politics

Japan's perilously low birthrate a forgotten election issue

37 Comments
By Sayo Sasaki

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Supporting normal citizens so they can raise families obviously isn't high on the LDP's agenda.

14 ( +24 / -10 )

The low birthrate is not forgotten. Its just that the older generation, the ones who actually bother to vote, don't care about it.

12 ( +25 / -13 )

Japan's perilously low birthrate a forgotten election issue

But the Japanese Supreme Court hasn't forgotten. One decision after another that thwarts progress and women's rights, such as the recent decision regarding married couples' having one last name. They need a massive slap into the future.

1 ( +17 / -16 )

Japan is doing what the WHOLE HUMAN SPECIES must do if it is to survive. But the ruling parasites and their politicians are afraid there won't be enough soldiers and slaves to maintain their profits or their EXPENSIVE weapons at the levels satisfactory to all of the thieves who infest any country's 'top' layer. They do not care or even think about anything but what they can take NOW and the future means little to them. But Nihonjin are educated and, MORE IMPORTANTLY, PAY ATTENTION and can see the direction the world is heading and can, maybe, see the wisdom in the expression regarding the future of Humanity, "If you love your children, don't have them." The geometrically increasing Human population in a world where agriculture will be ever more challenged, and energy required increasing more rapidly with the numbers even with reduced per capita usage will SOON outrun the Earth's ability to sustain us. But the blind Greed of the psychopaths is indeed blind to these things and as we see daily in the news of no serious attempts at stemming any of our consumption but, in fact, 'developed' countries finding new ways to use more resources and 'developing countries' adding to the burden. "SCIENCE will save us!" is said only by those with no idea of how primitive we really still are. Whatever comes after us will, sadly, see, as Shelley has pointed out:

I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

-17 ( +6 / -23 )

Very optimistic.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yeah that old falling birthrate chestnut....LDP has other priorities and ways to spend money, handing out cash in overseas aid ' , spending cash on wars that dont concern us, doubling weapons purchases for 'defense ', are the urgent matters now....kids? Oh well this says it all really

Kishida, has also vowed to double the budget on children "in the future," without giving concrete detail on when he would make it a reality, nor how he will come up with the funds.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Finally a Japanese politicien taking measures! His plan should in any city hall in the country.

@bjorson: fan of "Inferno" book and virus impacting world birthrate...-_-

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Of all the major countries Japan is the only one with practically a zero economic growth rate. Even the so-called “mature” economies like the US and UK have more than doubled in the last two decades. The J gov should just give up its balanced-budget economic policy and start spending money so that people in prime child bearing age can earn enough money to get married and start families.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

They don't talk about it for good reason. Studies from various countries show that none of these childcare subsidies have much impact on fertility. At most they encourage couples who were already planning to have children to have them a bit earlier, giving the illusion of a boost in fertility followed by a drop. The more effective measures are not very popular in a liberal society, least of all with female voters. If you want to know what these are, keep an eye on China over the next decade.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

What do you expect from 'democracy' other than fanciful distractions?

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Its gonna get interesting when the foreigners start covering the positions of the Japanese.

They can't hold the foreigners outside the walls much longer.

-4 ( +11 / -15 )

40 hours a week should be 40万 minimum, UBI, WFH, no zangyo, no managers just team leaders, cap rent, no key money, slash shaken, bukatsu one day a week, 4 day work week NOW! Disagree? Don't care, all that is completely doable and should be the bare minimum.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

That's 40万 a month salary*

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I was fully hoping Kishida would do the job himself. Parking up one of those vans with one way mirror windows and getting the work done.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

If you want to know what these are, keep an eye on China over the next decade.

China is doomed. They'll be lucky to get immigrants from anywhere.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Vreth, that is an ambitious list. Could you also provide a list of countries where this system has been successfully implemented? I am eager to see the results.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If you want to know what these are, keep an eye on China over the next decade.

The country that actually deliberately destroyed its demographics through its one child policy? I wouldn’t hold anything that country does in relation to family planning up as a model for others to follow.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@bokuda they already do

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Mr Kipling I agree to some extent the low birthrate is not forgotten, not forgotten in a sense that in order for the government to survive they need people to survive that is continue to be born grow up in a system and become productive citizens and pay taxes. Don't blame the older generation saying they don't care about it. Again, its easy to point fingers when there is a problem and you have so many other reason why the problems exist. The older generation in a sense would want the younger generation to have children if not there goes there pensions so it doesn't make sense to me at least to say they don't care. My thinking is they do care because as long as they live and the younger people are paying into a pension fund they can continue to get their benefit. With that said blame the system that doesn't allow these young people to afford a living, the large corporation who get around not paying taxes and pay low wages where these young people can't make a good stand of living to want to pay into the system. We can point fingers and that's what they want to believe. In the mean time the older people will continue to vote and the government will continue to promote the idea of younger people marrying and having kids but these large corporations will continue to rake in high margins of gains and pay less in wage and avoid paying taxes. True The low birthrate is not forgotten. Its just that the large corporation who are controlling the citizens purses are not paying fair wages what they are doing is paying off the politicians and the politicians are using low birthrate as a smoke screen and don't want push the issue of hire wage and change because that are to afraid of biting off the fingers that are feeding their political careers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Seeing the constant gloom and doom of wars, military buildups, climate change, people stepping over each other in cities, nuclear plant meltdowns, economic doom, viruses run amuck, governments spying on people, wage stagnation, etc., why would young people want to have children?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

That's because bringing it up would only highlight the reasons people are choosing not to have children: low wages, high cost-of-living, poor work/life balance, etc.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It's just expensive to bring up kids in Japan - I think we are paying around 120k a month for the basic city daycare for our two. Once that's done, they'll be going to school and will no doubt be expected to join in whatever sports clubs/dance schools/piano/violin lessons etc. which again in Japan will cost a small fortune, not to forget the super expensive school uniforms and bags (60k for a randoseru!) then it'll be all the extra lessons, after school classes and all that stuff to try to get them into the best university, and then the university fees. The vast majority of people don't do any of this in the UK - it seems to be an Asian thing - similar story in Hong Kong, S. Korea and China. How can people be expected to take all that on when many people don't have a stable job and/or are on low salaries relative to the cost of living? Then again, maybe it isn't really this - perhaps having kids just becomes less of a priority among citizens of advanced societies where a certain decadence seems to creep in - the birthrate is often higher in poorer, developing countries after all.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

That's because bringing it up would only highlight the reasons people are choosing not to have children: low wages, high cost-of-living, poor work/life balance, etc.

But these are clearly not the reasons we've stopped having children. Fertility rates rise as you move down the list from richest to poorest countries. Italy and Finland have excellent work/life balances but have either worse or comparable fertility rates to Japan. The problem is something else, something much more difficult to fix.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The mayor of Akashi has the right idea. Practical help and assistance, not empty promises.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A Japan with half as many people would mean a better quality of life except for the huge government debt burden being left for the next generation.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Having children means by definition giving up some of your wealth to dedicate it for your children.

Those children will in return give back to society by having a job.

Socizty should be rewarding/putting in higher standards those who have kids and make efforts to make them better.

What we see in Japan is double punishment. The singles get more respected because they can work longer on average so can go up the ladder more easily without paying anything outside for them if they want.

Singles should be paying way more taxes and families way less. It is not the case.

In my country France, people having 2, 3 or 4 children are on average respected enough (pregnant women first, same for small kids, tax reduction for child care...).

Sorry to say the normality is to at least wish kids, which is not the case when material world is more important than a nice family.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Maybe instead of spending money on dubious infrastructure project Japan is famous for they could make it so childcare is cheap and plentiful?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“If you love your children, don't have them."

Ah the anti-humanist narrative, we are the curse of the planet, we are only here to fulfill our role as consumers in a greed driven , meaningless world. Nefarious systems, control, yada yada yada . Very sad mate. 

Been around kids much? They are the joy of the world, pure light. Just a pity about many adults though, especially the poor souls that have fallen into this dreaded mindset.

Humans are awesome dude. 

As for this fella Izumi. What a legend! Sounds like a real, comprehensive and full throttle forward approach. No half-hearted efforts or flyers, just went for it. Trained experienced people delivering supplies to new mothers, talking to them and supporting them. Life advice, connection.  Free healthcare and daycare, tripling child support staff all at the expense of reducing pork barrel construction projects. This! Didn’t wait around for the top down ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ ( and pretend policies ) to get their act together, took on the demographics cliff issue himself!  Actual results! 

 I bet Akashi in Hyogo is buzzing, and as the saying goes; Nothing succeeds like success!  It’ll be a positive feedback loop that spins on itself and attracts more young families into their fold. Very smart. Hope he will serve as a shining example to all other inactive mayors sitting on their backside begrudgingly waiting for directives. The ‘Sho ga nai’ leader class. The pretenders. 

Bravo Mayor Izumi.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Simply because the majority of voters are elderly and so it isn't an issue for them. Keep things the way they are. Don't rock the boat. I'm all right jack. Japanese politics 101.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How could the elderly people relate to birthrate issue? They are not the target market of election. It's always about how to live peacefully in the last 5 years of your life.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Seiji

They aren't the target???? Ok....come August 10 go and take a look at any polling booth and see what the largest demographic is...they keep the LDP in power.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I sort of agree with the spirit of the article, but it's immigration that is the elephant in the room, not birth rates. Because immigration is something politicians can actually affect. There's no example in history of a government ever successfully managing fertility rates (not upwards, anyway). Leaving 12 trillion dollars of debt to the few children you have is apparently preferable to increasing the number of foreign workers by a couple of percent.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Unfortunately Japan has reaped what it sowed. Any society that prioritizes work, economic growth and materialism over childbearing and parenting, as Japan has done, will eventually pay the price.

Who did the now over 65's think was going to care for them and support the nation's economic burden after they retired?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Any society that prioritizes work, economic growth and materialism 

Don't forget protectionism, monoculturalism, and cultural exceptionalism...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Fertility rates rise as you move down the list from richest to poorest countries. 

To an extent that is true but over the past few decades we have seen total fertility rates fall dramatically in many less developed nations like Mexico for example.

In my country France, people having 2, 3 or 4 children are on average respected enough (pregnant women first, same for small kids, tax reduction for child care...).

And yet, based on the most recent OECD data, the Total Fertility Rate for France is 1.8, well below replacement. Among OECD members only that economic powerhouse Mexico has a TFR close to replacement. South Korea's TFR is only 0.84.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Btw, two decades ago Mexico's TFR was above 5. Now it is 2.08, so the fall in TFRs is a global phenomena and not confined to wealthy nations.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan's perilously low birthrate a forgotten erection issue.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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