By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

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jserraglio
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By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by jserraglio » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:32 pm

QUARTZ


Japan’s population is aging at an unprecedented speed, bringing the country to the brink of a demographic crisis that will have long-term implications for its economy and society.
At the heart of the problem is that young Japanese are having fewer babies, put off from family life by a discriminatory work culture (paywall), the cost of childcare, a precarious economy, and the rapid decline of marriage. This trend, which risks creating severe labor shortages and a collapsing social security system, is an extreme version of what many developed countries face around the world (paywall).
In the late 1980s, the widely-used catchphrase “1.57 shock” captured the reaction when the country’s fertility rate reached its lowest point in its history (it would go on to fall even further, hitting 1.26 in 2005). The reality that Japanese women had pretty much stopped having babies pushed government into action. The lateness of this push—and its successes and failures two decades later—illustrate how difficult it can be to change the reality of child-rearing in the face of persistent stigma and systemic constraints.
Japan’s childcare and education investments
Japan is losing its battle (pdf) to meaningfully raise fertility rates. Those who experienced the “1.57 shock” of the late 80s are confronting a fertility rate that has roughly plateaued in growth, reaching 1.43 today.
According to projections from Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, the country’s population of about 127 million people could fall below 100 million by 2049 and reach 82 million by 2065. The Institute’s most optimistic projections put the country’s population at about 95 million by 2065.
This trend has accelerated government action, particularly around providing a better work-life balance for working moms. While Japan had some maternal leave policies in place for workers as early as 1911, it passed a law in 1992 (pdf) that formalized partially-paid parental leave for up to a year after childbirth. The government now requires companies of more than 300 employees to publish targets for hiring or promoting women, part of a bid to encourage women to go back to work after having children. In 2017, it announced it would invest 2 trillion yen ($18.47 billion) into a package of subsidies for elderly care and for childcare and education. State-approved preschool is now free for children between three and five years old, and low-income households with children below that age get free childcare. And since 2013, municipalities have created more than 500,000 new public day care slots (paywall).
Some Japanese towns and municipalities have gone to even greater lengths. According to The Economist, the Japanese town of Nagicho managed to increase its fertility rate from 1.4 to about 1.9 in 2017 by offering new moms a “gift” of 300,000 yen ($2,785), as well as subsidies for children’s care, housing, health and education.
Policies that make childcare and healthcare more affordable, high-quality, and accessible, are crucial to supporting new mothers and encouraging healthy child development. The years between birth and five lay the foundations for a child’s cognitive and social-emotional skills later in life, and high-quality preschool and childcare programs have been found to significantly improve those skills, especially amongst low-income kids. Meanwhile, research shows that generous maternity leave and policies supporting a return to work are good for mothers’ mental health and for their families.
Theory v. reality
Japan’s investments have already yielded some results. More than 2 million additional women are working today compared to six years ago.
But several obstacles remain for parents. Preschool may now be free, but it hasn’t become more accessible. Approximately 20,000 children are on waiting lists for publicly-subsidized day care, according to The New York Times (paywall). The government has said it needs to create 320,000 new public day care slots by 2021, which will mean hiring and training 77,000 more teachers. Filling these slots with highly-educated early childhood caregivers won’t be easy.
In addition, cultural stigma around work and childcare persists. Only about one in 20 fathers took advantage of Japan’s generous policy of 30 weeks of paid paternal leave in 2017, according to UN data. Mothers who choose to return to work after leave often face discrimination (paywall) and an unequal burden of child-rearing responsibilities at home.
While some of these challenges are unique to Japan—like the phenomenon of karoshi, or “death from overwork”—many of them are near-universal. Most countries around the world struggle to provide high-quality, affordable childcare options for families and in many places, entrenched cultural barriers still disadvantage working women who want children—and even those who don’t.
Policies like the ones the Japanese government has put in place are a good first step to addressing these problems. But other countries shouldn’t wait until they face a demographic crisis to get there.
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Belle
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by Belle » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:26 pm

There is another factor here, not discussed in this article; Japanese men are not marrying in anywhere near the numbers they once did. Marriage is at historically low levels. My eldest son noticed the 'feminization' of males when he was in Japan a couple of years ago; men who spend more time on their hair and appearance than they do on women. He said it was extremely noticeable and he'd never witnessed anything like it in his previous travels elsewhere. The younger generation of men prefer 'Barbie Doll' women as fetishized objects and there is a very high rate of celibacy amongst Japanese males. I've actually read about that myself in the past. Working life has something to do with declining birth rates but there is something else going on here which is far more significant.

jserraglio
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by jserraglio » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:51 pm

Yes, but the article does refer to the decline of marriage in Japan and links to a recent article in the Economist about just that subject.

The Economist piece points out that 1) 33% of young Japanese women still want to marry but are having a hard time finding suitabl employed men in the current stagnant economy; 2) having a child out of wedlock is socially unacceptable in Japan, only 2% of Japanese births are illegitimate; 3) many career women defer marriage or forego it entirely because Japanese companies often discriminate against women who try to raise children while pursuing a career.

So if men are being 'feminized', it may be due to socio-economic conditions beyond their control.

.

Belle
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by Belle » Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:17 pm

Maybe not socio economic but cultural, or a combination of both. Japan has not had a viable military since WW2, but this may be changing. I am no sociologist, but the military is the historic locus of masculinity.

jserraglio
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by jserraglio » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:41 am

Belle wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:17 pm
the military is the historic locus of masculinity.
Surely it averaged out over the past century. The comfort women in their occupied territories, if any survive, doubtless could testify about where the locus of Japanese masculinity once resided.

John F
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by John F » Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:51 am

Already Japan's population is not just aging but declining, and this is forcing decisions that affect the quality of life there. Many railroad lines have been abandoned because of fewer riders; public transportation in the cities has been decreased because of a shortage of bus and train drivers and rerouted with the needs of the elderly in mind; there are fewer doctors, so while medical services remain among the highest in the world, there are delays in all but emergency cases and optional surgery is done less often and after a longer wait. On the Japanese cable channel (in English), NHK World, this is a constant theme of programs on many subjects.

jserraglio's comment indirectly raise the topic of paid or forced sex that some Japanese men indulged in long ago. I don't believe thats relevant here. The fact that Japanese men, especially in the military during the occupation of Korea, used to satisfy themselves with prostitutes and rape, can have had no effect on the population of the home islands in Japan. No doubt there are prostitutes in Tokyo but nowadays birth control pills prevent pregnancies that used to be carried to term.

When I was stationed in Korea, for a year before 'the Army reassigned me to Germany, there were "camp followers" living around the Army bases I was assigned to, starting right outside the gate. GI's would pick up "dates" there or in the (civilian) bars that catered to this trade. The Korean government did nothing to prevent this, and indeed set up a system under which women could have free monthly examinations and treatment for venereal disease, and issued them with cards certifying that they were "clean" which they could show to their customers. Eventually the Korean government, with full cooperation from the U.S., eliminated these shanty towns, thank goodness, though how those Korean women earned their living when this option was finally closed to them, I've no idea.
John Francis

jserraglio
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by jserraglio » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:11 am

John F wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:51 am
jserraglio's comment indirectly raise the topic of paid or forced sex that some Japanese men indulged in long ago. I don't believe thats relevant here.
Nope, it's relevant, in that I was disputing the notion floated in this thread that Japan's decision not to maintain a viable military had anything to do with a lack of masculinity by alluding to the crimes that were committed against women when the two (masculinity and the military) were confounded.

Belle
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by Belle » Sun Jun 23, 2019 4:15 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:41 am
Belle wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:17 pm
the military is the historic locus of masculinity.
Surely it averaged out over the past century. The comfort women in their occupied territories, if any survive, doubtless could testify about where the locus of Japanese masculinity once resided.
The Japanese are not alone in that respect. Just ask German women at the end of WW2 about how they were treated by the Russians. I do not know how you can "average out" cultural behaviour. These are not sweets.


You seem to be suggesting that masculinity is bad. That idea should float until at least the next conflagration when, once again, it will be predominantly men used as cannon fodder to save everybody's bony hide.

jserraglio
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by jserraglio » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:48 pm

And the old farts with bony arses and weak hams that send children off to battle will mostly belong to a 'masculine' sorority.

Belle
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by Belle » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:19 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:48 pm
And the old farts with bony arses and weak hams that send children off to battle will mostly belong to a 'masculine' sorority.
Totally governed, of course, by the people or peoples who provide your next existential threat. Unless you believe there's never going to be one??

And, of course, all those pilots who died in WW2 defending Britain (from myriad countries) were merely males defending their white privilege. That's why they burned in those cockpits or fell to their deaths from European skies - they enjoyed 'toxic masculinity'. Or were captured and sent to Nazi camps. They had no time or alternative but to be utterly brave beyond belief.

jserraglio
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by jserraglio » Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:09 am

Belle wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:19 pm
They had no time or alternative but to be utterly brave beyond belief.
Had they but world enough and time, many would have chosen otherwise, as war-hero Joseph Heller showed us time out of mind in his masterwork.
Belle wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:19 pm
Unless you believe there's never going to be one
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8WlbQRoz3o4


Belle
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by Belle » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:39 pm

I live in the world of realpolitik and I admire the courageous actions of fellow human beings, most of them being males, who died in droves to save me and mine. And Australia was and is half a world away from those actions; yet our young men volunteered, over and over. And they were slaughtered in comparatively high numbers when you consider our population. These days, of course, many women are in a theatre of war - though God only knows why they'd want to be. (They have the most to fear as prisoners of war.)

As the mother of 3 adult males and with a wonderful, sensitive husband of 45 years I'm sick to the death of hearing about 'toxic masculinity'. It's a trope designed essentially for 'wealth transfer' purposes!!

The irony is that in the real world of 'quiet Australians' higher numbers than ever before are visiting France and Turkey to our historic war graves, recognizing the valiant efforts of our ancestors. The poetry of Australian Wilfred Owens, who died in WW1, tells it:

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

It seems there were more than 'toxic' males in this theatre of war. When I was in Vienna we visited their military museum and I was immensely moved when I saw a hand-made violin in a display. It had been hewn out of remnant timbers where some soldiers were fighting and it filled my eyes to look at it. Right in the depths of despair human beings revert to type; in the case of some Viennese, it was a desperate need for music. In the case of Wilfred Owen it was poetry; for Maurice Ravel is was composition.

"Toxic masculinity"? Piffle.

jserraglio
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:12 am

The traditional gender of the male muse notwithstanding, its counterpart today has become burly realpolitik.

Belle
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:17 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:12 am
The traditional gender of the male muse notwithstanding, its counterpart today has become burly realpolitik.
I would love to hold hands and make daisy chains too, but I don't think the world is ready for my pollyanna brand of pacifism. Meantime, leave the boys alone; they'll soon enough be conscripted into the next major conflict. And there will be one - as surely as the day follows night.

And Joseph Heller said that soldiers 'would have chosen otherwise'? With that kind of profundity of observation there is no wonder "Catch 22" was such a success. I've found that in life or death situations the element of 'choice' is largely absent.

jserraglio
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:56 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:17 pm
And Joseph Heller said
He didn't say anything, he showed it, choosing as his protagonist the antithesis of what he was in real life. Heller enlisted in 1942 at age 19 and flew 60 combat missions as a B-29 bombadier on the Italian front.

Belle
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:59 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:56 pm
Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:17 pm
And Joseph Heller said
He didn't say anything, he showed it, choosing as his protagonist the antithesis of what he was in real life. Heller enlisted in 1942 at age 19 and flew 60 combat missions as a B-29 bombadier on the Italian front.
OK, he 'showed us'. Same thing really.

jserraglio
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:02 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:59 pm
Same thing really.
Really. Like it or not, there is a difference.

Belle
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:09 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:02 pm
Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:59 pm
Same thing really.
Really. Like it or not, there is a difference.
I would have taught my students about the values behind the text and the ideas being promulgated by it. In fact, this is precisely what I taught as an English teacher - ordered to do so by the then-syllabus. This way I was also able to teach about bias in a text and how these were represented, no matter what the medium. Of course, this is more difficult with straight fiction but satire and non-fiction make that much easier. But texts like, for example, the novels of Jane Austen reflected a certain world view of the author.

jserraglio
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:33 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:09 pm
texts like, for example, the novels of Jane Austen reflected a certain world view of the author.
Well, I am a fan of the delicious ironic voice of Austen, of Wharton too. I find no real counterpart to that in Heller, who always struck me as more of a dramatist than a novelist with a coherent world view. So instead of reading Catch-22, we perform it (What other American novel has changed the English language yet remains largely unread?) in a series of key chapters that I have reduced to dramatic form. The students get it and love the humor. Later, some of them will perhaps read the whole book. If not, no biggie
Last edited by jserraglio on Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Belle
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:41 pm

You're obviously a first class teacher. More power to you!!

jserraglio
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:46 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:41 pm
You're obviously a first class teacher. More power to you!!
Thanks! I am a work in progress, but I have to admit, I have fun.

John F
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Re: By 2065 Japan will run out . . . of people

Post by John F » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:41 pm

I read "Catch 22" when in the Army and much of the satire struck me as funny but largely true. Take the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade of Captain Black. Shortly before I joined the staff of radio station WBAI in 1963, the Federal Communications Commission demanded that its board, officers, and station manager sign under oath a questionnaire regarding current or past Communist affiliation, implying that otherwise the station's broadcasting license would not be renewed, taking WBAI off the air. This was refused but WBAI submitted a statement of its own, not under oath and not mentioning Communism, and the license was renewed in January 1964. But it was a near thing.

All this happened during the liberal Johnson administration long after the anticommunist witch hunts in both houses of Congress in the 1940s and 1950s. That said, the House Unamerican Activities Committee, renamed the House Committee on Internal Security, dragged on until it was terminated in 1975.
John Francis

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