wages!!), and where is the TIME for parents to come home from work. OH---it's just so hard, isn't it? It would actually mean REAL work for these clowns to actually do ANY of these things, so.....mumble, mumble, I have no ideas, mumble, mumble.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You don't? The paper I linked indicates the negative net macro economic effect of increasing child allowance and decreasing government consumption and public works project. (just read the conclusion on the last page).

It's not because you linked an obscure paper that you can think that what it says is correct or that it reflects any accurate science. This paper makes not only little sense to most of people in this thread but it is moreover written in Japanese and therefore is not peer-reviewed for publication in any serious international journal. Which means its validity is totally nil.

Now concerning the effect of increasing child allowance, it can't be negative if implemented well. France or any north European countries where child allowance is very generous have proven that it works, not only for child birth rate but also for the economy as higher child birth rate is considered to be an important asset of a country for its economical growth and sustainability. This is documented in numerous international studies, and I invite you to look by yourself for some of them instead. It won't hurt you to look outside a little bit.

Also note that of course child allowance didn't work in japan so far, it's because it's poorly implemented since it's not backed up with real social policies for women and for families. It's really not rocket science. Germany is also another example where poor social policies have negative effects on birth rate even with more (than Japan) generous child allowance.

Concerning the fact that "decreasing government consumption and public works project" have negative effect on economy (micro, macro, whatever), this is a joke right? This just illustrates more that the paper you linked is a farce. Japan for this regard is a perfect example that blindness public works policies are catastrophic for a country (the concept of "government consumption project" in itself making little sense so I leave it aside).

Japan politicians have been stupidly following this policy since the bubble collapse in order to bring the country out of economical stagnation and it never, never worked. The only thing that the old boys of the LDP achieved to do is building an immense public debt that the young generations has and will have to deal with for the decades to come. How dear can you claim that decreasing public works project have negative effect while on the contrary a economical policy entirely based on this mindset has ruined the country? This baffles the mind. You can also find numerous international studies and documentaries about Japan lost decades and the reasons of it. Please go to look at them.

Instead of trying to blindly protect the LDP and its old boys. you should better be outraged about what this party and its mafia-like organization has done to this country. Their policy for the last 25-30 years has been a debacle. Because of the enormous public debt, Japan has little options to solve its shrinking population problem. It needs social reforms, but this is expensive given also the large amount of elderlies living in this country and it can't afford it with such a public debt. It could increase taxes to fund social reforms, but that would immediately translate into people feeling that they are struggling more in a country where cost of living is very high yet the average income is relatively low. Japan is stuck in a vicious circle and really the LDP has nothing to be proud of, given that it created the present situation.

Abe can come up with all the silly slogans he wants, he can't do sh.... about it as long as the old, outdated thinking of him and his government prevails in Japan.

And apparently the big idea of Kato to increase the birth rate and to convince people for having more children is to promote the message that child-rearing is rewarding. How can they be more stupid? I don't know...

You were doing so well then you resort to usual Abe and LDP bashing.

What a bizarre view of the world to consider that people coming up with real, truthfully critics are necessarily just bashing the LDP, Abe (or Japan). And again, given the miserable political performance of Abe and the LDP, people have more than the right to come up strong against them.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If immigrants from China or Myanmar or Syria or whatever are allowed to become Japanese, then the Japanese population WILL increase. The hurdles to gaining Japanese citizenship (mainly the 10 year residency requirement) can be lowered if necessary. I don't really understand the point Yubaru is trying to make. Japan should open its doors wider to immigrants.

Mizuame the point is that all those people are not ethnically Japanese and the "diversity" is not a part of the vocabulary of the government here.

THe government is looking for ways (talking all the time) about how to increase the ethnic Japanese population.

Increasing immigration will of course lead to a higher population, but not one that forces the country and it's people to adapt to people of different cultures and different beliefs.

There is a word or two for that.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Johnnie Walker: The officials consider japan as a factory they need labour force and of course they also need people for my number and for the the proposed military

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is he going to sneak into women's houses with a turkey baster? Because better men have voiced their solutions to the declining birthrate epidemic and none has so far succeeded.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The government doesn't really care about more people, what they really want is more taxpayers. So, I think the answer is that robots will be taxed like people.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I understand that Japan is a traditionally conservative nation with probably a not so friendly attitude towards immigrants (I mean what is the population demographic, 99% ethnic Japanese?!) but if Japan's population is dwindling and a work force crisis is sure to begin with 40% of the pop. but 2060 being over 75 yrs old then being more liberal with their immigration policies would surely help to compensate for this low fertility rate and would also likely boost the Japanese economy

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who cares if the Japanee population shrinks to 100M as long as the Chinese keep coming in droves to buy stuff?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, the solutions are fairly simple: Make it "brain-dead" inexpensive for families to have and raise babies or/and support more immigration. I doubt the later will happen though. The Japanese fear of foreigners is legendary.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

**shonanbb:

It is embedded in this culture that a women quits her job after getting pregnant, and then becomes dowdy wearing old lady style clothes. Then their hubby does not want to come home.**

So very true.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

this guy has mentioned how to control the population in japan..............

Thats a good idea to think about the future in japan we should improve the social structurer down the road...................

in my opinion, the first priority is to revamp a whole labor environment as much as we can.

Japanese people are under much pressure we spend much time as over work. we can not afford to spend time with our family Also, we dont have much fund to raise and support family

in the situation that we dont have much time and budget, what could cause us to boost the brithgiving?

Even though we are not content with our life, our environment, how could we try to give much contribute to our country???

Japanese government should try to change the labor environment, and boost japanese nation happy rating :)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's not because you linked an obscure paper that you can think that what it says is correct or that it reflects any accurate science. This paper makes not only little sense to most of people in this thread but it is moreover written in Japanese and therefore is not peer-reviewed for publication in any serious international journal. Which means its validity is totally nil.

Sorry if the contents upsets you but no one is going to write a serious international paper about the effects of child allowance macro and micro economic effects of the child allowance implemented by then Democratic Party of Japan.

Now concerning the effect of increasing child allowance, it can't be negative if implemented well. France or any north European countries where child allowance is very generous have proven that it works, not only for child birth rate but also for the economy as higher child birth rate is considered to be an important asset of a country for its economical growth and sustainability. This is documented in numerous international studies, and I invite you to look by yourself for some of them instead. It won't hurt you to look outside a little bit

You could cite one for starters but in this paper, although it mentions the increase in consumption of child related matters, it shows no effect on the increase in birth rate.

Also note that of course child allowance didn't work in japan so far, it's because it's poorly implemented since it's not backed up with real social policies for women and for families. It's really not rocket science. Germany is also another example where poor social policies have negative effects on birth rate even with more (than Japan) generous child allowance.

What is this 'real social policies' you speak of and how much of a cost we're talking about to implement such policies to both public and private sectors? Isn't it time you stop being vague about it and be specific?

Concerning the fact that "decreasing government consumption and public works project" have negative effect on economy (micro, macro, whatever), this is a joke right? This just illustrates more that the paper you linked is a farce. Japan for this regard is a perfect example that blindness public works policies are catastrophic for a country (the concept of "government consumption project" in itself making little sense so I leave it aside).

No. The paper actually covers the extraction of mulitiplier effect if those are cut. To put it simply, the spending of public works is distributed to private sectors who work on them and their employees who are essentially consumers just like you and I. This also is the same for government workers who are also consumers. Your simple minded assumption that the money spend by the government evaporates or worse yet, counts in the separate balance ledger is the reason why you think it's a 'farce'. This is typical from people who have no clue as to what GDP comprises of.

Japan politicians have been stupidly following this policy since the bubble collapse in order to bring the country out of economical stagnation and it never, never worked. The only thing that the old boys of the LDP achieved to do is building an immense public debt that the young generations has and will have to deal with for the decades to come. How dear can you claim that decreasing public works project have negative effect while on the contrary a economical policy entirely based on this mindset has ruined the country? This baffles the mind. You can also find numerous international studies and documentaries about Japan lost decades and the reasons of it. Please go to look at them.

Refer to my previous paragraph to start. As to the public works project or government investment, the figure was 32 trillion yen in 2001 to just under 16 trillion yen in 2011. Was there anything positive that came out? What baffles my mind is that you think such spending simply goes down the toilet where the money disappears into thin air when it's actually the opposite where the deflator index improves and the mulitiplier effect increases the GDP.

As to rest of your paragraphs, it's nothing more than typical LDP bashing completely ignoring that during their initial 30 year post war tenure, Japan transformed herself to the economic power house from developing nation to a developed nation where they still remain the only Asian nation to represent G7.

Your suggestions are, as expected, vague in nature. "Needs social reforms" is no better than Abe's slogans that you criticize.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Japanese government should try to change the labor environment

And likewise, the Japanese workforce should change their their enslaved-indentured like attitudes towards their company.

One of the first things that "shocked" me about Japan when I was new here, was that how Japanese men put their company (& careers) first.

In my country, family always has top priority. Not one's employer.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Wc626 One of the first things that "shocked" me about Japan when I was new here, was that how Japanese men put their company (& careers) first.

Well this is Japan not your country, its normal. Those that have really lived here know this. Its the way it is

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Very well. Its the way it is you say. Meanwhile the population takes a downward spiral.

Well this is Japan not your country

I know, thank god.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

One word: Immigration.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

What Japan does may not work, but what they should not do is open their doors to massive immigration that will truly be their downfall. Just look at EU and what a mess it is. Its not really that hard to figure out how to make it more viable for people to have families but its doubtful they will do it as long as old men are in charge.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So, consider this. Across virtually the entire developed country universe in the post-WW2 time period, what have been the trends? The trends have been exactly this: populations becoming more affluent, becoming more educated, less religious, more urban concentrated, and with greater access to birth control.

Good points zones2surf.

One thing to add is the global trend of women having careers where they choose to have children in later years or not at all. Pretty much most all of developed nations have a fertility rate below the replacement rate (2.1) and to those nations who are on the fringe of it, studies shows that these are attributed to immigrants from developing nations who statistically have higher fertility rates. In other words, those developed nations who has increased in population is due to most exclusively immigration or indirect affects of it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Barriers are only psychological in my opinion. So true that mothers are given so little consideration. That´s because of much absence of affection between parents and children. Society is bringing up robots, not humans. Father of 3 children in Japan and salary man myself, making the impossible to counteract this local system.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With the way women are treated in corporate Japan, why would they want to return to work after marriage and / or pregnancy? Thanks old boys' club for keeping women in OL roles for eternity, all the while increasing the part-time working population (which is now pushing 40%). The new cabinet minister is just another out-of-touch old boys' club member on the candidate carousel here. Nothing will ever change in this country - it's too engrained.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As long as living costs is high... nobody will want to hv more children or think of having any

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Entice people to leave Tokyo, such as giving tax breaks for companies who relocate into less crowded areas. People living in tiny apartments with rent equal to a whole house anywhere else wants or can afford kids.

Next, force people who own empty houses to put them up for rent at reasonable rates. Subsidize the rent to get people on welfare who already have kids in them. They will serve as an example, because right now, Japanese people are even losing the concept of having a house and kids. Seriously.

Tip of the iceberg of not so hard to understand measures that could be taken.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As long as they are ok with half Japanese send me a plane ticket and me and my girlfriend will help populate japan

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The government has already been doing a lot to try and up the birth rate. Tokyo for example gives out a grant to help offset the cost of fertility treatment.

Breaking down the birthrate by prefecture, you'll soon see that regional Japan's birthrate is much higher than Tokyo for example. Lifestyle in many ways is better.

Can the government look to move some of its operations out of Tokyo for example? Admittedly there will be many jobs that must be done in Tokyo, but many that can be done anywhere within Japan where workers can enjoy a better work life balance.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kato, a father of four, gave few clues to how he planned to achieve his ambitious goals

Probably because he hasn't got a clue. The only way to increase the birthrate sufficiently is through the carrot of money. Bigger tax breaks for having more kids, certainly, but especially creating jobs where a couple can look forward to a healthy and secure economic future with confidence.

In this respect, Japan is going backwards, with an amazingly huge percentage of the working population (37% and increasing every day) in "non-regular" 非正規 jobs. i.e. poorly-paid jobs with no bonuses, no social security insurance and no future. For example, there are now 2,730,000 men aged between 35 and 54 in part-time, temporary or contract work. For those interested, check on the Recruit scandal in 1988 (Recruit are publishers of job-finding magazines who wanted to legalize the temporary worker employment agencies that are now like a giant leech on Japanese society) and the subsequent full legalization of the temporary worker system in 1999 to comply with Japanese industry's thirst for cheap labor without social responsibilities.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tons of great suggestions here. Perhaps JT should translate the comments here to Japanese and send them to Kato-san for his edification. No doubt he'll pick up an idea or two. He might even have a, "Wow, why didn't I think of that!" moment. Now whether they'd be implemented or even be considered is a totally different matter.

As some have mentioned, the biggest hurdles to alleviating this issue are the government policies and current system that makes it difficult and not conducive to have and raise children. Combine this with a work/social culture that is intrinsically resistant or averse to change. Realistically, I feel the situation will get worse before (if ever) it gets better. Good luck, Kato-san.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@genjuro - "He might even have a, "Wow, why didn't I think of that!" moment"

ユーリカ!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I just want to point the fact you not need have a great population to have more income, just need brilliant minds to make success a country, if not why so many populate countries are not success monetary? Government of Japan just want make a"Ponzi Pyramid" to keep floating economically but doesn't work in long run. They should think in other ways to make a country great again, innovative, attractive, safe, open minded.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How about doing something about the suicide rate? More than 30,000 people say a permanent goodbye every year in Japan. Many of them young.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Aly RustomOCT. 09, 2015 - 12:00PM JST Look at Korean people who were born in Japan. Not only them but Japanese still discriminate a certain Japanese people who have been discriminated for their occupation.

Toshiko, this sounds like a Japanese problem the japanese have to fix themselves.

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

We are writing about Japan, So I wrote about Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Many of them young

That's cause the pensioners are the sucking the nation dry. The Japanese youth know this. It gives them little hope. Heck, from now on every Japanese born will be already be in the red.

Do young Japanese have a dream? Seems like all I read and hear about is how bleak they all perceive their own futures. Am I wrong?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sorry if the contents upsets you but no one is going to write a serious international paper about the effects of child allowance macro and micro economic effects of the child allowance implemented by then Democratic Party of Japan."

Lol...good to know you use and obscure " non serious " paper link as a basis for your argument then.

" Developed nations that increased in population is due to immigration or indirect effects of it "

However immigration is precisely the one thing that the J- govt is even more averse to than increasing the child rearing benefits ( heaven forbid it might take away from funds to throw trillions after the hopeless farming sector, increased defence spending, white elephant project pork and other LDP favourites) isn't, it.....oh sorry I forgot they will be allowing in a few dozen housekeepers soon ( as long as they can pass a test to demonstrate special ability to use ingredients commonly used in J. household kitchens that are so different from rest of the world, of course :-) Which is almost as funny as your unwavering resolve to defend LDP and their policies no matter how much of a failure they are. But yeah, I'm sure Abe,s magic yet to materialise policy to improve the birthrate will be successful. Just like that mythical , evasive 3rd arrow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

some likely solutions are: ban the retailing of alcohol. This will force people to go out drinking, get drunk and pregnant(i think i'm a genius) so, i'm making beer and wine at my place, then home parties, then 'who's the father'. also, all and any other drugs should be aggressively marketed by government. with and casinos and legal brothels. Now, i think we all will agree to the one additional and final solution to help push the nation over that little mole hill of a population crisis: promote organic farming, cult communities around the nation on all that cheap land to cultivate every single mountainside with all types of seed...cash crops and new age yoga hippie musicians and dancers and weekly festivals and group sxx..oops!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

****Japanese government should try to change the labor environment

****And likewise, the Japanese workforce should change their their enslaved-indentured like attitudes towards their company. One of the first things that "shocked" me about Japan when I was new here, was that how Japanese men put their company (& careers) first. In my country, family always has top priority. Not one's employer.

Dear MAC262 thanks for reply

i have been working for the biggest company in japan in almost three years. i was shocked how Japanese employee should devote their time to the company in the first year. Even though i was born and grew up in japan, i was so shocked at that, and did not figure out how they could put up with over 30 years until they will retire from the company. More worse, my boss and colleagues do not spend any time to revamp the whole labor environment, they just get along with the stereotype custom.

For the third year, i have been job hunting to run away from the biggest and oldest japanese company. Worst of all, no one can revise the longstanding japanese labor custome.

What younger Japanese can all is to go abroad and to get a job, if they would like to have life with family time.

I think we can not rely on japanese goverment measures, it can not revanmp thelonger working labor custom,The company is composed of having older japanese people who get used to have the custom.

Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, lame on me , i was born in this country

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Lol...good to know you use and obscure " non serious " paper link as a basis for your argument then.

Obscure? No. It's conscise and well written. Of course, one thing to do is to dismiss them when you can't comprehend it.

However immigration is precisely the one thing that the J- govt is even more averse to than increasing the child rearing benefits ( heaven forbid it might take away from funds to throw trillions after the hopeless farming sector, increased defence spending, white elephant project pork and other LDP favourites) isn't, it.....oh sorry I forgot they will be allowing in a few dozen housekeepers soon ( as long as they can pass a test to demonstrate special ability to use ingredients commonly used in J. household kitchens that are so different from rest of the world, of course :-) Which is almost as funny as your unwavering resolve to defend LDP and their policies no matter how much of a failure they are. But yeah, I'm sure Abe,s magic yet to materialise policy to improve the birthrate will be successful. Just like that mythical , evasive 3rd arrow.

The failure in your suggestion is that you try to solve this problem with immigration which is essentially equivalent to signing up for a new credit card and drawing money from it. The reason why I defend the current policies is because people like you don't have one yet continually lambast simply because it's LDP.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@masato 2011. Great post and feedback. Even though you must devote your life to your company and sacrifice so much- it's not all in vain. You will always have food on the table, money in ur pocket, retirement funds, bi-annual bonuses and a nice family one day. Stay strong.

If more career bound japanese (thinking similar to you) begin to move up in rank, then there could be an alternative approach to the work culture.

All I know is that Japan's population is going downward spiral. Mostly due to a negative outlook by it's youth. The young Chinese and Koreans do not "think" this way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Child rearing can be very rewarding IF you have time to spend with your family actually doing it, rather than being stuck in the office twiddling your thumbs all the time, worrying about how you are going to make ends meet each month! Fix that issue Japan and the rest will fix itself.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As said many times over in this post. The current admin is interested in ways to increase the native Japanese population. This was made very, very clear when Abe said what he said about not being ready to accept immigrants.

Also this quote:

Society in Which All 100 Million People Can be Active

The new slogan, Abe aides say, is meant to show that all Japanese will be included in economic growth.

They aren't talking about people who live in Japan. They are talking about those who are ethnic Japanese.

The solution to increasing the population of JAPAN starts with this.

Get rid of the same 50 or so 50-70 year old men rotating their posts every so often and get people in there who are relevant to or experts of the issues at hand.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Please open immigration for people of part-Japanese blood or all Japanese blood from the US. AND, will they take retirees with guaranteed INCOMES who would not be a burden?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Obscure? No. It's conscise and well written. Of course, one thing to do is to dismiss them when you can't comprehend it." You are the one who said no one was going to produce a serious paper about a DPJ govt. child allowance policy, btw which LDP linked body or an individual ( naturally claiming to be impartial ) produced the paper you quote? Please let us know their credentials since we can`t all comprehend economic analysis papers in Japanese the same way you do.

The failure in your suggestion is that you try to solve this problem with immigration which is essentially equivalent to signing up for a new credit card and drawing money from it. The reason why I defend the current policies is because people like you don't have one yet continually lambast simply because it's LDP. So since LDP won`t solve the problem with increased immigration and you blast increased child payment initiatives -what magic exactly do you suggest Abe will use to get to his target? The kicker is you defend LDP policies current , past or future unreservedly regardless of their flaws , precisely only because they came from LDP.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

People of Japan are over exploited / overworked ( equal of third world countries = slavery). There are some laws which limit the time of work but no one really follow them ( companies use intimidation and blackmail on their employed to avoid respecting those laws). There's no personal time, no value for family ... etc. How a man ( woman) who work over 14- 15 hours a day ( and sometime more), can even find the time and the physical ability to relax, to have romance/ private enjoyment and to fulfill basic human needs / duties ? **

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You are the one who said no one was going to produce a serious paper about a DPJ govt. child allowance policy, btw which LDP linked body or an individual ( naturally claiming to be impartial ) produced the paper you quote? Please let us know their credentials since we can`t all comprehend economic analysis papers in Japanese the same way you do.

LDP linked? Since when does a paper that verifies the macro/micro effects of child allowance automatically becomes LDP linked?

Her brief credentials.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%97%A4%E4%B8%B8%E9%BA%BB%E7%B4%80 <http://www.wayo.ac.jp/academics/teacher/int_soc/tabid/415/Default.aspx

So since LDP won`t solve the problem with increased immigration and you blast increased child payment initiatives -what magic exactly do you suggest Abe will use to get to his target? The kicker is you defend LDP policies current , past or future unreservedly regardless of their flaws , precisely only because they came from LDP.

Well certainly not immigration nor child allowance as indicated by the macro/micro effects. It's a difficult issue where there are no easy solutions as evidenced by developed nations' not even achieving the replacement rate.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They need a minister for sex, either that or start allowing other ethnic groups to live here. OMG what a thought. Can u imagine. A cosmopolitan Japan? No I cannot imagine it. One of the richest and most modern countries in the world and they think they are to impoverished to have children??? Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Make men work less (introduce huge fines for companies with excessive overtime and rejecting holiday requests). Aim to have men working hours that a mother using childcare could work.

Enable mothers to work more (enforce limits on school PTAs, ban sports clubs that excessively practice from national tournaments etc.)

Do not financially punish mothers for working (end tax and pension benefits for housewives)

Scrap the koseki system and remove any other barriers to people having kids outside marriage. Let unmarried couples into public housing.

Completely review system regarding custody of children for couples who split. Enforce visitation rights. Take custody away from parents who deny visitation.

As a rule, I don't think the state should intervene in people's lives, but it is necessary because the system we have here without it stinks due to outdated cultural norms. fwiw, I'm sure loads of housewives out there would be against the above changes because they don't care about women who want to work and are happy with their benefits and not working and the peace of mind that they can kick their husband out and deny him access to the kids if he has a fling with a girl at work (for his first sex in years).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Wc626 Thanks for your great feedback too.

I feel relieved to hear "Even though you must devote your life to your company and sacrifice so much- it's not all in vain." from you. I just thought i wasted my youth life in order to devote to the belated japanese company. I also though i did not obtain any specific skills while spending times to go to "NOMIKAI". Worst of all, i felt but nothing to being a modern working slave. Therefore, i felt anxiety of living in japan and contributing to japanese company for the future. however i cant take my situation from a different perspective, i can find out a few good points of my situation. thanks so much!!! Also, i hope the global economy change will have a significant effect on the prototype of japanese labor system.

Anyway, your ideas are so impressive because you can perspective what it will happen in the future. You must be smart and strong!

I really wanna ask you , have you been working for japanese company before??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LDP linked? Since when does a paper that verifies the macro/micro effects of child allowance automatically becomes LDP linked? I was pointing out to the well known phenomenon of papers supporting LDP view of things often being published by independent "experts" who on closer examination just happen to be on the receiving end of one or more of many kinds of grants , sponsorships, job offers etc. that LDP dishes out. It might or might not be the case with the author of the article you linked but being an AP at the fine institution of Wayo Women,s University in Ichikawa does not make her a renowned authority on the topic ( especially as it was pointed out by another poster with her paper not being peer reviewed or scrutinized its value is virtually zilch ).

*Well certainly not immigration nor child allowance as indicated by the macro/micro effects. It's a difficult issue where there are no easy solutions as evidenced by developed nations' not even achieving the replacement rate. Indeed there are no easy solutions , but since you discount financial incentives to families and reject immigration what magic sundbite idea is the LDP gonna come up with to improve the rate to 1.8? Yes, many developed nations are facing the same issue but virtually all of them be they in Europe , N.America , Asia or Oceania have immigration higher than the pitiful level here in Japan. Its Japan govt,s perogative to not accept immigrants or offer increased financial incentives for child rearing of course but then stop selling the pigs will fly idea of magically raising the birthrate / stabilizing population level without any concrete policies.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

was pointing out to the well known phenomenon of papers supporting LDP view of things often being published by independent "experts" who on closer examination just happen to be on the receiving end of one or more of many kinds of grants , sponsorships, job offers etc. that LDP dishes out. It might or might not be the case with the author of the article you linked but being an AP at the fine institution of Wayo Women,s University in Ichikawa does not make her a renowned authority on the topic ( especially as it was pointed out by another poster with her paper not being peer reviewed or scrutinized its value is virtually zilch ).

But she proved to be right. Implementing child allowance and cutting government sponsored/funded projects (事業仕分け)in which your hero Renho was in charge of failed for she's still busy defending her own actions on her twitter account.

Indeed there are no easy solutions , but since you discount financial incentives to families and reject immigration what magic sundbite idea is the LDP gonna come up with to improve the rate to 1.8? Yes, many developed nations are facing the same issue but virtually all of them be they in Europe , N.America , Asia or Oceania have immigration higher than the pitiful level here in Japan. Its Japan govt,s perogative to not accept immigrants or offer increased financial incentives for child rearing of course but then stop selling the pigs will fly idea of magically raising the birthrate / stabilizing population level without any concrete policies.

There is no such things is "pititiful level' when it comes to immigration numbers for the higher the amount simply indicates that some nations have absolutely very little control of the situation as evidenced by recent European nations with their divided populations within their own boundaries.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

When a politician says he wants to boost the population, that means he's getting ready to screw someone.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"There is no such things is "pititiful level' when it comes to immigration numbers"

The most obvious, crystal clear example of "pitiful" immigration level is Japan`s acceptance of 11 refugees out of 5000 applicants last year. You can dance around that figure any way you like -the percentage speaks for itself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The most obvious, crystal clear example of "pitiful" immigration level is Japan`s acceptance of 11 refugees out of 5000 applicants last year.

That's not really an immigration issue though. It's a refugee issue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, but accepted refugees do count as immigrants in their new countries, don`t they? If you have figures for other immigration to Japan handy ( ie. skilled visas, family reunion, etc..) please do share, I,d wager that they are way lower as % of Japan,s population than pretty much most other developed countries.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The most obvious, crystal clear example of "pitiful" immigration level is Japan`s acceptance of 11 refugees out of 5000 applicants last year. You can dance around that figure any way you like -the percentage speaks for itself.

Discussed here.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/as-europe-opens-its-doors-japan-considers-clamping-down-harder-on-asylum-seekers#comment_2053245

Vast majority of them doesn't even qualify as 'refugee' under the definition set forth by 1951 or 1967 Protocol.

Yes, but accepted refugees do count as immigrants in their new countries, don`t they? If you have figures for other immigration to Japan handy ( ie. skilled visas, family reunion, etc..) please do share, I,d wager that they are way lower as % of Japan,s population than pretty much most other developed countries.

And your point being what? Why are you bringing the failed immigration policy of the developed countries into mix is beyond me.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

acceptance of 11 refugees out of 5000 applicants last year.

one can also wonder and hope that the condition is not so complicated for the accepted 11. questions like are they really welcomed well (?),,there is less coverage on their condition i think.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How to grow Japan's Population:

1) Pregnant women are on maternity leave longer. 2) Ensure any pregnant woman that their job will still be available to them when they return to work. 3) Increase spending on social programs to aid in families who are having tough time raising their children (the amount of child/infant murders in Japan, which is a first world nation is atrocious) 4) Allow fathers to spend time with their family (decrease the amount of overtime) 5) Give tax breaks to the Middle class so they can afford to have a child.

If there is any criticism regarding my proposals, please reply and we can have a constructive debate on the subject.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Nobusaki Your proposals have such a great point to pursue for the equality labor environment in man and woman.

We should take a step little by little to revamp the society.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan`s acceptance of 11 refugees out of 5000 applicants last year.

Japan used to accept a lot, more than 10,000 a year in 70s or something.

How to grow Japan's Population:

Japanese men should propose or women.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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