Why are fewer and fewer babies being born in Japan?
Japanese authorities attribute the decline in births to more and more people avoiding marriage and pregnancy due to uncertainty about the future.
“The number of births will continue to decline in the long term” if more young people cannot or choose not to marry, chief analyst at the Japan Research Institute told the newspaper. The Asahi Shimbun.
For this reason, the efforts of the Japanese government have concentrated on implementing public policies to boost marriages and births. But efforts to increase the number of babies have seen limited impact despite the payment of subsidies for pregnancy, birth and infant care.
“It’s not about the lack of sex,” Jennifer Robertson, emeritus professor of anthropology and art history at the University of Michigan, told The Washington Post. “It is all the infrastructure that goes into the healthy maintenance of a multi-generational home.”
Japanese men have trouble getting good jobs, so they put off marriage. Also, people in Japan do not usually have children out of wedlock.
On the other hand, the proportion of women who have received higher education has increased in the last half century, as has the employment rate. Affordable childcare is hard to find, Robertson told the Post. Japanese society, with a highly patriarchal tradition, expects women to take care of housework and parenting, so many of them are opting for their careers instead of motherhood.