Japan Suggests Policies To Increase Marriages and Birth Rate
Japan has released draft proposals to increase marriages and the birth rate of the nation by providing financial aid for childrearing and schooling.
Also, it has proposed raising younger employees’ salaries to encourage marriage and procreation.
By 2060, Japan’s population, which currently numbers over 125 million, is expected to drop to 86.7 million.
While the nation strengthens its military to stave against China’s increasingly assertive territorial ambitions, a decreasing and aging population has significant ramifications for the economy and national security.
Masanobu Ogura, minister of children’s policies, stated that Japan may have one more opportunity to reverse its dropping birth rate in the coming years.
According to him, the young population would decline twice as quickly as it is now in the 2030s if birth rates continue to decline at the rate they have been since the year 2000.
Because of their poor career prospects, corporate cultures that don’t support having both parents work, especially women, and the general lack of acceptance of young children in public spaces, many younger Japanese have shied away from getting married or starting families.
Mr. Ogura’s strategy calls for additional financial aid to be provided in order to solve the issues, including more government support for childrearing, more generous student loans for higher education, and easier access to childcare facilities.
Additionally, it tries to alter cultural perceptions to promote greater gender equality at work and home.
To encourage more men to take paternity leave, which has been a bone of contention for working fathers concerned with reprisal, the proposal also calls for additional government aid to businesses.
“While diverse views about marriage, childbirth, and childrearing should be respected, we want to make a society where young generations can marry, have and raise children as they wish,” Mr. Ogura said.
“The basic direction of our measures to tackle low births is to reverse the trend of declining births by supporting individuals’ pursuit of happiness.”
The suggestion has been forwarded to Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of Japan, according to Mr. Ogura.
That will be a component of a larger set of policies that Mr. Kishida’s administration will develop in June.
Japan recorded a record low of 799,728 births in 2022, the lowest number of newborns recorded since surveys began in 1899.
Due to increased prices, a lot of couples are delaying starting families.
Despite having the third-largest economy in the world, 40% of Japanese workers are part-time or contract workers, and living expenses are high. The government, according to critics, has to do more to include minorities, women, and children in society.
Women who are single or without children tend to be treated less favorably by the conservative party in power, which upholds traditional family values and gender roles. Marriage is also a requirement for having children. The estimated cost was not mentioned in Mr. Ogura’s proposal.
Despite incentives for pregnancies, births, and childcare, government initiatives to encourage parents to have more children have only had a small influence thus far.
Women’s attempts to pursue careers after marriage or after having children are hampered by the circumstances in a nation that has one of the lowest rates of gender equality in the world. The majority of Japanese between the ages of 18 and 34 say they intend to have fewer than two children when they do get married.
Data presented in the proposal show that an increasing number of people claim not to want to get married.