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To allow women to work to their full capacity, we will have to bring in people from Southeast Asia to help with childcare and housework.

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Hiroya Masuda, an adviser at the Nomura Research Institute, or NRI, who serves on an economic advisory panel to the government. (Bloomberg)

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When I first came to Japan, only one spouse could work to support a middle class lifestyle. Why not instead work on bringing back the former prosperity that has been lost?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

That is so insulting, I do not know where to begin. Raising a child - the most important function of a family - is so much less important than making money, so far below 'capacity', that it can be entrusted to anyone fresh off the boat willing to work for minimum wage? What is 'full capacity' about putting children in the care of people who, however well-meaning they may be, barely speak the child's language and are unable to (e.g.) read to them, play word games with them, at a critical point in the child's linguistic development?

So Mr Masuda (note it's a man) is telling the world how much value he puts on the work done by dedicated mothers, i.e. next to none - they're not working 'to their full capacity'. Children are just an inconvenience to be tidied away, their care no more important than a bit of dusting. It's this kind of attitude that is holding down the birth rate. What a nasty little man. Go away.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

The racism of the comment totally sickens me.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Funny, and my two siblings and myself were raised by a single mother who also worked full time. In fact, she managed two work one or two double shifts per week. No help from southeast Asia (or anywhere else) was needed.

When I first came to Japan, only one spouse could work to support a middle class lifestyle. Why not instead work on bringing back the former prosperity that has been lost?

There were days when families had one television, no computer, few clothes, and people ate less food. Telephones, electricity, and gas were used as sparingly as possible. Men got by on the 300 per day allowance their wives gave them. This was hardly a time of "prosperity." Working class women did not carry Louis Vuitton handbags, and children's clothing was handed down from the oldest child to the youngest. Children were not given a DS, iPad, or a cell phone.

Those were also the days when the tax man took much less of the monthly paycheck than today. There was no consumption tax, income tax was lower, corporate tax was 1/3 less. There was more money in the private sector then than there is now.

In America, the modern household has at least two cars, three televisions, two computers, and lives in houses much larger than in previous generations. Children have more expensive toys and clothes. Incomes have not decreased as much as family spending has increased.

The old days were not really prosperous, people merely spent less money. Back when I was a child, families put away 10% of their income into a savings account, nowadays, only 2% is saved, and some people save nothing at all, or accumulate large amounts of debt.

Marketing is a powerful tool, and a an advancing science. It is easy to convince people to buy things they don't need. Ironic they should have to hire outside help so they can work and buy more.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

I hope this joker is misquoted or that there is a translation miss somewhere, because things like this, you just don't say. Not 2014.

First of all, why should anyone be expected to "work to their full capacity"? Life is about a few more things than work, you know. Perhaps it should be a personal choice - if you feel like being a useless yes-(wo)man office drone cramming in 14 hours of "important work" a day, do so, but if you would like to enjoy life, take that road instead. No free person needs advice from some Nomura oyaji on that...

Secondly, the view this guy is expressing on other Asians from poorer people is troubling. It sounds to me that he consider these people just a necessary evil, a product to be used for the greater good of the Japanese society.

I can't believe how short Japan has come despite all their industrial development. I feel sick...

4 ( +8 / -4 )

A pretentious, to fix a problem we need to bring in people from the outside to do jobs we don't want to do. It's not like having people from a different culture raising your kids will have an effect on their outlook and value set.....oh wait.

Better solution, why not attack the real issue 'gender discrimination' and really crap labour laws.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Why does it have to be just Southeast Asia?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'm from one of those Southeast Asian countries, nannies are so cheap, almost every family has at least one. You know what happen next ? Children can't sleep at night, unless they sleep in the nannies' bed. Children can't do stuffs by themselves, unless the nannies help them. Children no longer love/respect their own parents, their nannies are their whole world.

So, there you go. I'm all for women going to work, but also do mind what the consequences would be if things go uncontrollable.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan's problem = Growing number of old retired people, not enough working people, and not enough children for the next generation.

Japan's solution = Increase the number of working people by putting pressure on women to work by increasing the cost of living (increased consumption tax, increased food costs, etc.) so that a single salary is insufficient to support a family.

Short-term consequences (next 10~20 years) = More women will probably enter the workforce, although poorly paid, desperate and legitimately resentful at being forced into it. Short-term pension fund contributions will increase to deal with the current shortfall.

Long-term consequences (next 20~50 years) = Working women will have less children because of pressure from companies and the government to work, worsening the underlying childlessness crisis. The short-term economic boost from working women will mask the economic crisis until the situation is impossible to fix.

Prognosis - Total economic collapse of Japan within 50 years if the current idiotic plan is followed.

Real solution =

Remove tariffs on basic food stuffs (rice, fruit, meat) to decrease to cost of living and allow families to live comfortably on a single salary. This would enable more women (who wanted) to make the choice to be stay-at-home moms, and increase the number of children a little generation on generation.

Promote the immigration of educated professionals to Japan to build up Japan's service and technology sectors.

Stop short-sightedly chasing economic growth and focus on the real problems with Japanese society.
-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@cleo unfortunatley there are very few Japanese men who earn enough money to put there child/cheldren through college pay the mortgage all the bills and save for retirement for both himself and his wife, (dont think the national pension system will pay you enough when you retire) my wife and I both work, we will be able to pay off both mortages of the two houses we own, our kids will be able to go to college if they chose and our retirement will be more than comfortable. oh and yes we are still able to raise two kids to follow our principles, to think that having a third person take care of your children while you work will make them less of a person. your sadly mistaken. my oldest boy while going to a Japanese school and daycare still has my way of thinking. yes it does pose a problem sometimes in Japanese culture. but if his strong will and independant thinking is not a desitable Japanese trait then so be it. id rather develope there personalities they way they want and not be another mindless sheeple

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This country is so fracked! OMG!

Knox, wrt to thinking Japan is usually much closer to 1914 than 2014!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

SEX and producing more Kids is the only long term solution for Japan to survive in the near future... bring more phillipinos just to raise Japanese children is not a long term solution....

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

wtfjapan - I think you've missed my point entirely. I don't think kids going through college need to have Mummy at home, once the kids are in school there's no reason any woman shouldn't work if she chooses to. What I object to is this man's assertion that raising children warrants no more care and attention than a bit of dusting and hoovering.

to think that having a third person take care of your children while you work will make them less of a person. your sadly mistaken

It isn't a question of anyone being 'less of a person'. That 'third person' you had take care of your children while you and your wife were working to buy two houses: was it some convenient stranger you pulled off the street who looked vaguely capable of wielding a feather duster in return for a minimum wage, or did you take time to find someone you felt you could trust with your kids' upbringing?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The economic reality of Japan is that in order to have two kids two incomes are needed for most families. That genie is out of the bottle, as with many developed countries like the USA for example. So lets stop dreaming we can go back in time. Not going to happen.

The fact is there are many women who do want to work for income, for their own self worth, to have a more varied life, etc and cannot as Japan does help them with childcare. Babysitting is not common. Other countries have live-in help. Look at Singapore. And kids in Singapore are far exceeding kids in Japan on every scale. This myth that all parents are suited for being effective parents is crazy, in some cases the caregiver may be a better parent that the real parents. Read the news everyday where parents harm their kids, or in some cases kill them.

Now of course many women want to stay at home as they are lazy and that is their choice. Recent studies show that the average Japanese housewife works about 1-2 hours a day on home care. So what happens in the other idle hours, snacking on bonbons and watching TV primarily. If there are kids of course the work load is higher but once they are in school the kids are gone most of the day. So what happens then, snacking on bon-bons and watching TV. Again some people, men included, cannot make it in the work world and for them there is welfare or being a housewife.

Japan needs women to work and therefore there needs to be a revolution in the role of women in Japan. It is a crime that today that in Japan for most women after kids they cannot work as they are not employable. GDP would be much higher in Japan if the women who did want to work could do so. That is why PM Abe and many others will be in Tokyo on May 27 at a sold out event supporting women working in Japan in at the ANA Hotel. Japan needs to move beyond the 1950s and this issue is one that needs to be solved for Japan to move on to 2014.

The real sexist question is why men who work can be good fathers but women who work cannot? Posters on this issue need to grow up and face their own deep rooted sexism.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Why realize just now? Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hongkong etc. are doing so since the last decade. Domestic Helpers from SEA are in great demand. HURRY UP while supply last.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This is both racist and sexist.

First it means that they think the role of childcare at home is so essential that working mothers need to be 'replaced' in their 'real' role. Secondly, naturally, the only people suitable are low-wage Asian maids. Probably those that politician's yakuza buddies can import on promises of domestic work and then shunt into the sex trade. Finally it shows that the crusty old men who run the show are not serious about making working conditions easier for mothers with jobs. How about govt-run daycare centers. How about forcing the private sector to abide by non-discrimination laws? In all likelihood he's probably trying to scare people into maintaining the status quo but threatening an influx of 'south East Asians'.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

LOL. Gotta love Japan's solution to most problems: not enough people to take care of the elderly, women want to work so we need child minders, Japanese wives won't put out for their husbands v- just throw some Filipinas at the problem!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't find it racist. It's a reality that most nannies comes from SEA. Prince William himself has a philipino nanny that he grew up with.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Cleo, You took the words right out of my mouth. Could you just repeat what you said over and over and over, here, there, and everywhere until all the morons of our so-called "developed" country get it?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Salaries and conditions for all workers will continue to deteriorate and so we need more mothers in the workforce to keep households afloat ( when these women join the workforce they will generally be undervalued, given poor conditions and paid a low salary ). The solution is to bring in even more undervalued, badly-paid workers with even worse conditions to take care of the kids while the women go out to work? Investment in better care facilities? Nah. Better pay and conditions for the working spouse? ROLF! This is the modern working world we live in and the mindset which keeps it in place. I'll be retired in another ten years when I'm pretty sure most of our working conditions will have deteriorated to something I really don't want to think about.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Long-term consequences (next 20~50 years) = Working women will have less children because of pressure from companies and the government to work, worsening the underlying childlessness crisis.

Wrong. Research has shown that working women have more kids than those that don't - perhaps because families can afford to have one or more?

Gee, I have an idea, why you does't Japan start paying kindy/daycare workers a decent wage so that Japanese women would actually want to do this job? It is rather telling that they expect Asian women (how many men would they actually hire if they applied?) from poorer countries and do the jobs that Japanese don't want to do themselves. Looking after kids needs to be a priority for this country - be it a parent OR a paid person but this country undercuts and abuses the folks that do these kinds of jobs as it is.

Personally, I would LOVE to have someone in my home helping out but I'd like to hire them on my own, not through an agency that will take a huge chunk of money. I'd love for them to be qualified. Nationality does not matter one bit. Ability to care the kids is.

Cleo, of course it is a man. Do you think there are any women in this agency at the top who can speak out about the issues?

And, as mentioned, how many Japanese women really want to work? I can see this going through and the number of career women staying the same. I can also see these workers getting abused. Give longer mat leave, demand fathers take pat leave and make it easier for those who want to work keep their careers if they have kids. Stop the 1.3 million salary cap and stop raising women to think it is their good given right to stop working FT once the ring goes on or a baby comes out. Allow them to take a few years off but stop any support for them if the stay home and put Jr in kindy five days a week. It's far too easy to a lazy mother here and far too difficult to be a good mom who works FT.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

tmarieMay. 22, 2014 - 02:00PM JST

Long-term consequences (next 20~50 years) = Working women will have less children because of pressure from companies and the government to work, worsening the underlying childlessness crisis.

Wrong. Research has shown that working women have more kids than those that don't - perhaps because families can afford to have one or more?

If by "research" you mean "horribly flawed papers comparing apples with oranges"? If you read papers about countries similar to Japan, like South Korea (similar level of development, income, cost of living, culture, etc.) then you'll see that actually working women in these countries have less children.

The "working women have more children" is based on flawed research that takes international statistics from low-income countries like Mexico and Brazil that are totally different from Japan. Even in those studies the link between working and more children is very weak and statistically insignificant.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20121111/business-news/Working-women-have-more-children-says-economist.444887

Frungy, care to give you links to support your opinion/comments? I've read numerous studies - though yes, none based in or on Japan, that have stated the same thing. Most often using Western women as the research group. Many Japanese women I know are refusing to get married and/or have kids because they don't "just" want to be a mom and don't want to stop working. That and many just can't afford it. If you can link anything that suggests working women in Asian nations have less kids, I'd be more than happy to read it. Links please.

At this point though, I think the only way to raise the number of kids here to for mass immigration.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

3% of Hongkong population are foreign "DOMESTIC HELPERS" from SEA. Why can't Japan import some?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_domestic_helpers_in_Hong_Kong

0 ( +1 / -1 )

tmarieMay. 22, 2014 - 02:58PM JST

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20121111/business-news/Working-women-have-more-children-says-economist.444887

Here's a hint, never ever trust a newpaper report, go to the original source.

Frungy, care to give you links to support your opinion/comments? I've read numerous studies - though yes, none based in or on Japan, that have stated the same thing.

Here are just a few papers from the last few years (2010+) that all show the same thing, more working women = less babies.

http://cluteonline.com/journals/index.php/JABR/article/viewFile/1336/1319 - Shows a clear pattern of increased labour force participation by women and lower fertility rates in Korea

http://www.unav.es/matrimonioyfamilia/b/documentos/Seeleib.etal._SP2011_Reforms-birth-rates.pdf - Same thing, more women working is a factor in a lower fertility rate - A comparison of Germany and Japan

http://asiaintensiv.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/60111353/IMF%20Can%20Women%20save%20Japan_.pdf - FLP (female labour participation) is linked to lower marriage rates, and less children from female workers.

Of course this issue isn't as simple as just females working, it is a complex interplay of factors such as education, rural vs city living, cost of living changes, etc.

The bottom line though is that women should be free to choose what they want to do, and that Abe's plan to increase female employment is just papering over the problem by increasing taxation income (more workers = more tax) and pension fund contributions (more workers = more money coming into the pension fund). In the long-term it'll be a disaster.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@sangetsu03

"There were days when families had one television, no computer, few clothes, and people ate less food."

Are you joking?!? Those were the bubble days, when people threw their Sony TVs and other high-quality made in Japan appliances and furnishings in the sodai gomi every 2 years. "Few clothes"? Japan was the destination of 60-70% of the global output of high end design goods. "less food"?? Gold flake was trendy at the time....to put in your tea! And there was a lot less frozen, processed and China-imported food at the time.

Income taxes were higher too. this was before the post-bubble series of tax cuts. Hello, facts!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I linked the article as I can't upload books and journal articles that I have on paper. Cheers for the links. Rather interesting but I certainly have bones to pick with the two that I open/read. I will be printing both out though and using them for research so thank you for them.

The first article you give uses data from the 1970s. Often. It also uses the word "may", "might"... It never, unless you can find it, states there is a direct link with women working more and them having less kids. Unless I missed, I don't think it is in there. You might also want to read the area that states "But compare Korea with Sweden, for example, more Swedish women work and they marry later, yet the country's birth rate is far healthier. So Korea's troubles cannot be attributed to these two factors alone." As you said, there are certainly more factors.

Your second link isn't working. For me at least.

Third link is all about "may", "might"....It also states "The increase in FLP in Japan from 56.7 in 1980 to 70.3 in 2008 is in large part linked to the decline in the number of children per woman. A key factor driving this decline in the average number of children is the higher percentage of Japanese women choosing to remain single." We all know that in Japan most only have kids when married. Is it really fair to state that work causes less kids or it is women being less interested in marriage that causes less kids? However, I didn't state this above when I should have. I admit that and this one does appear to support your point.

I don't however think the issue here is so much women having FT jobs/career and not having kids is "because" of work. I think women here are not wanting to get married which means not having kids because marriage AND kids come at a huge cost to them - be it work and career advancment, fincial freedom, bullying... So yes, in this case, you're correct but I don't think it is as simple as work more = less kids. I think it comes down to Japanese women working more/lack of daycare and support = women thinking there is no way in hell I am going to get married and become a housewife after everything I have done to further my career. I didn't state that well and I should have. A fair point about apples and oranges when you consider this. Thanks for the links.

I think we're on the same page in terms of other factors but I think if Japan got its head out of its bum and started supporting working families more, more would be willing to get married. And more of those would be willing to have kids. I believe those married and in secure jobs (not crappy haken or PT jobs) would be more interested in having kids if there was more support. They would also be able to afford more kids. Until this happens though, the birth rate will drop, the marrying age will get older and Japan will still be stuck with a massive population problem and a female population that is not happy with what they have and a male population being company slaves.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

how about telling this moron to reduce karoshi and working hours, make workplaces more flexible with no blatant discrimination against women and those over 50. That would easily add 5% to GDP and make life better for all...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This has already been tried by the Hong Kong government to help alleviate the declining birthrate. So far it seems to be working well for them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

tmarieMay. 22, 2014 - 04:54PM JST I linked the article as I can't upload books and journal articles that I have on paper. Cheers for the links. Rather interesting but I certainly have bones to pick with the two that I open/read. I will be printing both out though and using them for research so thank you for them.

... aaaand this is why I dislike it when people demand sources and try to make me their research monkey, because it is always followed by bickering about minor details in papers I didn't write, like drumroll:

The first article ... also uses the word "may", "might" Third link is all about "may", "might"

This is standard terminology in academic papers. Statistics show correlations. As anyone will tell you, correlation does not prove causation. Causation is nearly impossible to prove in complex multi-factor scenarios like economic trends. Therefore "may" and "might" are appropriate and just reflect standard academic caution. This is not a legitimate criticism. If you eyeball the statistics though you'll see pretty clearly that in all three papers when female participation in the workforce goes up the birth rate goes down. There are multiple factors at play, like increasing education to get better jobs, etc, etc, etc, but the trend is so clear that a blind person could read it.

The first article you give uses data from the 1970s.

And compares and contrasts it with current data. I'm sure you're familiar with "before and after" photos? This is the same idea, although the more fancy term is "longitudinal data analysis". It is also a standard technique in economic statistics. I'm a little surprised that someone who claims to be doing research into this area isn't familiar with these techniques...

Your second link isn't working. For me at least.

That's because JT interprets things like underscores as emphasis. You'll notice part of the link is italicised. That's where the underscores should go, immediately before and after. That should make it work.

But let's not bicker, okay? It seems that we disagree on relatively minor things:

I think we're on the same page in terms of other factors but I think if Japan got its head out of its bum and started supporting working families more, more would be willing to get married

I'd be 100% behind this idea, however my point is that, at present and as matters currently stand, more working women would mean less children. I'm a realist, and that's the current situation. I'd love it if Japan could grasp the idea of work-life balance and supporting workers, but there's no indication that this idea is catching on in any way. All that Abe is trying to do right now is get women into the workplace as tax and pension fund contributors so he can paper over the cracks in a crumbling system until he's out of the hot seat and hand an even bigger mess over to his successor.

I hope we can agree that, as matters stand and without fairly radical reforms to the way that Japanese companies do business, pressuring more women into the workplace would do nothing to address the underlying problems, and may be counterproductive.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

How can people like that exist in 21st century ?Then he'll suggest comfort women ? Slaves ?

3% of Hongkong population are foreign "DOMESTIC HELPERS" from SEA. Why can't Japan import some?

Bring us example of Middle-East too, while you're at it. You mean Japan could also get back some colonies maybe ?

more working women = less babies.

Japan has no risk. They already have less babies than anyone else. And already nearly all women are working (even if it's for peanuts at baitos). Women getting better jobs, better income cannot hurt.

Gee, I have an idea, why you does't Japan start paying kindy/daycare workers a decent wage so that Japanese women would actually want to do this job?

Most parents cannot afford it, particularly at the Japanese rate/conditions. But then, in many countries, the state gives some financial help (tax credit or whatever) to help families cover baby-sitting and to all families to hire help for home-keeping /gardening/elderly... That also creates jobs for the helpers, and for many are women that can support a family on that income. That creates a whole service industry now lacking in Japan. But Abe thinks new base-ball clubs would be better.

once the kids are in school there's no reason any woman shouldn't work if she chooses to.

There is a reason : other women's job are not a flexible freelance job at home with a hubby well-paid civil servant back at home at 5:30 every evening. It's great if your couple could do that. That's impossible for 99% of families. For jobs that are not mini-baitos, they all have some schedule that make it impossible for parents to start at 10 a.m. and finish at 2 pm and bring/pick kids at school everyday, plus go shopping/run errands at opening hours, etc. So parents need some kind of help. Help is not putting kids in foster families.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

...or they could just use all the new tax money they are blundering away on supporting families...? I know my family could use extra cash while my wife cares for my newborn and 2 year old...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan needs more immigration, but not this low paid, dead end work with no settlement options (I can see a five year maximum on these visas) will not do anything to eradicate the skills and labour shortage Japan is facing. Not to mention the glaringly obvious fact that Masuda's comments are sexist and racist. He, and the rest of the government, probably think they're fine.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Frungy, have you read "Lean In" - the refs at the back are worth the price of the book alone. This topic is covered in it.

There are multiple factors at play, like increasing education to get better jobs, etc, etc, etc, but the trend is so clear that a blind person could read it.

Which is why I disgaree with women working = less kids. You just said there are more factors at play.That's why I don't agree that it is so cut and dry.

I think a large part of why there are fewer kids is a) many families can't afford more than one and b) most women have zero job security. I think IF Abe could get more support for families and women felt more confident about their job ecurity, those working could and would have more. Too many factors in my opinion - and if you look at the support in places where "working women = more kids" they have such things.

And yes, agree with you about being a realist. Not happening in my lifetime here. And yep, Abe doesn't give a damn about women- it is ALL about taxes and what the government can get out of it. IF he actually cared, he's be building daycares and demanding better pay for women caregivers and the like. Until that happens, Japan will continue to rot and stink from the core.

And wasn't there an article about Tokyo wanting more "young, intelligent" folks? Want cake, eat cake...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Can't believe they call themselves a research center. There are over a dozen things that could be done e.g. corporate governance and deregulations just to name a few. Hiring babysitters is NOT going to cure Japan's economic problems. Pathetic

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Interesting that there are a great many SEA women raising the children of expats in Roppongi and Hiroo. I have never been in a position to consider hiring a nanny. Never wanted to. Can't say I have never had need of extra help or envied others with help. But, of course we have seen the "Nanny Diary" film. My eastern European sister-in-law and my North American brother hire nannies from EU countries to help with their 2 children in Europe so they can concentrate on elite careers. Most of the non-Japanese mothers in our daughter's ballet school in Tokyo had SEAs bring them to and from school. One time, the nanny was the only family member to attend the recital. The parents were having a birthday party for the father on a Sumida River dinner ship. Of course the statement in this article is wrong. That is not to say that many (perhaps on this list) are not also hiring domestic help. It's a world-wide problem. Japan has had grandmothers to help. I have heard Singaporeans discuss which SEA country has "the best help." Cringe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tmarieMay. 22, 2014 - 08:54PM JST Frungy, have you read "Lean In" - the refs at the back are worth the price of the book alone. This topic is covered in it.

Nope, but I appreciate the recommendation. I'll add it to my reading list... which is currently hitting the 20 page mark, not counting the ever-increasing pile of journals on my desk...

Which is why I disgaree with women working = less kids. You just said there are more factors at play.That's why I don't agree that it is so cut and dry.

Fair enough. It is a complex issue.

I think a large part of why there are fewer kids is a) many families can't afford more than one and b) most women have zero job security. I think IF Abe could get more support for families and women felt more confident about their job ecurity, those working could and would have more. Too many factors in my opinion - and if you look at the support in places where "working women = more kids" they have such things.

Not just women in Japan. Most foreigners are kept with very little job security, which is an issue that needs to be tackled urgently if they want any legitimate immigration.

And yes, agree with you about being a realist. Not happening in my lifetime here. And yep, Abe doesn't give a damn about women- it is ALL about taxes and what the government can get out of it. IF he actually cared, he's be building daycares and demanding better pay for women caregivers and the like. Until that happens, Japan will continue to rot and stink from the core.

... and that's the bottom line isn't it? Sucks, but what ya gonna do?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

To allow women to work to their full capacity, we will have to bring in people from Southeast Asia to help with childcare and housework.

That's easy, half-baked solution to eradicate this population decline problem. He might as well suggest nanny robot since Japan seems to be going further in A.I development.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What's racist or sexist about employing au pairs!?!

Methinks the usual anti-Japan demagogues are trying too hard again.

It would require a great cultural shift, but it's not a bad idea.

As much as I'd love a Balinese au pair for myself, and I don't even have children, I'd say it was better to invite North Europeans with good English language skills in.

Japanese kids with Filipina accents won't be worth much in the global market place and, sadly, it would be very hard to trust China as a source of immigrant workers unless they want an even bigger 'fifth column' inside Japan.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Mister Ed May. 23, 2014 - 02:33AM JST Japanese kids with Filipina accents won't be worth much in the global market place

That's what most people like yourself in Japan thinks. In the most global market place, like U.S. and Europe, it is based on individual capability. Who cares if capable person has foreign accent, as long as he/she is capable of creative results? This is why most people in Japan never get ahead in their international relations. They waste valuable time trying to be what they are not, rather than valuing who they naturally are and building upon their own foundation of skills and knowledge for growth. People that advance in their careers focus less on what others say about them and more on how their creativity, competencies and leadership skills can add-value to the organization they serve. Unfortunately in Japan, you see too many people ruin their careers because they felt so much pressure to be like those in their organizations that were trying to get promoted and noticed. If you didn't know, demand for originality in international community is at premium and requires taking risks. In Japan, most people are only looking for acceptance, not significance. In fact, the majority of people do not desire to make a difference in the world. They are just content with mediocrity and go with the flow, waiting for the next trend to give them purpose. They are only awakened to take initiative if their comfort zone has been disrupted.

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How about getting BOTH parents involved with child are and housework?

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It is sad to hear such comments, however, little does the speaker acknowledge that one of the sectors mentioned: the Childcare Services, are an industry in itself - that can generate income for both homes and the government hopper.

No discrimination intended [gender or race]; citizens (females as referred to in the comment) can be trained and enticed, with the help of the government, to work in Childcare instead of sourcing from outside countries May the Japanese government seriously construct/create incentives and infrastructure to improve and attract the industry and its applicable labor force, ..... and to sustain it internally.

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Can't say I have never had need of extra help or envied others with help.

That might be because you're someone who is lucky not to have a reg Japanese job here that means you leave home at 7:00 and get back past 9:00. Daycares in my area open at 7:30/8:00 and close at 6:00/7:00. Your average Japanese worker can't deal with those hours.

Not just women in Japan. Most foreigners are kept with very little job security, which is an issue that needs to be tackled urgently if they want any legitimate immigration. 100% agree though I think foreigners get paid more on average than your reg Taro when they are younger and of the marrying age. When older is different.

What are you going to do? Not have kids - like everyone else it seems!

The book is a good read. I know not everyone agrees with it and it has been ripped apart but as a female who wants to advance, full of great advice and some shocking stats.

How about getting BOTH parents involved with child are and housework? Only possible if companies allow them the time to raise their kids. Most men in my neighbourhood leave the house at 7:00 and return after 9:00. Any woman who works for the same company has the same hours. My husband helps, I work FT (with very nice hours) but even with him helping and the like, there is not the support here from companies and the like to have two FT working parents home at a decent hour, cooking dinner together, checking homework and giving Taro a bath and putting him to bed before 8:00.

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@sfjp330 Have you ever been to Japan?

We live in a capitalist world. Everything has a price and a value including languages and accents. I did not make it like that, it's just an observation.

Giving a child the best opportunity in makes sense on many levels which teaching it Tagalog, in comparison to English, is not. Otherwise why do more than half of all Filipinos want to escape the Philippines?

Of course, I am talking about much more than just accent, I am speaking about an entire cultural package that comes along with an individual too.

Where Japan needs to start, addressing many of its problems, is, as others have stated, to legislate shorter work hours and allow more flexibility in them, then start re-builing communities rather than treating workers as if they are worker bees living in cells.

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Are you joking?!? Those were the bubble days, when people threw their Sony TVs and other high-quality made in Japan appliances and furnishings in the sodai gomi every 2 years. "Few clothes"? Japan was the destination of 60-70% of the global output of high end design goods. "less food"?? Gold flake was trendy at the time....to put in your tea! And there was a lot less frozen, processed and China-imported food at the time

Not every Japanese lived in Tokyo at that time. If you look at the wages paid to working-class Japanese at this time, you'll find they were lower than wages paid in America.

And of course all that ten year's excess was paid for with non-existent assets. Many of the bubble era wealthy are now taxi drivers and bartenders.

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"Can't say I have never had need of extra help or envied others with help."

That might be because you're someone who is lucky not to have a reg Japanese job here that means you leave home at 7:00 and get back past 9:00. Daycares in my area open at 7:30/8:00 and close at 6:00/7:00. Your average Japanese worker can't deal with those hours.

The first sentence I think meant I have had need of exta help and have envied others. So, I fully agree. Have had a regular job with kids and it is hard. I admit. Irregular work is even worse. No time or regular meals at home. Go, go, go. I know Japanese women teachers who bike children to two different day cares and then work full time and pick them up and do the evening work. They could definitely use extra help. I hired some Japanese short term help. Had one that was abusive. I would rather have had a SEA helper with more flexibility. There is little help from a Japanese husband who is a willing father and husband, but a slave to the company and rarely home and has a long commute. So, if expats here can afford the help of overseas workers, and they can and do, why wouldn't Japanese be able to do the same and hopefully be kind to the worker.

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Japanese families should have the same rights to hire domestic helpers from overseas that Singaporean and Hong Kong families have.

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