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60% feel it is hard to raise children in Japan: gov't survey

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A total of 61.1 percent of people in Japan believe it is hard to raise children in the country, according to a recent government survey, which highlighted a perception of insufficient support for parenting compared with other nations.

There are plenty surveys after survey for something that already obvious and pledges in Japan, important part is what next?

17 ( +17 / -0 )

There is so much pressure on parents and children alike once they enter school to cram, cram so they can pass the entrance tests to get into these elite private junior high schools. The schools rush through the curriculum, and so, the children are not learning they are just memorizing like little robots and again stress on the parents and the children and where parents are spending so much money on jukus.

There is no joy in being a child here, and so, you have a lot of children committing suicide due to the pressures of school life and bullying. I just pulled my son of this country and took him to Guam due to him being bullied and to get him safe from the COVID, and now, he is going to a small private school and he loves it and once a week he studies Japanese for 4 hours and is enjoying that. I returned to Japan to work and support his life over there, and yes, I miss him over the moon but glad to know he safe on 2 fronts.

Japan needs to start their school system in September, give children summers free of homework and studying and change the curriculum where it is still challenging but not overwhelming and where children are actually learning.

40 ( +46 / -6 )

Bringing up kids here in NZ is relatively easy as childcare is usually easily accessible, of a high quality and largely free (22 hours wk). Healthcare including for pregnant mothers and children up to 14 is entirely free (including childbirth, aftercare, midwives and drugs). Child-rearing subsides are reasonably generous too. One thing my Japanese wives says is special about bringing up kids here is that everyone is openly kind and friendly to children wherever you go and so children are very safe.

What I don't understand about the Japanese govt is, if they so desperately need more children to bolster the population, why are they not spending much more on supporting parents as other nations are?!

21 ( +26 / -5 )

Japan is at the bottom in essentially all quality of life and equality measures among the so-called "developed" countries, so this is not at all surprising.

25 ( +36 / -11 )

important part is what next

Japan is essentially a one-party state with no dissent of any importance.

So "nothing" is next. There is absolutely no incentive for a change from the ruling oyajis.

27 ( +33 / -6 )

Japan has two choices. Either:

Incentives for couples to have children. Not only monetary/tax wise, but also drastically change the toxic working culture.

This, if Japan wants to stop a sharp population decrease over the next few decades;

or

Automate everything and change the way the country works.

This, if Japan wants to let the current shrinkage of its population and embrace it.

While Japan produces top notch technologies, anyone who had worked at a japanese company knows it is like going back in time to a 1980’s office with fax machines and papers all over the place.

Automation is still a mirage.

Tough decisions that have to be made now to stick to a long term strategy.

Oh wait, the current government has probably over 80% or more of its people over 60 years old, will they really plan long term?

Japan needs younger generations to take over as soon as possible, as there are big decisions on the table that have to be made to ensure a promising future for the country.

27 ( +27 / -0 )

which highlighted a perception of insufficient support for parenting compared with other nations.

‘it’s not a perception it’s a fact.

children are a joy, yet my local parks have dozens of signs saying “No” to about everything, except smiling but next week probably be another sign. My daughters have had children and the hoops, paperwork, costs involved sucked any joy out of the process. My wife and I have to subsidise their bills to avoid them slipping into poverty.

I love them, do anything for them, as a grandparent it’s obvious that without support we give they would be in a 1LDK eating cup noodles. The system is so bent out of shape, As an adult I’m terrified when I have to visit their schools, I actually when I first got here wondered why there were so many prisons, only to be told they are schools?

But one party state what can you do in the face of rampant stupidity

23 ( +25 / -2 )

Allowing both parents to qualify as having ‘dependents’ would go a long way to improving the situation for families, as would tax breaks in reductions in health care or pension payments.

As a parent of two, my view of the Japanese support for parents is a policy of ‘no mercy’, then you wonder why the birthdate continues to decline..

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I guess I got lucky. My kids' schools were a short walk from the house, the teachers were hard-working and understanding, and we had sleepovers almost every weekend. But I can well understand that my ideal situation is not true for most.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

60% are correct. It's very hard. Lack of hoikuen places in certain Ku's (Setagaya ku for us) is a big issue that is not being solved even at the current low birth rates. Add onto that the cost of absolutely everything involved in babies /children being super expensive in Japan.From the birth to clothing, buggy/stroller, food, milk, etc. Just a stroll around akachan honpo will show what a rip off this country is regarding children.

We know this issue, the government know this issue, so instead of every couple of months recycling the same surveys and articles let's see the concrete plans to fix the issue.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

A very important and serious subject but - the government plans to mention the results of the survey in a white paper. So the old fossils will make sure Japan has no future in the long term. By doing nothing

11 ( +11 / -0 )

So...I’m a dog person.

Nothing against children, but they could quite possibly grow up to be politicians.

I really feel sorry for my friends with kids. Right now I couldn't afford a school bag, uniform, cram school, big family car...

NHK said couples spend up to ¥5m for fertilization treatment.

but also, being gay, adoption is almost impossible.

good luck parents, the future is in your hands.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Other than just information gathering, what's the purpose of these surveys? We've known all these issues in Japan for a while now. It's not like anything is going to change in Japan with it's current leadership

12 ( +12 / -0 )

(1) Japan is all about ¥¥¥¥¥¥¥¥ without that here you will never survive..

(2) Japan is getting worried now that the population of Japanese are low so that would mean someday Japan will be over populated by what they call us (gaijins)

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I recently spoke to a man who told me he is sending his pre-school-age child to cram school so that they can get into a good kindergarten; his logic is that this will lead to a good elementary school, followed by good junior and senior high schools followed by a good university.

Both he and his wife are permanently exhausted as between working full-time, running the house, shepherding their child to and from both cram- and regular school and following up with homework - all of this with no available child-care - they get no personal time at all.

It's insane!! Having children is never an easy job, but it certainly should not be so completely debilitating.

25 ( +25 / -0 )

And the other 40% got stuck on the negative question: Don't you think it is hard to raise children?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The hardest part of being a parent in Japan is standing helplessly by as year by year through the inexorable demands and pressures of the education system the Japanese state incrementally steals your childrens' time so that once into their teens your children are virtually taken out of your custody and family life in service to the social and commercial interests of "the system". To paraphrase Mark Twain, my children were educated once upon a time in Japan - it took them (and me) years to get over it.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It really differs from a city to another. Speaking of Tokyo, yes the cost is overwhelming and there is little hope for a couple paid with the standard pay (for which half goes into the rent) to raise a children according to the level of expectations in the school system (going to Jukku or Kumon from 中学校). Then there is the family policy of each cities. For example in the city I live, all family gets a 手当 for every children you have, whichever your level of income and the medical fees are free for all children until they reach 18. The education system though is still very much identical to the elitist one that will give access to better school for those who have money to spend for their kid to outperform through cram schools. On education, these concerns are already here even before the child is born...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

his logic is that this will lead to a good elementary school

Families can't choose the elementary school unless the child is especially gifted academically. 95% of families have to send elementary school age kids to a nearby elementary school.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It’s not hard to raise children in Japan that’s likely an excuse to say I have no interest in having children and rather be unburden and not be forced to be responsible for taking care of new life of a child. It baffles me every time I read an article related to child abuse or death.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

A total of 61.1 percent of people in Japan believe it is hard to raise children in the country, according to a recent government survey, which highlighted a perception of insufficient support for parenting compared with other nations.

Don't get confused or rush to conclude that Japan is bad regarding the quality of childcare services and environment. Based on self-reports the survey was asking respondents about their feelings or beliefs.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I am surprised by the numbers, 60% is much lower than what I though, obviously people will keep having families, but 40% thinking this have no difficulties is quite a new concept for me.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Japan doesn't have an education system. Education implies teaching and raising a child to use their faculties, to be able to do independent thinking and to be able to socialize and adjust to a changing environment. The current system is a factory developed to produce drones who can work in an industrial society that is no longer relevant in the 21st century. There has to be a structural overhaul but it won't come from the old Showa geezers in power. The lack of vision, indecisiveness, and poor leadership in the government during this pandemic is the product of the education system. If one believes in the democratic process, then the first thing to do is to make this an issue, and to keep pushing it, and to vote for the party, not individual who will endeavor to make these changes. If there's no investment in the future, there won't be a future. For Japan, the clock is ticking, but apparently not loud enough.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

It is not always easy to raise children, and that makes good memories.

It just shall not be through forced impoverishment and cultural stress.

Japan is so about the shikata ga nai while I am all for where is a way there is a will.

Don't be materialistic and enjoy life in the simpliest way.

My best memories as a child were when wit h friend I played in the wild or soccer in a park during two months of summer holidays each year without touching any school book. Does not make you smarter or dumber because in fact you are what you are.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The government plans to mention the results of the survey, conducted between last October and January, in an annual white paper on measures against Japan's declining birthrate that is expected to be endorsed by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in June.

The Cabinet Office conducts an international survey on the declining birthrate every five years.

And what exactly do they do with this information? Throw it in the bin? The problems are clear to all but the most myopic and deluded, yet barely anything ever gets done about it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Too many rules and regulations preventing parents and children to be as parents and children, can't even fart without someone giving you a strange look, kids can NO LONGER be kids based on my experience!!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Raising children is hard in most places each having their own problems.

I will agree cost of schooling, the crazy pressure in both parents and children, the insane fact Sr high school isn't free or guaranteed to all, etc...we all pretty much know the rest.

But one thing I never really had to worry about especially as a single father of a girl, was violence, dangers after dark, etc... Sure bullying on school was a concern buy when I compare to my siblings back home and their children bullying was also a problem on top of seriously poor education because so much time is waste in "social" stuff like stopping class to "talk about" one kid feeling upset, etc... My children knew more about math, reading, writing in Japanese elementary school than my nieces and nephew knee in Jr high.

But again the biggest difference was safety, while we live in what would be a lower income area in what was considered quite a tough neighbourhood, I never really worried. But back home despite it being a very safe country in general, if my nieces were out late or after dark, late getting home, etc.. my siblings would immediately start to get worried, no go zones are a fact back home since I was a child and by no means does Japan have no go zones on the same levels.

Again despite being a very safe country, even adult women prefer to avoid the subways at night, the idea a Jr high girl would do so is something most parents try and avoid. But not in Japan.

So honestly I don't know which is better the free schools and low cost of many western countries but that also comes with the authorities in your face at the slightest thing.

Or the overbearing school system and the costs, but the government generally staying out of your business and how you raise your children.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Let all Japanese watch Little House on the Prairie (TV series) from series 1 once again!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Laguna & @Oxycodin I agree with you. Raising kids in a smaller city in Kyushu was great: BBQs, birthday parties, sleep overs, backyard tenting, camping trips, beach days, clam digging, festivals, community events, good schools, bike trips, hiking, Sunday trips, onsen trips, summer pools, community sports day, obon dance, neighbours having a drink or going to a restaurant, bowling, school festivals, 7-5-3, snow forts, playing in the parks, somen nagashi, hanami, recitals, fireworks, ice skating, train trips, trips to the zoo, an annual family trip, eating at the neighbours. It was fantastic! There were a couple of "mystery families" in the neighbourhood who never participated in any community events but it is a great place to raise kids. If you are struggling to raise your kids in Tokyo, it is your choice.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Too many rules and regulations preventing parents and children to be as parents and children, can't even fart without someone giving you a strange look, kids can NO LONGER be kids based on my experience!!

If you think Japan has too many rules and regulations, you should look and see what western society has become.

I have ADHD, it runs in the family my uncle has it as does my niece.

When she was given medication for it she did not like the side effects and her mother and father agreed so she stopped.

Then child services were called by the school and they were threatened with child neglect for not making her (AKA forcing her) to take them.

So she was forced to be medicated. Then later on a hospital visit for the flew again child services were called and my sister and her husband were investigated again for child neglect because my niece was severely underweight as this was one of the side effects of the ADHD meds, even after everything was explained and supposedly cleared up my sister and husband had to regularly deal with " child welfare" checks until my niece turn 18. These types of thing are not uncommon and increasing in most western countries where the authorities can tell parents how they can raise their children to the point of even telling them what they need to believe and think.

So here the school expect conformity back home it is the society that rules that expects conformity.

Here if a child doesn't conform then further education becomes difficult.

Back home the consequences are far worse, with removal of the children by the state, charges brought against the parents, and it is a system of guilty until proven innocent the opposite to the rest of the legal system.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I should add, that it seems like people who are complaining want somebody else to raise their kids.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

After living in Japan and trying to be a parent in Japan, I can understand why so many feel it is difficult to have and raise children in Japan. The biggest issue is the work culture. Not just the long hours, but the incredible difficulty in taking time off for family related incidents. You can't really take sick days and while the government does mandate leave for child related purposes such as child being sick, it is still seldom used because of workplace repercussions. When you have to decide between career, salary, and having to take care of your children, it can be very difficult. Taking a sick day for a child makes your work place view you in a bad way.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

I guess I got lucky. My kids' schools were a short walk from the house, the teachers were hard-working and understanding,etc...

I will be honest, it was not easy raising 2 Children as a simple Gaijin father in Japan.

My daughter has ASD (high functioning autistic) and the system is not set up to deal with that, my son had no problems plenty of friends very comfortable in everything.

Both graduated university one with her master's in AI, yes cost a fortune but having both ASD and ADHD and knowing what it would have been like back home for my daughter I doubt it would have been any better, forced medicated mandatory "therapy" often during school hours so that everyone knows that the child is going to therapy, etc...

Now I constantly hear how it is for the good if the child.

Well as one that went through it I disagree because all it does is make that child stand out more than they already do.

These things should be the private business of the family and not the business of every teacher, school officials and basically the whole student body.

My niece has to "discuss" her ADHD in class every year despite not wanting to, this is done under the "to create a better understanding" system.

Again as I see it each system has its problems it depends on which one the parents prefer.

A school system that demands conformity or a government oversight that dictates how you can raise your children in your private lives.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Life in Japan is difficult in general, not just gaving children. Everything is complicated.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

@Goodlucktoyou

Nothing against children, but they could quite possibly grow up to be politicians.

Best comment ever.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And JGov cant figure out why people dont want children in Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

AntiquesavingToday  09:01 am JST

Raising children is hard in most places each having their own problems.

I will agree cost of schooling, the crazy pressure in both parents and children, the insane fact Sr high school isn't free or guaranteed to all, etc...we all pretty much know the rest.

But one thing I never really had to worry about especially as a single father of a girl, was violence, dangers after dark, etc... Sure bullying on school was a concern buy when I compare to my siblings back home and their children bullying was also a problem on top of seriously poor education because so much time is waste in "social" stuff like stopping class to "talk about" one kid feeling upset, etc... My children knew more about math, reading, writing in Japanese elementary school than my nieces and nephew knee in Jr high.

But again the biggest difference was safety, while we live in what would be a lower income area in what was considered quite a tough neighbourhood, I never really worried. But back home despite it being a very safe country in general, if my nieces were out late or after dark, late getting home, etc.. my siblings would immediately start to get worried, no go zones are a fact back home since I was a child and by no means does Japan have no go zones on the same levels.

Again despite being a very safe country, even adult women prefer to avoid the subways at night, the idea a Jr high girl would do so is something most parents try and avoid. But not in Japan.

Wow, this is completely the opposite experience and knowledge I have of Japan. One of the main reasons my Japanese wife and I chose to raise our children in NZ instead of Japan was because of the lack of safety, especially for little girls. You have teachers, police officers and govt officials frequently arrested for train molestation, upskirt photos and paedophilia. You have the sexualisation of girls in the media (including rape of young girls in manga). Not to mention the sexual assault of girls and women of public transport is of epidemic proportions and is far worse than you can find anywhere else in the world.

In Japan, the question to ask women is not have you ever been sexually assaulted, but how many times?

I could go on about the low-status women hold in Japan (ranked among the lowest in the world for women's political and workplace empowerment) I am dumbfounded that any parent in Japan can miss or overlook the dangers females face in Japan.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Child raising here does have it's challenges, We've raised 5 here. But it's far easier than many countries like India, those in Africa, etc. I think it's worth looking at all the benefits Japan offers rather than the negatives. Life is what you make it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

A quick look at birth rates and it is interesting.

Japan is 1.42 children per woman.

Canada is 1.5 children per woman.

The numbers are a bit higher for the USA, UK, France is 1.88, Germany 1.57.

One would think with all the support and free schools, that these places would be much higher than they are compared to Japan.

Canada and other western countries maintain their populations by immigration, and first generation immigrants tend to have far more children than the rest of the population and more often than not subsequent generations end up having far fewer children and generally end up at the same low levels.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And JGov cant figure out why people dont want children in Japan.

the J gov is not very much capable to figure out anything unless it’s part of the automatic pilot mode they only know. An automatic pilot mode that has been designed right after WW2.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I chose to raise our children in NZ

NZ, I do not want to be mean but comparing little NZ in its isolated world with North America and Europe is really not a good comparison.

I don't come from a great big USA or European city. But the greater metropolitan area of my city has about the same population as all of NZ and it is not even the biggest city.

Sure it was living out it some Small country side area in my home country it would be far safer than Tokyo or any major city.

But that is not always possible or practical.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

AntiquesavingToday  10:13 am JST

I chose to raise our children in NZ

NZ, I do not want to be mean but comparing little NZ in its isolated world with North America and Europe is really not a good comparison.

I don't come from a great big USA or European city. But the greater metropolitan area of my city has about the same population as all of NZ and it is not even the biggest city.

Sure it was living out it some Small country side area in my home country it would be far safer than Tokyo or any major city.

But that is not always possible or practical.

I'm not sure size matters all that much. It's how the society is set up, the attitudes of the public and government.

But, okay, you are concerned about comparing apples to apples. But, we could compare Auckland to Kawasaki (similar populations) and come up with the same conclusions as I have made.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Entrenched culture that will not change.

Beyond all the financial burden, lack of support and conformity, give the kids more vacations , separate bukatsu from schools. Had two months summer vacation in my country, without any school related activities. Simply freedom.

Here , everything is linked to the school even during the vacations . In addition, not all kids but many go to cram schools on evenings and weekends. No time for the kids and also the parents due to work .

And this put pressure on parents too.

40 years back, cram schools were much less. My wife went to a good university with only going to a juku for studying English. She told me she had no pressure, because her parents did not give her any pressure, but less kids were going to juku. The system has became much more competitive.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan is a tough place to raise kids. Fact

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@letsberealistic

Let's make a better comparison.

My children went to visit their cousins in Canada.

They were surprised to hear that their cousins knew several friends ( term friends used very loosely) that did drugs, I am not talking about pot which is legal in Canada I mean drugs the harder stuff.

My children pointed out that yes they knew friends that drank alcohol before the legal age but didn't know a single person that did drugs.

What was even more shocking to them was not only did their cousins know people that did drugs they knew people that died from drugs.

Now the thing that makes this stand out more is that my children were raised in a lower income shitamachi area with a pretty bad reputation in Tokyo and my sister in Canada lives in a fairly affluent upper middle class area.

I don't know much about NZ but 2 small islands that sit alone far from the rest of the world except Australia cannot be compared to Japan or any other western countries.

I have no doubt that NZ is much safe than Tokyo or most of Japan but I also have no doubt that NZ is even more safer than any other western country.

If I place NZ as a 1 (one) I would place Japan as a 2 or 3 and western Europe and Canada as a 5 or 6 with the USA a 9 going from safer to least safe.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

AntiquesavingToday  10:34 am JST

@letsberealistic

Let's make a better comparison.

My children went to visit their cousins in Canada.

They were surprised to hear that their cousins knew several friends ( term friends used very loosely) that did drugs, I am not talking about pot which is legal in Canada I mean drugs the harder stuff.

My children pointed out that yes they knew friends that drank alcohol before the legal age but didn't know a single person that did drugs.

What was even more shocking to them was not only did their cousins know people that did drugs they knew people that died from drugs.

Now the thing that makes this stand out more is that my children were raised in a lower income shitamachi area with a pretty bad reputation in Tokyo and my sister in Canada lives in a fairly affluent upper middle class area.

I don't know much about NZ but 2 small islands that sit alone far from the rest of the world except Australia cannot be compared to Japan or any other western countries.

I have no doubt that NZ is much safe than Tokyo or most of Japan but I also have no doubt that NZ is even more safer than any other western country.

If I place NZ as a 1 (one) I would place Japan as a 2 or 3 and western Europe and Canada as a 5 or 6 with the USA a 9 going from safer to least safe.

Sure, but now we are just cherry-picking arent' we? I mean, yes, Japan has fewer drugs than Canada, but that is hardly all that influential on the whole experience of child safety and the ease of child-rearing, does it?

I think you're right when comparing Japan with some of the more crime-ridden areas of the US, but otherwise, for raising female children safely I can't think of a worse industrialised nation than Japan, I really can't.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

AntiquesavingToday  10:34 am JST

@letsberealistic

Let's make a better comparison.

My children went to visit their cousins in Canada.

They were surprised to hear that their cousins knew several friends ( term friends used very loosely) that did drugs, I am not talking about pot which is legal in Canada I mean drugs the harder stuff.

My children pointed out that yes they knew friends that drank alcohol before the legal age but didn't know a single person that did drugs.

What was even more shocking to them was not only did their cousins know people that did drugs they knew people that died from drugs.

Now the thing that makes this stand out more is that my children were raised in a lower income shitamachi area with a pretty bad reputation in Tokyo and my sister in Canada lives in a fairly affluent upper middle class area.

I don't know much about NZ but 2 small islands that sit alone far from the rest of the world except Australia cannot be compared to Japan or any other western countries.

I have no doubt that NZ is much safe than Tokyo or most of Japan but I also have no doubt that NZ is even more safer than any other western country.

If I place NZ as a 1 (one) I would place Japan as a 2 or 3 and western Europe and Canada as a 5 or 6 with the USA a 9 going from safer to least safe.

Sure, but now we are just cherry-picking arent' we? I mean, yes, Japan has fewer drugs than Canada, but that is hardly all that influential on the whole experience of child safety and the ease of child-rearing, does it?

I think you're right when comparing Japan with some of the more crime-ridden areas of the US, but otherwise, for raising female children safely I can't think of a worse industrialised nation than Japan, I really can't.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I love my 4 kids. I have never considered it hard or difficult. Just asked my wife and she agrees. It can be a challenge. The secret is what my FIL told me after our 1st was born, "Make your decisions based on the outcome and consequences you can handle. Never on the emotion you are feeling at the moment."

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I have 3 kids here and the 2 troubling points for me are lack of sidewalks for kids to safely walk and the high cost of college with no student loan system.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Until Japanese people stand up to this, it will continue. However, Japanese people never stand up to anything.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

RecklessToday  10:59 am JST

I have 3 kids here and the 2 troubling points for me are lack of sidewalks for kids to safely walk and the high cost of college with no student loan system.

Yes, this. Whenever we go to Japan to visit the inlaws we worry a lot about taking the kids out in the street.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I think you're right when comparing Japan with some of the more crime-ridden areas of the US, but otherwise, for raising female children safely I can't think of a worse industrialised nation than Japan, I really can't.

Well we can agree on disagreeing.

To each their own view.

My sister in Canada goes from "it seems so much simpler for you in Japan" to " wow the rules and pressure you have in Japan is way to high" it depends on what we are talking about at the time.

She has multiple daughters and I don't know how she and her husband do it, the constant drama over everything, from new clothes because they cannot wear last year's fashion to school, to the constant social pressure from the different specialty interest groups all demanding their say in what is taught in class and everything that goes with it.

I complained once about all the silly sports festival, school festival waisted time in Japanese schools.

My sister came back with a list of mandatory projects and special events her children have.

From first Nation awareness week ( includes a student project), Black awareness week ( again a project), Transgender week, Pride week, Asian Canadian week, diversity week, family diversity week, I can't remember them all anymore, and each one has a student project that they have to discuss with their parent/parents.

Oh just remembered, disability awareness week.

Honestly if my children came home regularly with that many projects and asking to discuss them as a single father I would have lost it.

I had enough to do with working, cooking, cleaning helping with actual studies and other daily life events, that I didn't need to be told when and what conversations to have with my children, especially since there isn't anything to discuss because the decision as to how they and I must think and write down in their projects have already been told to then no descent is permitted.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Antiquesaving is doing a fine job in trying to bring some perspective, but for those talking about cost, the Child Poverty Action group in the UK says raising a child to 18 (i.e., before university) costs 75,000 GBP (11.5 million yen) for a couple or a 100,000 GBP (15.5 milion yen) for a single parent. That's a poverty action group, not a company trying to oversell you life insurance or some random idiot who thinks you need extravagances like five grand to decorate kids' bedrooms.

Rather than things being expensive in Japan, which only some things are (rice, for starters), the problem is that wages are low, especially women's wages.

In Japan, it is very easy to forget that parents in other countries face problems like drugs, booze, teenage pregnancies, obesity, and relentless commercial marketing aimed at children. You don't see many Japanese 10 year olds with branded clothes, makeup, and a dozen plus presents at Christmas. They are very common in the UK. Close to one in ten kids in the US is on antidepressants or some other meds. The number of children in Japan has halved in the past thirty years with no change in the number of places at good schools, so any parent who still piles on study pressure regardless of this is to blame for the child's misery. This is a parenting problem, not a structural one.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Firstly, who is going to answer "Yeah it's really easy raising kids" ? Secondly, they do not know what it is like to raise kids anywhere else. What a dumb survey.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

60% feel it is hard to raise children in Japan: gov't survey

Presumably the other 40% don't have children

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What’s ‘Your’ answer in China @SurivaniC 11:35am:

*- “To anyone complaining: "What am doing to make the situation that am complaining about better?"*

At 8:00am, You spoke of Your friends in Japan going abroad for education?

*- “I have friends in Japan (I live in China)...They said if the kids want to go to another country for education, they will let them. NZ, AUS, US, CN. They said it helps open their mind to get out of Japan, and study.*

Does the Chinese government afford that option to ALL citizens?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If life were more satifying for adults, they'd be more inclined to have children. As it is, other polls show that most Japanese do not feel fulfilled in their lives, and many question the wisdom of having kids in a country whose government values its citizens solely for their labor and productivity. Nobody wants to work on the Japan, Inc. plantation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Ashley Shiba,

I'm so happy to hear your son is thriving in Guam, and sorry to hear that he was bullied.

My granddaughter is starting school soon, and if she is bullied, I shall be going to the school to deal with the students, teachers and parents of children involved.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"the high cost of college with no student loan system" Public university education in Japan is cheaper than in other developed countries, other than in Scandinavia, and maybe Australia and New Zealand - 700,000 a year, plus housing, etc, less than twice that for the most expensive private schools. There are also need-based scholarships, need-based dormitory access, and educational loans are available directly to students - both my kids took them out, and, if paid off by graduation the lender waived the interest, saving each of them about the equivalent of a year's tuition.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What I don't understand about the Japanese govt is, if they so desperately need more children to bolster the population, why are they not spending much more on supporting parents as other nations are?!

Because they haven't figured out how to make it profitable for their "donor's" businesses.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Too many commenters here blindly assume that the reason raising kids is perceived as difficult is lack of government money and support and that the solution is as simple as more government money and support. It’s not.

A quick look at birth rates in other industrialized countries shows that this is true. Japan is not unique in facing a lack of children. It’s poor countries with fewer resources that are having more children. Many wealthy countries are only avoiding Japan’s population free-fall by importing people from poorer countries where more kids are the norm. No amount of government money thrown as this problem is going to solve it because it’s not a money problem.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have 3 kids here. I would say it is not financially difficult. Nursery, kindergarten, and public education are subsidized and basically free. For elementary it is around 6000 yen a month (including lunch). The government gives us 420,000 yen a year in "child allowance." Giving birth is also basically free as the government pays around 400,000 yen. You also stay in the hospital for a week and don't get kicked out the day after having the baby.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If life were more satifying for adults, they'd be more inclined to have children.

Actually most evidence points to the opposite.

Look at every developed country.

Life in these countries are paradise compared to under developed countries but birth rates are low in developed countries and high in underdeveloped countries.

First generation immigrants in western countries tend to have far more children despite having less money and in general being far worse off than non immigrants and by the second generation are having fewer children and usually the first generation raised in the developed country are having the same number of children as the non immigrants.

Basically they are comfortable living good lives, have jobs, government aid, healthcare, even government pensions, so the need to have a lot of children so:

a-) some survive beyond the first few years isn't needed.

b-) to have enough children to help support them once they are old is no longer a factor

c-) have enough children to work the home farm or business is no longer a factor.

I have 2 children as does my brother that was enough for us anymore meant more cost, more food more everything, this was a comfortable number.

My sister married an immigrant his thinking was many children, they had 4 and as much as they love their children, they admit had they really thought it through 4 was a lot, and this in a country where medical is free, education up to university is free and university is under ¥300,000 a year and has bursaries and loans to help pay that small amount.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is even more difficult in countries where the culture and political system is not fully representative or supportive of Nihon-jin.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Two things. Kids can’t be kids in Japan ( too many strict rules ) and the “I’m better than you” culture ( if you don’t wanna be “left behind” (the end of the world for some Japanese), you have to pay for it ). Japanese are obsessed with being “successful“ ( whatever that means ), and being respected.

We see ourselves in our sons and daughters so we want them to be the best ... but(!) the most important thing is making sure they’re happy. Unfortunately, I think it’s safe to assume that their children s happiness is not the number one priority for many Japanese parents.

Changes need to start “from the top”. Younger politicians, younger CEO,s, younger teachers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Kyodo really felt the need to insert this:

 the most common answer among people in Japan was that they felt "safe" in their communities.

Yeah yeah, we know Japan is safe. But what are the reasons for the difficulty? No mention of those.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My kids walk safely to and from school, (no school runs like in the uk)

My son plays in the local park everyday

My kids can be left alone for a couple of h

ours there aren't any fussy government regulations

Schools are free and private schools don't break the bank

University fees are a fraction of the US

Kids medical fees are heavily Subsidized

Mother's get up to three years off work in many companies

and kids don't feel pressure to grow up quickly, children are given a long time to be children.

Yes, some kids study excessively at cram school but overseas too, you have kids who do the same.

I am more than happy bringing my kids up here.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@carpslidy

Yes pretty much how things were for my children in Japan.

While my nieces in Canada were acting like grownups with the lastest fashions and makeup in jr and Sr high my daughter was going around still being a child with her biggest worry is what silly things she had hanging on her school bag.

I would have been happier if Sr high school was compulsory/guaranteed and free.

and kids don't feel pressure to grow up quickly, children are given a long time to be children.

That is for sure! Now adults I am still waiting for them to stop some of their childish stuff but it seems from my 30 plus years here that happens only once they move out ( something I both look forward to and fear equally having been mostly a single father as much as some days I want them out I will miss them equally).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Of the 40% of people who think raising kids is easy......in Japan or any other country, do they even have kids? I’m guessing, not.

and no, I’m not including dead beat fathers. They definitely voted for child care being easy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Parents make it difficult for themselves. No elementry child needs cram school, piano, sports, more cram school. Etc. let the kids be kids!

Good luck changing that mindset. It’s ingrained, that will never change, sadly

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Coming from Central Europe, I am living in Japan with my Japanese wife since more than 40 years. We have two daughters and there were never any complaints from both of them. As young adults they tried it out abroad, one going to Russia and France, the other one to USA and Canada - and after a few years both came back and still up to today they find Japan the easier way for living. Both are now married with Japanese men and have children and again there are no complaints.

In big Japanese cities, due to high costs for housing, regardless if loan or rent, space is narrow, young couples cannot afford a spacious home, but otherwise?

Abou myself, after retirement we moved away from crowded Central Tokyo to the outskirts of Okayama, and really this is a big difference in quality of life, a lot of open space with greenery, hills and rivers and housing more than 4 times cheaper to buy than in Tokyo.

Most foreigners complaining about Japanese schools, children upbringing etc. are likely living in the large crowded cities and have job and housing problems and think it's the same everywhere in all Japan, but this is not the case.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

> SurivanihCToday  08:00 am JST

It is easy to have kids in Japan...what is everyone crying about? Get a good job that pays well and there are no problems. No one said raising kids is easy, and it should not be free. Why does a tax payer have to support YOUR kids? Smh.

It's easy for YOU maybe! It's not crying, it's standing up for a better country and demanding our elected officials do the job they are paid to do - make this nation better for everyone (not just those who can get a high paying job).

It's called living in a society. We do it so we can support each other so everyone has the same opportunities and lifestyle (ideally). It's not the wildest free-for-all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This survey is old news basically. Will Japan change, IDK but hopefully. Every country has issues though keep that in mind. Japan definitely needs more births to be able to survive long term. My wife and I have a 7yr old boy, he is in second grade, has friends and does various activities throughout the week from piano, art, tennis, English school, and Shichida. He's doing well overall and we are not overwhelmed or exhausted and we both work. We live just outside Nagoya city, maybe 25min. Life here seems pretty comfortable, we moved here from US two years ago and my son's school and healthcare costs and those important expenses are mostly covered by the government until he is a teen I believe, so not complaining. I think if people ventured out of central Tokyo they would see there are plenty of places in Japan to have a very comfortable life. Sometimes I wonder if these surveys are gathering info from people just living in the most expensive and competitive and congested areas of the country, seems kind of a setup for bad results but in reality as I said, plenty of happy kids and parents living in many other areas of Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Are we competing each other? Which country ticks every best in the list? We judge and we complain but in the end, it's up to every individual, to each their own.

Yes, raising children is difficult but also depends upon quality of your life, how you handle and what you expect and do.

You sure want to argue the system isn't good in Japan whereas in some European countries and NZ, it's better but still it depends upon how the children grew on their way of life.

It's not just about the system. One big plus point about Japan is wherever you are, you have extra better things you can feel good about it. Like all year festivals, window shoppings on exciting open markets/eateries, game centres, cute events etc. (These things either don't happen or really boring in those countries).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Stop taxing food. That would be a good start.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I read all the posts. as expected, usual regular complainers complain whatever it is. Financial supports from central/regional government have been improving a lot for the couple/single parent(s) with kids. That is the fact. You aren't kids and in the position to chose your life and move to whichever you like. Japan or your home country.

Kids, without prejudice, trying to fit the circumstances. You are the ones who keep whining. Make your choice.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Someone at my workplace had to quit a few weeks ago as her young child was starting school. You'd think, with a child at school, you'd have more time to get other things done. But not here - the opposite happens. Why is the school system here determined to make both teachers and parents as busy as hell?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Gosh expat, well done for getting your kids into cheap public Japanese universities! Don't know about them, but most children have to go through years of cram school, starting when they are about nine years old to get into them. Without this support it is practically impossible. Parents pay millions to the cram schools to give their children this chance, even if the children are super smart.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about ending the gift tax and inheritance tax.

So many of my Japanese friends end up living in tiny little house because when their parents pass away they cannot afford to remain in the house their part owned and paid for, the home where they lived with their parents and children.

The 2 or 3 generation homes are getting fewer and fewer because each time the person owning it passes away the government taxes it to the point people have no choice but to cut the land up sell part to pay the taxes and build smaller and smaller each generation.

Then we have gift tax, parents vwant to pay or help out their adult children and grandchildren, nope can't have that, the government has to get a cut of that.

If my family wanted to send money to help out with living, schooling this becomes taxable.

I had myself cut from my parents will because the Japanese government would take half, so now nothing.

Imagine if my parents could leave a nice hunk of change so their grandchildren could have a more comfortable start as they get married and have children.

Imagine if I could just leave my house to my children so they would have a nice property and house Without going into debt at the time they need money to raise children.

Regardless of where you live raising children costs and if you cannot afford to pay you have fewer children.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Pukey2

As a single father and having my children in public school, I basically told the school, the PTA, etc.. to shove it.

I had no time for their silliness.

My present wife is from a single parent home, her mother raised 3 on her own public school all the way and also told the school, the PTA, teachers to shove it, she had no time for their silliness, she had to work, pay bills, cook, clean, etc...

The problem is most will not do that and bullying within parents is over the top.

Not being a Gaijin I have no problem confronting these bullies publicly and thoroughly humiliating them.

Interesting to watch as so many that wanted out suddenly found the courage after I took the bully mothers down.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm not an expert on tax laws in Japan but from what I can find the 50% rate is on Estates more than 600 million yen which is like 6 million USD. It similar in the US at like 40% over 5 million per individual. You took your name off the will of your parents because you didn't want to pay inheritance tax, am I missing something? When my parents passed years ago I had to pay taxes on all that we received, seems pretty common practice in any country, what's the issue?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How about ending the gift tax and inheritance tax.

This will only benefit those lucky enough to have chosen their parents correctly. Why should they enjoy a windfall that others aren’t able to through zero fault of their own?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This will only benefit those lucky enough to have chosen their parents correctly. Why should they enjoy a windfall that others aren’t able to through zero fault of their own?

Is that what you think?

Here is The reality.

The rich have far more ways to avoid taxes especially gift and inheritance.

It is the small guy that gets hit the hardest.

Simply looking at the homes in the rich areas of Tokyo tells you that, somehow those large houses and land just goes on down the line generation after generation.

Now go into the less affluent area take a look around tiny lots tiny house, go to the area cultural center and take a look at past photos of the area and see what the lots once looked like.

My place is one of 5 tiny 3 floor house, built on what was one families property, not rich working class but they had to break up the land to be able to pay the taxes and kept one tiny piece for themselves.

Which in the end they still had to sell.

And why shouldn't the families get the money, someone worked al their lives, paid their taxes, raised their children, it is their money if they want to pay for their family why not, because others are jealous?

Sounds like sour grapes, " I can't have it so why should they" attitude.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The question is, how many of those 60% are setting aside significant portions of their budget to hosts and hostesses.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do you think it’s a coincidence that the same number (66%) of workers are on short term or part time work contracts?

This is not difficult to believe when you add that 25% of Japanese kids are living in poverty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah. A litany of remarks decrying the 'state of Japan' and the lack of progeny - with personal or anecdotal accounts as if akin to an anthropological or sociological study denuded of economics. Same for the less than determinant survey that tips the article into a gross assumption with suppose valid comparisons to Sweden, France and Germany.

Population differences: Sweden has a population of ten million. France 67 million. Germany 83 million. Japan 127 million.

Income disparity: Sweden and Germany household income is approximately 60,000 USD. France 52,000USD. Japan 45,000USD.

Level of education: To take a particular example: The USA: 30% are college graduates, which includes the College of Hair Design, Trump University, the online Phoenix University and the like. Actual graduation from a four year college hovers between 20% to 25%.

Japan: almost 50% are college graduates. Japan is number two, Canada number one, but only has an adult population of less than 25 million. Japan has four times that number.

As for the comparison countries. College graduates: France 32%. Germany: 27%. Sweden: 39%.

All these factor into childrearing. Basically: money & education & childcare.

Childcare: essentially that is a holding tank for working parents, the measure of which is difficult to quantify except for availability which is simply a population measure. Solutions are evolving in Japan, And in the countries listed, there is a reduction & decline in social services, which include childcare.

Schooling. Best public schools in the world are in Finland, which is a very small northern European country, where drinking is endemic. Japan is number four on the list.

Perhaps, it is a good sign that breeding is reduced in Japan. Less people. Healthier for the environs from the artificial to the natural.

There is the continually assertion that a growing population is needed to fund pensions/retirement - which is a fallacy. Japan has a fiat currency and it can print money as needed and distribute the cash thru the mechanism of the central bank.

One other odious assertion criticizing the demographic of 'de-population' is a reduction in the number of convenience store employees, given as reason to import workers from less than affluent countries. Which is contrary to the less people need less bags of potato chips from the local convenience store which means less need for those employees. Less people means less consumption of resources and less need for such. It balances out. Japan, a rather extraordinary country will be more so in the future. It also has some of the most innovative childcare, look to Kyushu and the interior population which are forging a combination of the contemporary and the traditional. As for expats and Japanese yuppies, figure it out.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It is hard to raise children in any part of the world !!..

Do not complicate your life, better adopt a dog / cat..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Richard Gallagher

Sir I very rarely agree with you but your comment is extremely well put, well backed and quite precise.

I will add that I have always taken the view if a big country lake Canada and Australia can function with such small populations, a tiny country like Japan can easily be prosperous with a 60 million population especially with the advances in automation, technology, etc ...

One small thing to add is the amount of savings in Japan.

Unlike many western countries that live on credit, the Japanese as individuals are not big on credit cards generally pay off the total each month or in 2 payments.

The only debt most Japanese view as acceptable is a mortgage.

The average family has between 5 and 8 million yen sitting in the bank doing nothing. (This is the Jgov's own stats and one reason why they keep coming up with crazy schemes to try and get people to spend it)

The average American has over $5,000 in credit card debt, the average Canadian over $4,000 the average Japanese is just under $ 2,000 ( using US $ as common currency for comparison).

I was also surprised to find the with the exception of Norway the other North countries are also much higher than Japan is all forms of personal debt including credit card.

Seems that the more"comfortable lifestyle these other countries have is based on high debt to maintain it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is so much pressure on parents and children alike once they enter school to cram, cram so they can pass the entrance tests to get into these elite private junior high schools. The schools rush through the curriculum, and so, the children are not learning they are just memorizing like little robots and again stress on the parents and the children and where parents are spending so much money on jukus.

I hear you and most people loud and clear. I’m letting my kids be kids. I only send them to Juku if they need it and not make it permanent. Kids need to be kids and I try to spend as much time with them and my wife as possible. I’m a teacher and I like my school. However, even though some of the students come from well to do families, most of the time, the fathers work as doctors or for Japan Inc. The last thing I want is to sing “I owe. I owe. It’s off to work I go.” My salary is not the greatest, but I learned from my parents to be there for your kids, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Some of the Japanese moms telling me they are envious of me for that. I tell them this is what I do and I love the and my wife.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So many of my Japanese friends end up living in tiny little house because when their parents pass away they cannot afford to remain in the house their part owned and paid for, the home where they lived with their parents and children.

Sorry.  You or your friends must be making some errors. As far as it is ordinary size of residential property( I mean, by Japanese standard, somewhere up to around 150 million yen value ), reasonable tax deduction and tax shelters are available, especially when you lived with the parents in the house together, meaning, if it is really their and your home to live daily lives. Tax would be almost none.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Probably a lot easier in some regards, to a certain point.

My old friends and neighbors in Japan pay like $200 bucks a month for the town daycare. They were FLOORED when I told them I pay $1,300/month for 4 days/week for my kid's daycare here in the US.

That being said, once the kids get to be of school age and they enter the robot factory that is the Japanese school system, not so much.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And why shouldn't the families get the money, someone worked al their lives, paid their taxes, raised their children, it is their money if they want to pay for their family why not, because others are jealous?

No, nothing to do with jealousy. Yes, someone did work for the assets and paid taxes, but knot those who inherit the assets.

Sounds like sour grapes, " I can't have it so why should they" attitude.

Even after my inheritance has been taxed, I’ll enjoy a not insignificant windfall that I did zero to earn, so your analysis is inaccurate.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That being said, once the kids get to be of school age and they enter the robot factory that is the Japanese school system, not so much.

Well listening to what was being done in my nieces and nephew's schools today, I don't see much difference just different kind of robot factory.

The everyone is special, everyone is a winner, the think like we tell you to if not the above everyone is special/winner doesn't apply because the child does not follow the mandatory thinking.

Best example is when my sister was called to the school because there was a " Problem" with her daughter.

The problem turned out that my niece didn't want to be "friends" with another girl no bullying nothing like that, just she was not interested and that was not acceptable " you must accept everon" mandated friendship is what my sister calls it.

So really is there any difference.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Having children with a Japanese person is difficult. She wants so many things to be perfect and makes do many home rules, it's ridiculous. It's all self inflicted from what I can tell.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I have 3 kids here. I would say it is not financially difficult. Nursery, kindergarten, and public education are subsidized and basically free. For elementary it is around 6000 yen a month (including lunch). The government gives us 420,000 yen a year in "child allowance." Giving birth is also basically free as the government pays around 400,000 yen. You also stay in the hospital for a week and don't get kicked out the day after having the baby.

I was going to come here and say the same exact thing. Also compared to the U.S., taking out a family of 5 to dinner can be cheaper here for regular family restaurants as there is no tipping which can make a big difference.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

have 3 kids here. I would say it is not financially difficult. Nursery, kindergarten, and public education are subsidized and basically free. For elementary it is around 6000 yen a month (including lunch). 

Wait until high school and beyond.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nursery, kindergarten, and public education are subsidized and basically free. For elementary it is around 6000 yen a month (including lunch). The government gives us 420,000 yen a year in "child allowance." Giving birth is also basically free as the government pays around 400,000 yen. You also stay in the hospital for a week and don't get kicked out the day after having the baby.

Partially true.

If public childcare is not an option (and there is no guarantee of a place for your child), the only other option is private, and that certainly isn't free. Either that or one of the parents stays at home with the child.

Child allowance does not cover all the expenses involved in raising a child, not by a long stretch. Giving birth is NOT free as a week in hospital will cost you a damn sight more than 400,000 yen if you want to take your wife to a reputable healthcare provider. Oh, and if your wife has a difficult pregnancy, you'll promptly be told to Foxtrot Oscar since private clinics do not want to know, then it's off to the university hospital for you with all the associated fees.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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