Woman Agenda can increase birth rate?

May 23, 2013 Juju Kurihara Lifestyle, Society Tags: 7 Comments

Japan´s low birth rate is becoming a serious issue. Among 29 countries whose population is more than 400 million, Japan has the lowest child population of 13.2%. So the government is now discussing to make young Japanese women to have a booklet called “Josei Techou (女性手帳/ Woman Agenda) to teach them the mechanism of women body to produce babies.

This education is only for women. As men can have children when their 60th, it doesn´t seem to be an issue. I wonder what would Japanese women think about this agenda. Then I´ve found an article of a Japanese woman, Chikirin. See what she says.


Women´s life planning isn´t organized enough?

Japan´s declining birth rate is getting more serious and the government is talking about making “woman agenda” for young women as a measure.


pregnancyThe Japanese government on the 7th of May held a meeting, “Task force to overcome declining birth rate” and discussed about introducing a “woman agenda” for young women to teach them about pregnancy and childbirth. This measure is to prevent recent tendency of late marriage and childbirth and any objection arose in the meeting.


The aim of “woman agenda” is young Japanese women to understand “the suitable age for getting married and having children” and helps women to make a life plan. It was the sub team of this meeting who has been discussing profoundly about encouraging women to get pregnant and to have children.


There is an appropriate age for pregnancy is something we should know. But I wonder why “only women” to plan their life.


To begin with, declining chid birth is caused by women not thinking about their future is completely opposite to the reality. This is happening as a result of “women thinking so serious about their future”. Now the government want them to have an agenda. What else more can women plan their life?


Mostly are women who ask questions like, “is it possible to manage both work and family?”, “do employees can have maternity leave?” or “do you have any support for nursery service?” at a job interview.  They are thinking so much about their future since they are young.


After investing the actual society and thinking a lot, Japanese women reached a conclusion “career first” and as a result they postpone having children a little later.


young coupleI have to admit that women have not enough knowledge of the relationship between the age and pregnancy.  However this doesn´t mean the government can make this issue more complicated by forcing only women to “think carefully”. I think it´s harsh. I rather think they should force men to have this agenda since they are the ones who don´t think much.


Even if the knowledge about the pregnancy mechanism spread into young women, as far as I see, it´s rather men than women who can´t be ready to be a parent.

I personally think that once women understand that higher their age is more difficult to get pregnant, more of them start to think “first giving birth and child-care then career”.


In fact, there are more women who start their career after being a housewife for 10 or 15 years. Nowadays, people work until 70 years old, then it´s not too late to start their career at age 35.

They can continue studying while rising kids. Having children earlier, start working as a part time while taking care of them and change to full-time when the children become big enough. Im sure here should be women who have chosen this type of life.


So what is the real obstacle for women when they decided to have a baby at 25? It´s the commitment from the men side to be a Dad. The number of arranged marriage is getting smaller in Japan and as a result, the age gap between a couple is getting smaller in general. Rather, in 23% of the married couples, wives are elder than the husbands. This means if a woman wants to have a baby earlier, her boyfriend or husband has to decide to have one even earlier too.


Many couples who are married in their 20th have met in the high school or university. They were in the same class or in their senior class. Not much older than the other. The question is boys in their 20th have such a guts?

Late 20th and early 30th for men is the era of career growth and also the time when they want parties. I don´t think many men are prepared to be a Dad just because their wives are at the perfect age to have a baby.

That why I think it´s better to give men the agenda. Why don´t they promote among university boys to start practicing. Once many 20 something year-old men start thinking to be a Dad, naturally women´s birth age will go down.

woody allen


Anyway, when people were having arranged marriages, the age gap between a couple was quite big. This was based on the practical sense, which men got married “when they were economically established to take care of the family” and women did “when they were young enough to have babies”. Back then people weren´t as economically stabled as now and I assume that the system was made for people to “survive” and “keep the generations going” easily. Interesting.


Original article : http://d.hatena.ne.jp/Chikirin/20130512

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  1. Shafan 6 years Reply

    when people were having arranged marriages, the age gap between a couple was quite big. This was based on the practical sense, which men got married “when they were economically established to take care of the family” and women did “when they were young enough to have babies”. Back then people weren´t as economically stabled as now and I assume that the system was made for people to “survive” and “keep the generations going” easily. Interesting.
    I like this.
    May be all of us must go back to the old fashion marriage.

  2. Fred Harriman 10 years Reply

    With all due respect, I think Ms. Fukuda’s anger is misplaced. While the Woman’s Agenda may not be a solution to Japan’s declining birth rate, it is hardly an insult to women. As a matter of fact, it is proof that the Japanese Government is indeed concerned with the health of women, and perhaps more so that the States and Territories and Tribes that make up the governments of the US. The real question here, is “who wants more children?” If women really want more children, they will have them, and if Society is supportive they will be able to have them. The Japanese Government is supportive, the problem is that the Japanese Government is not the only element of Japanese Society. The real bad guy here is the rigid Japanese corporate system. Why do Japanese corporations make life hell for employees when they attempt to court a prospective spouse, and then attempt to have a healthy home life? People who get promoted are: mostly male, mostly have never seen the world outside of Japan, are never at home because they are working overtime or entertaining in bars, and express a mostly resigned view of life that is risk-averse and doctrinaire. How many good fathers run things in Japanese companies? How many women are allowed to be mommies and also work at jobs with incentives for promotion? I think we all know the answer to those questions. Is this really the fault of the Japanese Government?

  3. Kyoko Fukuda 10 years Reply

    I think this is a really nasty humiliation to women by the government!!! Do they need to tell us when to get married and have babies? Tell MEN to bring in more money home so that women do not have to work. If we choose to be working mothers, will husbands help do house chores? Majority are NO – though recent trends are showing difference and many more are helping.

    I don’t think the Women Agenda will change the birth rate at all unless the society changes.

    • Dr. Ramesh 10 years

      Fukuda san you have hit the nail on the head when you said “…the Women Agenda will change the birth rate at all unless the society changes”. Let me amplify what you have said by tracing the history. The roots are very deep.

      Did the atomic bomb bring the end of the world war? No. It was the fear of the Russian that made the Emperor take the initiative to bring the world war II to an end. Please read the following:

      • No discussions of any kind how a change can be brought about in the Japanese society will yield any result. Japan is not easily prone to change. The leaders are very tough and not prone to logic and reason. The following about the World War II will show how tough the leaders are. After all Prime Minister Abe is the grandson of the World War criminal: Nobosuke Kishi. Kishi worked directly under Togo when he was stationed in Manchuria.
      “On Contrary to the contention advanced by many American political historians, BBC research has clearly shown that there is no evidence that the two atomic bombs led either Togo or the Emperor to accept the Potsdam terms. ( Postdam is small city in Germany where Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill met)
      The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima by the Americans did not have the effect intended: unconditional surrender by Japan. Half of the Japanese inner Cabinet, called the Supreme War Direction Council, refused to surrender unless guarantees about Japan’s future were given by the Allies, especially regarding the position of the emperor, Hirohito. The only Japanese civilians who even knew what happened at Hiroshima were either dead or suffering terribly”

      “Even after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, General Korechika Anami opposed talk of surrender, and advocated that a large-scale battle be fought on the Japanese mainland causing such massive Allied casualties that Japan would somehow be able to evade surrender and perhaps even keep some of what it had conquered in Burma”.

      But the real blow to Japan came not from Hiroshima but from the Soviet union on August 8 a day before Nagasaki bomb was dropped 1945. Stalin officially declared war on Japan, pouring more than 1 million Soviet soldiers into Japanese-occupied Manchuria, northeastern China, to take on the 700,000-strong Japanese army.
      Japan had not been too worried about the Soviet Union, so busy with the Germans on the Eastern front. The Japanese army went so far as to believe that they would not have to engage a Soviet attack until spring 1946. But the Soviets surprised them with their invasion of Manchuria, an assault so strong (of the 850 Japanese soldiers engaged at Pingyanchen, 650 were killed or wounded within the first two days of fighting) that Emperor Hirohito began to plead with his War Council to reconsider surrender. On the day of Japan’s surrender, Emperor Hirohito only mentioned Soviet intervention for the surrender!

  4. Steve Vitek 10 years Reply

    The women’s agenda is to live their lives the way they want to live them, which is exactly the same agenda that men have as well.

    The government’s agenda is to figure out how to make women and men, but in particular women, to generate new taxpayers for the government.

    It seems to me that the government needs to work on its agenda so that it does not clash with the agenda of its citizens

  5. Rochelle Kopp 10 years Reply

    Good point, I completely agree, you have to look at the men too. I have so many Japanese female friends who would be delighted to have babies, but there is no man in the picture…

  6. Mike Allen 10 years Reply

    The fuss about birth rates is misplaced. Japan has too many people. Why would you want to increase the population? This will be a great country this will be to live in when the population declined by another 20%.

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