quote of the day

In addition to a chronic shortage of nursery schools and high education costs, there is a risk that children might end up becoming social recluses who are unable to become self-reliant. Since assistance from the government is limited, many people are shying away from starting a family.


Emiko Ochiai, a professor of family sociology at Kyoto University. The health ministry said this week the number of babies born this year plunged below 900,000 for the first time in the nation’s history.

© Asahi Shimbun

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

I'm not an expert on child psychology and only have an outsider's sociological view on J-society but here's just my humble take on this problem. Yes, the government really does need to step up its support for children's education and welfare but there's a LOT more important matter that is not mentioned - the parents and the family. Parents should raise their kid with more compassion, more hands-on if you will. From my encounters with Japanese kids, I get a feeling that their parents function more as their housekeepers and less as their actual parents that give them love and guidance in these vulnerable time of their lives. I hate to say this but there's probably nothing we can do about how fast-paced, output-only-focused, robotic J-society is but in the very least, raise your kid strong and kind enough to cope with it. Especially now that birth rates have dropped below a million, if more become recluses and drop outs...well, you get the picture

3 ( +3 / -0 )

On raising a family, here's what my grandparents told me when they were raising my parents post Second World War: raising a family is a sacrifice but a good one. I think it's not the lack of government support because from where I'm from, it's the most second destroyed city during the war (Manila) and my grandparents managed to raise kids despite that, but I think its more on the demands of society. Companies are just becoming greedier by the year and try to grow even though they've already hit the ceiling. Honestly, there's nothing wrong about being hungry for success but if that job is ruining the people it's supposed to serve, then It failed its purpose. I know this is blasphemy for the Japanese but people need to work less and live more, that desk should not be your home and your co-workers not your family, the company can replace you like a broken cog but you cant be replaced in your family.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

there is a risk that children might end up becoming social recluses who are unable to become self-reliant.

Emiko Ochiai, this isn't a future issue, it is already happening.

I've been teaching 18 year olds for the last fifteen years, and there are more and more every year who lack basic social skills and self-reliance.

If the education system won't change, while the world is changing around it, it's no surprise that kids are becoming less responsive to it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'll add something to this...

We bought my daughter a new bike for Christmas, she's 6. We went to the only local park yesterday that has a flat enough surface for her to practice riding it. 5 minutes in, the same creepy, drunk, psycho middle aged guy that's always harassing us at her bus stop, staring at her when we go to the drug store or walk to the station. I've mentioned it countless times on this site. He's not homeless, he's just drunk and has mental problems. On a number of occasions he's gotten in my face and yelled nonsense at me. My husband contacted the police because he's borderline stalking my daughter and I and they said they couldn't do anything about it unless he physically did something to one of us. So I guess now I can't even take her to ride her bicycle. I guess that even though her school is basically across the street, I'm going to have to take her from door to door until when... the man gets arrested or dies? I wouldn't put it past this man to try something or attack a bunch of children. He's aggressive, drunk and without exaggerating - he's crazy. He's been reported. He knows where we live. And because he just loves to stand at my daughters bus stop when she's going to and from school, he knows the name of her school and where it is. We had to notify the school about the situation to be on the lookout, probably making extra work for them. This has been going on for nearly 3 years.

What happens if I have another kid? How can I keep my eye on my oldest daughter as closely if I have another baby? There's too much at risk. Do I seriously have to buy another house just to escape from this psycho? I can't even carry pepper spray, imagine I've got the baby in the carrier and holding my daughters hand... how am I supposed to defend my children or myself from him?

The police already said nothing can be done. I guess if we get murdered, you'll all know who did it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I've got three kids. I can't say I particularly worried about hikikomori, the Japanese recluses, or the level of government support for hikikomori before deciding to start a family or to add to it. I doubt many people would have planned children if you just focused on bad things that could happen to them. The most obvious and most likely bad thing is of course climate change, which won't just be one in twenty or whatever like hikikomori. The scientists say a 2C rise, which seems inevitable, will mean 25% of Nagoya and Osaka at serious risk from sea level rise. If that will not scare you, I don't know what will.


3 ( +3 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites