Friday, June 02, 2006

Japanese Fertility Rate: Being rich cannot solve Everything

Japan, a developed country in Asia, is going to face a lack of population problem. The health ministry of Japan said that The country has experienced its lowest fertility rate ever in 2005 with the rate of 1.25 while the rate was 1.29 in 2004. Here, fertility rate indicates the number of children a women wants to have in her lifetime. The fertility rate has been lessened to 1.2888 in 2004 which should be 2.1 in Japan according to expertise.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi while expressing his concern about this figure said that his government would take this issue very seriously.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo is also worried about this matter and he felt that the government should have acted from before.

The major reasons behind such reluctance of people to take more children are related to busy Japanese lifestyle of both men and women. For example, men can not give more time in his house for having a huge pressure in workplace and women are forced to give up their job during the time of child birth. For your convenience I can give information that about 70 percent women have to give up their job when they become mother. Lack of proper daycare facilities is another problem and schools are getting more and more expensive. Here, experts figured out another point that is the attitude of later marriage of women through which they get fewer children in their life.

It is also predicted that, Japanese population may go down to 100.59 million by 2050 and to 64.14 million by 2100. It is a pity that Japan is one of the richest countries in the world but it cannot solve the problem of falling birth rate. Money can solve many problems but not everything.

So, government should give the highest importance to this issue before getting it out of control. More children home should set up and what is more, government should allocate a vacation for the women during the time of giving birth and men should be given some extra hours off so that they can take care of their family very well. Government can also inspire people to take more children giving some extra benefit to them. For example, government can give a waiver in the tuition fees in educational institution for those families who have more than 2 children or government can launch a fund to give some financial assistance for those families who have more than 2 children. These are all my opinion and I think the decision makers of Japan will be able to figure out some way that will be more effective.

What do you think about it?



Brough said...

Razib, Japan is not the only country with falling fertility rates. The same trends are visible in most of the developed world. Apparently as people become wealthy, they become less interested in having many (or even any) children. But we should at least briefly think about the long term (50 or 100 years) before we jump to short term (next 2-10 year) proposals.

Is falling population a problem in the long term? Perhaps future generations of Japanese would be better off if their total population were substantially smaller than it is today -- if they end up with a better standard of living and more space per person. If so, then the question is how to manage the transition, i.e. how to pay for elder care in the intervening decades, not how to maintain current population levels.

Also, have you seen any serious examination of why people are having fewer children? Is the "busy life style" in Japan in fact what is causing similar fertility declines in other cultures, or is this just a random guess by a Japanese politician? Before proposing specific benefits or economic incentives for increased fertility, it would be nice to know if there is something about humans that is resulting in falling fertility rates in many different cultures.