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Women could save Japan's economy: IMF's Lagarde

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Already the University graduates are facing an ice age and half of them can't find work yet we're supposed to flood the tight job market with ever more workers.

Let's put the University grads and other unemployed people to work first.

It's also an economic fallacy that housewives aren't productive. Their work in terms of cooking for the kids, cleaning the house and otherwise attending to family members provides benefits to society even though those benefits may not be calculated in the GNP figures that the IMF worship.

There's more to life than GNP figures and corporate profits.

14 ( +18 / -5 )

Many companies are a little overstaffed, when corporate profits are being cut by the strong yen and deflation and jobs are not really being created. In that situation, I don't see how encouraging more people, women or otherwise, to find jobs could help our economy, Ms. Economist.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Both the previous commentators ignore the value of women working. As for Never Submit's argument, you'd have to believe all those university graduates actually have degrees in a field in which they could expect employment. Hardly. And Hiroicci, encouraging people to help themselves is hardly a bad thing. I agree with you that SOME companies are over-staffed, but they'll die with the rest of the dinosaurs, and women will take the lead in those failed industries.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Ha ha! I can just imagine all the oyajis choking on their ocha this morning!This makes perfect sense in most developed nations, let alone ones where the women are equally as qualified and educated as men, and the work force is aging and the population shrinking. But in Japan it represents a crisis of conscience for the gender who considers the fairer sex inferior in every way.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Did I say it's a bad thing, TrevorPeace??? I say it's difficult to do that atm. Is that the same thing? If so, pls explain.

You say "Women will take the lead in those failed industries." Why does it have to be women though? I'd say it could be ANYONE who has skills, knowledge and leadership. As long as they have those, yeah, take the leadership. Or is this still sexist???

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The job market is already too tight to accept newcomers, with wages falling and conditions worsening. Japan's secret to maintaining only 5% unemployment after 2 decades of recession is because so many women and immigrants are kept out.

Some European countries have 25% joblessness. In northern England, there are entire communities living off the dole since the 1970s. Is that really what Legarde wants for Japan?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Women could be a huge asset to the work force only if the men of Japan would allow it. And Trevor, I agree with you. There are endless excuses perpetuated by men and society as a whole why working women are such a bad thing for the country. It's time to make some big changes to the status quo.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

While jobs are being exported faster than new products developed, as offshore investment increases, the who lowing out continues, jobs opertunites for young, old, males and female decline. To over simplify dose not mean its not real.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Let's see; there's the problem of the graying society due to falling birth rate. As increasing numbers of people get married later, partly due to educational and career aspirations, the birth rate has fallen. Encouraging increasing numbers of potential mothers to be put to work(likely outside of the home) will only exasperate the graying society situation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan, like almost every other developed nation has an abundance of labor, not a shortage of it. Currently, for University grads, there are something like 2 applicants for available position. A lot of eager kids will end up working part-time or being freeters because they can't find a job. Why worsen the situation even more by adding more workers into the pool to compete for ever fewer jobs.

Moreover, countless studies have shown that stay at home moms contribute to society and the economy in several ways, especially regarding long term benefits.

Just because the work of stay at home moms isn't immediately visible on the corporate balance sheet or on the IMF's GDP figures doesn't mean they're not contributing to society.

It's degrading to women to say that if they choose to stay at home with their kids they're not contributing. Those women have a choice and they made it and we should respect them for it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan may welcome the circus to town, but when it leaves, so do the clowns...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think as the IMF mg she is out of touch, suggesting women are the answer,women already play a bigger role in society than men and now she wants them to go to work !!!!! The answer is the monetary system itself, its totally broken,banks are only geared up to make huge profits,they don't work sympathetically with businesses. Plus universities are churning out graduates with qualifications that have no value to the students in todays business world. But I agree that in the male dominated business world, women do have to fight to be recognised as an equal.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Lagarde is right on !!! ........................J Business attitude vis a vis women MUST change. . . ..................................women are still not taken seriously in the busiess world here .. . . ........... very rarely do the REALLy SMART women get promoted .......................no matter how dumb a guy is here , he still has more say thaN a woman...............................JAPAN NEEDS TO GET INTO THE 21st CENTURY WITH RESPECT TO WOMEN I NTHE WORKPLACE. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Why do some of you assume that a recent male graduate is by default superior to a woman who might be better qualified?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

MINELLO7------------ It would help if you knew what you were talking about ....................WOMEN are changing the economic infrastructures in many communities & parts of countries all over the world. ........................... THIS is a DOCUMENTED FACT .............Besides, the banks in Japan are NOT broken.........................There is a A LOT OF MONEY in Japan........................That is why a compnay like SOFTBANK could execute one the the largest takeovers buying up America's SPRINT........................................... Lagarde - a brilliant woman in her own right - touches a nerve because she is suggesting Japan revolutionize some of it business approaches. . . .. .SHE IS TOTALY CORREC

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Getting more women to "save Japan" by working, is a subltle attempt to introduce new "austerity measures" in Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Women who choose to stay home start work when they get up, Ms Lagarde, it's just not taxable, therefore not beneficial to money-grabbing "leaders".

5 ( +7 / -2 )

semperfi - did I mention japanese banks !!!! I wasn't just talking about Japan. And did you read my last sentence ? There is a world outside of Japan you know!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Women could rescue Japan’s chronically underperforming economy if more of them went to work,

LOL. What exactly would they do?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The argument seems to be, either women should work OR they should stay at home. What most women want is to work until they have kids, to work once the youngest kid hits school (perhaps part-time so she can be home when they come home), and to spend the years in between concentrating on looking after the kids when they need her most. Instead of simply haranguing women to 'Go Out To Work' or 'Stay At Home', those concerned about the economy should be thinking of ways of making this model workable; provide a way of making the career gap crossable without offering capable, well-qualified women nothing better than stacking shelves at the local supermarket or teaching eikaiwa to the local kiddies.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Sadly, there is little talk of paid work that can be done at home (for both men and women). Women can aid Japan's economy. They have had control of most of the household money for at least the last 50 years too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What she is really saying is that Japanese women are lazy. Most women consider not working after marriage as their god given right (even if they have no children).

OK, just trolling there. I don't really think all Japanese women are lazy, but now I've got your attention (and probably your wrath). Don't you think that "I quit because I'm getting married" is the lamest excuse for leaving your job ever?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Women who choose to stay home start work when they get up, Ms Lagarde, it's just not taxable, therefore not beneficial to money-grabbing "leaders"

Dutch2:

Yes!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What an astonishing pronouncement!

What is more astonishing is that it actually makes news!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The reasoning of the bankers is false in that they assume that only paid work is beneficial.

For example, if a family hires a maid to clean the house, the GDP increases because a financial transaction takes place. Yet if a stay at home mom cleans the house herself, the same work is done yet no (taxable) financial transaction takes place so it can't be calculated on the GDP figures so the bankers assume the economy hasn't benefited even though the same work has been done.

The bankers want everything to be monetized and they assume that any work done that does not include a financial transaction is of no benefit to society. But they are dead wrong.

The work that stay at home moms do, for example, cooking, cleaning, preparing the kids for school, teaching the kids, reading to them, spending time with them are all beneficial to society, even though a taxable financial transaction doesn't take place.

Ms. Lagarde has been in the banking world for so long that she has forgotten that everything is not about money and financial statements.

5 ( +5 / -1 )

Couple of things I would like to add:

Women don't always choose to stay at home. There still is a lot of social pressure to do so.

It is usually more profitable for a Japanese family to have the woman stay at home because:

1 Men whose wife is a fulltime housewife tend to get higher wages than men with wives that work.

2 Some companies pay extra money and train wives to stay at home and make sure that the employee is cared for properly so that he can work harder (this practice is becoming less common though).

Women that do work, usually work part-time because the wages for fulltime jobs are not double the amount given for part-time jobs, but fulltime jobs do require double the effort.

In general women get paid a lot less than men (this however is the case in every country, but the difference is a bit bigger in Japan).

There are many more reasons, and there is no country in the world where women are truly treated equally to men. It is also a debate within sociology that is never ending because of reasons mentioned by other commentors (such as the contribution of housewives to the economy). In sum everything is gendered and striving for equality is a good thing, yet the how and when (and sometimes even the why) are always heavily debated. I do think Japan can win a pot by having more women work and upping the social security and welfare systems. I think Japan in a way underappreciates and underestimates women in the labor force, and Lagarde is, I think, correct in making sure the issue is on the radar.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Easy: move the bad debts into an account and them press the "delete" button by accident...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No,no. Mrs. Lagarde must works like japanese woman. To learn what means job.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Women with infants and toddlers should be with them 24/7. Women make children not men and are natural carers (on the most part). Children do better at school and have better health on average than those who have working mothers , they are also better balanced emotionally. These are not my opinion but facts.

What kid wants to be chucked into day care then kindergarten then school without ever having the full care of its mother?

Someone stated this is all about GDP! Too right, putting the kids into day care raises GDP but does NOT improve society.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Lol, total propaganda aimed at housewives, and the like, as they can't be taxed if they don't go off to work. Don't be taken in by it ladies!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan is more likely to let in more foreign workers and even dual nationality than it is to follow what Lagarde suggests. They're CUTTING assistance to families and women, not increasing it, and opening more super-expensive kindergartens doesn't help either -- the government needs to subsidize childcare and have nurseries free of charge, or a lot cheaper, so that women can go to work.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Hilarious! Yeah, women would save Japan's economy by working for lessor salaries than the men. In Australia we call it, scab labor and it is illegal!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There was a time when a single income was enough for a Japanese family to live a middle class lifestyle. Inflation, in part, caused by the activities of the world's central banks, has devalued all currencies so that now two incomes are required to maintain the same lifestyle. And this while technology has increased productivity and lowered the un-inflated costs of goods.

The idea posed by the globalists at the IMF and other agencies is designed to increase the tax base while also increasing the size and scope of government (someone has to care for all of those kids of working women). The chronically declining birthrate presents a problem in aging societies. What most people miss is that this decline is due, in part, to the increase of women in the workforce and the higher cost of living.

Mothers are one of the most underrated classes of society, especially to these elite bankers. Yet, they represent the future of any society. Motherhood should be encouraged and mothers should be esteemed in society, not told that they do not do enough for the greater "good" of the nation.

Lastly, the notion that government bureaucrats can raise Japanese children better than mothers (the concept that "it takes a village to raise a child") is absurd. Mothers should keep their children as far away from the government as possible because the government is only interested in training children to become good, obedient, tax-slaves.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

if a family hires a maid to clean the house, the GDP increases because a financial transaction takes place. Yet if a stay at home mom cleans the house herself, the same work is done yet no (taxable) financial transaction takes place so it can't be calculated on the GDP figures so the bankers assume the economy hasn't benefited even though the same work has been done.

That's true. No financial transaction has taken place, so the economy has not benefited. The maid earns nothing and so not only pays no tax but also maybe claims a benefit, and the family gets financial perks in the form of tax/pension/health insurance allowances for the sahm as a dependent.

any work done that does not include a financial transaction is of no benefit to society.

It may have no direct economic benefit, but the invisible benefits can be equally if not more important.

more women need to be working and not stuck at home

Any woman who feels 'stuck at home' will do herself and her family a favour by getting out of the home, same as any woman who feels guilty/flustered/exhausted at leaving the kids in childcare / trying unsuccessfully to balance family life with work will do all concerned a favour by putting the career on hold until circumstances change. No one needs to be a martyr either way.

Interestingly, there are studies that suggest that the impact of working/stay at home mothers on children varies according to the family's situation; there is a more negative impact on middle-class and two-parent families than on lower-income and one-parent families.

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

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What problem is Japan facing now? Is it the lack of working people or is it the lack of work places? If Japan needs more working people, of course "allowing" women to work is a great solution. However, at present Japan seems to be undergoing stagnation of economy and, as a result, increasing unemployment. Having more and more women work is not the solution to the present problems.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I am all for woman in the workplace but the problem is there is no jobs and the jobs that are out there pay hardly anything, if more people came in looking for work the price of the jobs would go down even more.

The problem is overtime and working saturdays, make saturday and sunday holiday's don't allow overtime and 3-4 hour meetings talking about the same point over and over so people can get home and have time and money to raise a family.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

cleo: "Maybe in other parts of the world it's so commonplace it doesn't hit the news you read?"

I never said it doesn't happen in other places, I said it doesn't happen DAILY like it seems to here, be it mom's killing the kids that should never have been with them after previous abuse incidents (with a golf club) to killing them and burying them in planters on the balcony or putting them in the fridge. I do read other news sources from around the world, but never do I see the number of reports of parents killing kids that I do here, and those are only the ones that make the news.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cleo: The point I was trying to make, and which you later helped make by pointing out the stats on middle-income/lower-income family differences, is that the automatic assumption that a mother staying home and taking care of the kids will result in healthier, happier, smarter families is not necessarily the case.

I agree with you whole-heartedly that if a woman feels 'stuck' she should try and get out of the rut, and if they have the means to stay home and want to stay home -- man or woman -- they should follow that desire as well. But with debt increasing in society, and living costs and taxes getting higher, there are times when a person, again, male of female, needs to get out and work to help the family. It's a sad situation, but Lagarde is right that it is a possible solution.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@smithinjapan

I am talking facts here. The average child fares better with the mother staying at home. I don't mean individual cases i mean as a whole and these have been proven in studies.

Only a moron would say " look at this" or " look at that"!! I am talking facts some which governments and big business don't want you to know, but facts they are.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think people arguing that "housewives work, they just can't be taxed for their work" are missing something: you can sweep the floor like a madman (or woman) 24/7: it doesn't actually add anything to your household income! So yes there are household chores (that may, in case you have never tried to fry an egg or broken a glass doing the dishes, be shared) but for them to amount to a full time job, you'd better be looking after a family of 10, living in a palatial house; just spending a lot of time polishing stuff for the 10th time and tracking down any particle of dust with your laser dust remover gizmo in your 40 square meter flat with no kids around actually equals underemployment. And just to prove wrong those who argue that there aren't any jobs around, just go and create some! Women of Japan if you're bored at home and your husband is bringing in good income, do something! Invest in a shop (try to make profits, hire salespeople), import your favorite gelato from Italy, try to re-create the unique taste of the takuwan your grandma made at home, write code for revolutionary new i-pad applications! just do it, don't wait to be given a job, become entrepreneurs and you'll see the magic thing is you will help lift the economy, choose to do things the way you want and have fun!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hero_us

The job of child rearing is the most important job of all. There are not enough jobs in Japan anyway that is why so many work part time. Women at home cannot all suddenly start businesses, the cash is not there to fund their ventures. I live in the Japanese countryside, we have lost 60 local stores in the last decade and gained a McDonalds a Mister Donut and a couple of chain book stores. This is not the boom time, outside of the cities there is little chance for these things.

I don't think the women are bored, if they have raised their children well and wish to be a homekeeper then good luck to them. Many men downgrade bringing up kids and how important it is to be there for them and also for keeping the house in order.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

" the government needs to subsidize childcare and have nurseries free of charge, or a lot cheaper, so that women can go to work."

This is utter nonsense. It really means the government should further increase its tax confiscation from the whole in order to mismanage the extorted loot, hire various workers to do poorly what mothers do best naturally in order to extract more taxes from the mothers who work to try to better their home incomes. It's paying people to repair the broken windows which other people have been paid to break. Economists view this as increasing GDP, but anyone with a dram of common sense can see the fallacy.

" Mothers are one of the most underrated classes of society, especially to these elite bankers. Yet, they represent the future of any society. Motherhood should be encouraged and mothers should be esteemed in society, not told that they do not do enough for the greater "good" of the nation.

Lastly, the notion that government bureaucrats can raise Japanese children better than mothers (the concept that "it takes a village to raise a child") is absurd. Mothers should keep their children as far away from the government as possible because the government is only interested in training children to become good, obedient, tax-slaves." 《= THIS is so absolutely true!!!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Betraythetrust!: "Only a moron would say " look at this" or " look at that"!! I am talking facts some which governments and big business don't want you to know, but facts they are."

That's exactly what you are doing; you're saying "look at this" and "look at that". I agree with you that child-rearing is the most important job in the world, but neglecting the family in doing so (ie. economics) is not a boon for child-rearing but a bane against it. How is staying at home better for a child if there's no food to give him or her? How is it better if mom stays home (or dad, since you insist on only seeing one gender as the proper child-rearing) when the family is in danger of losing the house because they have 30 more years of loan payments and the payments cannot be met with only one partner working? The FACTS are that the economy has tanked and personal debt is GROWING in Japan, not shrinking, and that is hurting a LOT of families. One solution is to have more women working. There is no need for a woman to stay home and do some household chores, take a nap, watch TV, or what have you while the kids are at school, club, and then the very expensive cram schools, is there?

I'm still amazed when I talk to home-makers who say they had to wake up at five am to make a 'lunch box' and/or breakfast for their teenage kids for sports day, when said kids are perfectly capable of doing it themselves, or the husband is. People need to change their ideas of what priority means, and do a little more work as a family -- it should never be decided what the roles and duties are based on antiquated belief systems. When a grown man or teenage child of either gender can't even fry an egg it's something to be ashamed of, not something to praise mom for.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Herve: "This is utter nonsense."

No, what's utter nonsense is asking women to be 'baby-making machines' (sic) while cutting family tax breaks, and taking away their jobs if and when they DO have babies because society 'expects' them to stay home. Grounds have been made in terms of paternity leave and ensuring women can get their jobs back after maternity leave expires, but it's still the exception to the norm, which is part of the problem.

"Lastly, the notion that government bureaucrats can raise Japanese children better than mothers (the concept that "it takes a village to raise a child") is absurd."

Who's asking the government to raise children? I'm saying the government should do more to ensure the children are taken care of for part of the day if a parent (not only mom, but dad as well) decides to work and make sure the family has some income. The only way the government, in your analogy, is raising a child completely is if they are in an orphanage. Again, if a child is in school, and the mother sitting at home, why can't she work (ie. at a paying job) during that time?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@smithinjapan

Where are all these jobs for women? Many men and women who seek work are off the unemployment lists as they have had no work for so long or are working part time jobs for 7-800 Yen an hour. The fact is it costs more for the state to provide childcare than it benefits the state for her to work (on average).

In the Uk there is a reason they don't ask single parents to work until the child reaches 16 as on average it costs more in childcare and other allowances than gets back in taxes.

Why not use the child care money to help the parents with extra income and pay for more social workers to assist vunurable kids. The reason this does not happen is big business makes nothing from it and they pull the strings.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Betraythetrust!: "Many men and women who seek work are off the unemployment lists as they have had no work for so long or are working part time jobs for 7-800 Yen an hour."

And yet Japan needs to bring in Brazilian laborers and Philippina nurses to do the jobs they don't want to do themselves. Fire some of the 'retired' yet still working oyajis if you want to create more white-collar jobs that people here would desire.

"In the Uk there is a reason they don't ask single parents to work until the child reaches 16 as on average it costs more in childcare and other allowances than gets back in taxes."

That's in the UK, not here. Child care costs a fortune here from the pocket, not taxes. Japan NEEDS more people working to shore up the economy, and will definitely need it in the future as the population ages. In order to ensure people have more kids while being told to work they need to provide more incentive to do so. Staying home is not helping.

"Why not use the child care money to help the parents with extra income and pay for more social workers to assist vunurable kids."

But they're not doing this, are they? Did the tax breaks for families that they cut go towards such assistance? No, not at all.

"The reason this does not happen is big business makes nothing from it and they pull the strings."

Agree with you there. Perhaps it's time for some of these businesses to ask why they need a government bail-out.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Ain't that the obvious truth.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Smithinjapan

You do realise that the Brazilians etc earn about 500 Yen and hour after unofficial overtime. We have over 200 Chinese "trainees working here for less than 300 Yen an hour. The type of industry that needs more labour are the ones that use these scams for cheap labour, you think women will work for 300-500 Yen,

Also don't believe the hype in J land day care is subsidised by 30-60%. More than th working mother pays in taxs in many cases.It is all a scam.

I am not against women working but for the benefit of the family the government is better off subsidising the mother to stay at home than subsidising day care which can be owned by almost any Tom, Dick or Harry.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Great post, saidani .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Smith, I know you mean well, but the type support you encourage obfuscates the simple truth of the math; It doesn't add up.

The fact that the family can't afford to pay for the childcare themselves (without taxpayer subsidy ~ welfare ) is very telling. If the costs outweigh the benefit, then it simply doesn't make sense. Saying that the public(taxpayers) should be further burdened with more tax-confiscation in order to pay for the parent(either) to go out for work is foolishness on several levels. Socialist programs like this don't work simply because the math doesn't work. Jobless rates, especially for younger persons reflect the compounded effects of tax confiscation and wealth redistribution that Socialist programs inevitably create.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Women in Japan going to work.... makes sense and realistic. The problem is a large percentage of women in Japan are too "spoiled" and too "powerful" to want to go to work.

They not only control the family "purse" and give "spending money" to husbands that work 12 to 14 hours a day, but spend much by themselves with an excuse that it is for their "children", and divert that to beauty care, health care, and "pachinko", if not to have fun with their friends. If they have children, much of the time is taken care of by government sponsored and often paid for childcare centers, and sending the children to Juku, giving them time to "gossip" and otherwise "point fingers" and "blame" everyone else but themselves for the poor economy.

Besides from what I can see, most married women do not want to work at regular jobs but rather stay at home and enjoy TV or some expensive hobby like golf, considering that is the marriage perk. One reason why foreign nationals can come to japan and find many jobs waiting for them.

Can you imagine the money a family would save if women stopped going to "pachinko"?

Such "negative" thoughts are not the best way to approach this problem. However, as a foreigner, that is what I see.

But more important, the businesses must change their employment policies to release retiring employees who are a burden to the company, andactively "hire" older aged qualified persons who can benefit both the young and old employees with "fresh" if not "better" work habits and innovative ideas based on "experience". Nothing to do with "fairness" or "tradition", it has to do with efficiency, effectiveness and overall profitability.

So much "talent", "knowledge" and "experience based wisdom" is being wasted only because companies are looking at the immediate bottom line and desire to have younger people at "low" wages and get "overtime" from them. Most open position now "require" age 45 or younger, and expect high academic degrees besides experience in the field.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

God, every time Lagarde opens her mouth I want to cry. She is Kyles mother in D minor.

"Because there is this aging problem... we believe that women could actually help very much ... if there were "better kindergartens and better assistance and cultural acceptance that women can actually do the job, it would be excellent for the Japanese economy."

Yes, it would be excellent for any economy. But in Japan ... Starting from next Monday, we increase the amount of job places to accommodate 30% of female population of Japan (the difference between 50% and 80%) to equate with the men. Simple, really. Then, for every working place we create several supporting working places, so women "can actually do the job". Then, we hire only women and discriminate everyone else, create better and more kindergartens, make women to go to work 12-14 hours per day, children to kindergartens, husbands also to work for 12-14 hours, and everything will be perfect! The state will, of course, pay for all this. To make this all possible, we decrease the working hours twice and salary three times. Why is she not the Prime Minister of Japan yet?!

PS. Why not to propose something real and feasible, leader of the IMF, instead of going into female chauvinism and Women, Women, Women everywhere as a solution to everything. Look in the mirror. European economy is a striking example.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I just want Christine Lagarde's job.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Appreciate your mums. A good one makes a huge difference to a child, and also to the societies those children eventually contribute to.

4 ( +3 / -0 )

So basically the Western Feminazi's want Japanese and other Eastern women to become "independent" like they are

Yeah, lets mimic the USA, and have over 50% divorce rates, with lots of single mothers raising future delinquents, that claim they are independent, when in fact they have just replaced men, with government handouts

That has done wonders for western society !

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Perhaps Christine Lagarde should check out what pitiful wages women can expect in Japan. Actually, not only women but men also and not counting the fact that most employment is only available for part time. For a supposedly rich country, the whole job system is a disgrace. There are very few full time employment opportunities for anyone in this country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well, of course women could save the Japanese economy, they control most of the money!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The are many women here who do not (want to) work even after their kids are raised or intentionally work part time for a yearly amount which does not exceed the non-taxable income line (a little over 100,000 yen per year.) As retired people will soon constitute 25% of the Japanese society, Japan will need more people who work and contribute to the social security system and this is the least to say. The problem seems to be in the social expectations concerning women and also in the lack of a system (incl. infrastructure) which would support working mothers.

For those saying that a child fairs better when the mother stays at home, I have my personal story to tell. I went to kindergarten as soon as I was able to walk and my mother went back to work. She raised 2 children and had a successful career and never even once failed to be there when we needed her. She could do so because there were the necessary facilities and social support for working mothers (I am talking about understanding, not financial support). I admire her for how much she has done for her family. My friends back home are now raising their children while working and it seems their kids have no problems (psychological, emotional or whatever) because of their working mothers. If anything, the kids learn from an early age that in life you have to work in order to achieve your goals.

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And yet Japan needs to bring in Brazilian laborers and Philippina nurses to do the jobs they don't want to do themselves. Fire some of the 'retired' yet still working oyajis if you want to create more white-collar jobs that people here would desire.

The majority of women with school-age kids are simply not available to work the hours the Brazilian labourers and Philippina nurses work. Kids can be out of school as early as 2 in the afternoon, while nursing/care work tends to be shift work and does not really lend itself to being home in time for the kids. And as people are marrying and having kids later in life, many of those ''retired' yet still working oyajis' are still working because they still need the income to pay for the education of their kids. And again, the oyajis work hours that the mums don't find reasonable.

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I believe the point that IMF's Lagarde wanted to make is simple. There is a big bulk of highly educated women in Japan who could support strongly high added value jobs. There is no point to push the women to work, but the ones who wants should be supported. I highly value mothers' job (my wife is making a break to do it and I thank her every days) but they should be offered the choice. Better a good woman at any position than a bad man, who could stay home instead of her wife!

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a yearly amount which does not exceed the non-taxable income line (a little over 100,000 yen per year.)

You're missing a nought and then some. It should be 1,030,000 yen or 1,410,000 yen for the special allowance.

http://www.nta.go.jp/taxanswer/shotoku/1800.htm

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fupayme: I fully agree with you re children education, but if there is no divorce in Japan it is just because there is anyway no couple life, nor family life in Japan. Both man and woman do their job separately: man working and drinking in the evening and woman taking care of children and meeting she-friends during the day. That's it!

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The article is not about that those women, who want to work, should be able to work. It is self evident. There is no even question about that. The article is about Lagarde giving advice to Japanese to tackle economic crisis in Japan by employing 30% more women, of those who now stay at home or are not employed.

The advice is absurd and about nothing, because if it would be possible, any government would give jobs to 100% of people, who want to work. Yet every government struggles every year for Every percent of unemployment. The person, who creates such banalities, is not fit to lead one of the biggest financial organizations.

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Women can save the population! Women can save the economy! Women can save...the whales! Come on women, your not trying! Gambaroo Ze! (Means; "Suffer!")

This is the best the governmnet can do? Blame the over-regulation and lack of government action on women? How about reduction of taxes, relief from painfully high manditory health insurence costs, and restrictive and expensive lisencing and permit obligations? How about abolishment of governmnet programs designed to line the pockets of bloated ranks of governmnet officials? How about elected officials being responsible for their mistakes instead of "retiring to take responsibility?"

Short of a major revolution, what will it take to get the Japanese people realize that "Fukeiki" is today's "normal," and the bubble economy was the problem? The government has been trying to return things to "bubble prosperity levels," and through the entire 20+ years of "economic down-turn, have managed to maintain their high living standards, their golden cussion jobs, yet the entire fabric that supports it, that pays the taxes, the people and business that ARE the bed-rock of Japanese borders, language and culture, get the pointy end of the shaft.

But it is the fault of...the women.

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from Hero_us 's advice column; "...import your favorite gelato from Italy, try to re-create the unique taste of the takuwan your grandma made at home, write code for revolutionary new i-pad applications!"

My advice? Be very wary of taking advice from hippies. You could very easily loose your nest-egg trying to sell takuwan flavor gelato.

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Most modern industrialised countries have adapted to the modern environment through a system where it is now the norm for both the man and the woman of a household to work. Actually, in Japan too more and more women are working in so called part time jobs as a matter of economic necessity. However, it is not tyet he norm by a long shot.

To make this the norm, as it is in many other countries huge changes to social systems would be needed. In particular, a change from the full time/part time system to one in which everyone is a part time worker on some kind of time limited emloyment contract - as is now the case in many other industrialised economies.

I am inclined to think that this would indeed create an economic boost, but given the state that some other economies which have that system are in at the present, there is no reason to suppose that this would be anything more than a short term boost.

What about the other effects? There would be an immediate benefit to the males, who would no longer be expected to work all hours of the day and night, but there would also be a huge effect on child rearing practices. Japan has an enviable reputation for its relatively law abiding citizenry. I think that has a great deal to with the role of mothers in this country.

Finally, there is no reason to suppose that Japanese households would end up better off as a result of all this. They wouldn't. As a poster above succinctly stated: this proposal is austerity in disguise.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This women clearly has no idea about this culture.Japanese women are working and hard.The problem with Japan's economy is spending is too low.Savings too high.Wow what a statement from a supposedly intelligent women.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is the best the governmnet can do? Blame the over-regulation and lack of government action on women?

The director of the International Monetary Fund is not the Japanese government.

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Ms Lagarde would best serve her own country by sorting out their own domestic debt and unemployment crises. Or is it her goal to bring every other country down to the EU level?

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You're missing a nought and then some. It should be 1,030,000 yen or 1,410,000 yen for the special allowance.

Yes, Cleo. You are right. Sorry, mistook the number of zeros. Thank you for the link and the correction.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

House wif economic contribution can be measured by accessing how much it cost to hire a full time maid in Japan. Since wages are high, not many can afford to hire a maid hence house wife contribution to GDP would be higher in Japan than say Singapore where a maid (philipine / indonesia) can be hired for 50,000 yen a month.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find it amusing that the people who are stating that women belong at home on this thread are males.

If a woman wants to stay home, by all means but then her husband, not his company nor the tax payers, can pay for her pension and health care. Take that away and watch the women then demand fair wages. Until then? Why bother when they can not work and be looked after by the tax payers. I have stated this before but a married, non working woman gets more of a pension than the single women who work until retirement. That is just disgusting.

More than happy to help women with small kids who want to stay home. Thing is, many married stay at home women don't even have kids. Sorry, they are leeches. The moms? By all means stay home if you want but stop expecting the rest of us to foot the bill for your decisions.

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i'm usually pretty ware about quota-advocates. They tend to value equal division over getting the best person for the job , which is imo, NOT a good idea. Or otherwise they more or less imply women and men are not equal while trying to prove the exact opposite BUT, in this case, is it true, this cultural thing that keeps women at home? in that case, for once, i might agree with some IMF character, just this once, okay, bad for my rep if i do that too much

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You say there is an shortage of jobs? really how so. We have more outsourcing and we have more unpaid overtime that is being work. all while corps racking in profits and those at the top say there and we say that is just how it is and no one ever does anything about it but talk. now if you stop outsourcing your work more people could work(people would take the work versus no one at all the whole half a loaf is better than none approach) and if you stop killing your works and sapping there home life; we could get more works in the workplace and the people would be able to have sex and make babies(kill two birds with one stone just on that point alone). I think that Japanese as whole are going to have have to embrace western ideas to fix their problem instead of burying head in the sand approach saying Japanese way Japanese way. If not all china has to do is way 50 years and the whole country is theirs houses streets parks all for the taking with ease. (and no that was not sarcasm)

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