Japan's secret economic weapon: women

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  • -4

    gaijinfo

    Although for some women, staying at home is a positive choice they have made

    Some? This article makes it sound like there in the minority. You can't just go out and hire a bunch of women and think that will fix everything. They've got to want jobs. They've got to train for jobs. They've got to be skilled in jobs.

    And the whole "60% of what men earn" is a statistical falsehood. All things being equal, same years of education, same KIND of education, same years of experience, women DON'T earn less than men.

    But comparing a woman with a bachelor's degree in education, who is a teacher, and has five years of experience, and then comparing a man, who has a degree in engineering, and is an engineer, and has five years experience, isn't comparing apples to apples.

    It's much more complicated than saying "look, lots of women are unemployed! Just hire a bunch of them and everything will be fine!"

  • 9

    kimuzukashiiiii

    I agree with this article...

    There are SO many women who are doctors, lawyers, dentists, professionals, who marry and leave their job, only to become a housewife. Especially when they dont have children, it seems a massive waste.

    Im going to stick my neck out there, and say that I do think some of these women are just being old fashioned / traditional / lazy (depending on the view you take) and have strived to be housewives since being a child, but If we could encourage some of these women back into the workplace it would give the economy a huge boost.

    HOWEVER this can ONLY work if the government prioritizes childcare and hoikuen spaces .. like 10 years ago.

  • 10

    HonestDictator

    @NeverSubmit that may have been the past but whatever happened to the fact that a child has both a mother and a father. Both parent's have to share the same responsibilities that lie in raising the children they created. Should one of them become sick or die then the other should be able to maintain the support of the family and continue to raise their offspring. Its better for a woman that loses her husband to be able to continue working at her professional job instead of trying to start from scratch after being out of work for who knows how many years trying to be the housewife and ending up with a situation of doing a low-wage job that barely provides and leading her and her children into an even worse situation financially and emotionally.

    My ex-gf's parents both had jobs and 3 children. The mother was a university instructor and the father also had a professional job he was soon to retire from. Between the both of them, they had a nice income of about 80k USD a year and were able to support all 3 children with no problems.

  • -2

    cleo

    Yamaguchi gave birth to a baby girl in 2009 and came back to a promotion after a 15-month maternity leave. She said her productivity has not fallen despite the fact she is now working six-hour days.

    “In this company, working women are well protected,” she said.

    Good for her, her promotion and her productivity.

    Pity about the kid being stuck with child-minders.

    I'm with NeverSubmit on the subject of life insurance, the relative worth of cash vs love and attention, families spending time together and eating home-cooked meals. Anyone can balance the corporate books. Mum has a more important job to do.

  • 4

    jessebaybay

    Why has our society become so focused and geared to financial results and GDP figures. It's the intangible things like families spending time together and eating home cooked meals that really matter in life, not corporate balance sheets.

    Understandable and I agree, but spending time with your family doesn't put food on the table. I think women SHOULD be part of the workforce 100%. Even if they take 3-4 years off when they have a kid, the kid doesn't need to be overly 'mothered' they should go back to the workforce once the child is old enough.

  • 5

    kimuzukashiiiii

    I think most people would agree with the benefits of a baby, toddler or child being with its mother full time when it is a baby, Cleo and neversubmit, however what about when the child is going to Yochien at age 3-4, and then elementary school? Middle school? High school?

    At that time the mother is just sitting at home doing nothing. There is no reason why she can not work.

    Anyone can balance the corporate books, and I also believe that any woman (or man) can also work a part time when her child is at school, come home, and still have time to clean the house, make home cooked meals, AND have quality time with her family.

  • 1

    cleo

    kimuzukasii - I agree. Once the child is 'off her hands' (to borrow a rather cold-sounding phrase), there's no reason for Mum to sit around watching daytime TV and waiting for Junior to come home. Still, yochien and elementary school tend to end very early in the afternoon, not leaving much time to get more than a very part-time, local job. For many, the hassle is probably more than the money is worth. Most of the mums I know went back to work when the youngest child entered junior high, which means a break of some 12 plus years - a far cry from Ms Yamaguchi's rush back into harness after a mere 15 months, leaving the care of an infant still in nappies and barely toddling to someone else who most likely doesn't have her education and intellectual sophistication to impart to the kiddy.

    The article complains about women's earning being typically 60% that of men 'due to a larger number of part-time workers', the suggestion being that mothers should be working full-time regardless - well, mothers of toddlers do work full-time, in fact they work around the clock. Let's drop all this 'only' a housewife rubbish - it's the kind of pressure that makes women feel guilty about taking the time to raise their babies properly. Making and giving birth to a baby is a huge responsibility, and needs to take centre-stage in that woman's life. It's not like buying a car that you can dump in the garage or even park by the side of the road when you're not using it.

  • 22

    zichi

    Listening to NHK radio this week, a clothing company (missed the name) introduced a 6 hour working day (9am-3pm) without any pay reduction (8 hours pay). The company discovered, the production rate went up, sick days went down. The overheads also went down since the office now finishes at 3pm instead of 8pm. The company has a turn over of $350 million so not a small one.

    There are workers who could work from home, at least two thirds of the time.

    Japanese industry needs to look at the way it works and outdated practices.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Although in the short term, on the quarterly corporate balance sheet it may look good to have women working 14 hours a day in the company grinder, society and humanity as a whole benefit more if mother's focus their time and attention on children.

    Consider this, many if not most stay at home mothers and sometimes fathers too, don't watch or raise their kids at home, even though they don't work, they put them in day care anyway.

  • 2

    kimuzukashiiiii

    Agree cleo - and also the demands placed on mothers (working or not) by yochiens and elementary schools is quite crazy. It makes working difficult, because the mother would constantly be having to take time off for this club, or that event.

    The woman in the article who went back to work when her child was 15 months - I don't think we can judge anything about her from this article.

    It doesn't tell us anything about her, for example, is she a single mother, a widow, or married? Is her family around her to help with hoikuen and general childcare? I mean, maybe she really needed that promotion to be able to survive and raise her child. Who knows? Sloppy journalism at best...

  • 1

    WilliB

    If society wants to utilize women as a workforce, it has to provide tax-supported childcare facilities for the little ones. If it expects women to be a full-time workforce and at the same time raise small children, they will opt to get a chihuahua instead of a baby. Oops, that is precisely what is happening in Japan.

  • 1

    warispeace

    Great idea! This will lead to a further decline in the population, an increase in latchkey children and more divorces. Why was it in the past a family could survive with one working parent? This could be the result of class warfare and the giant wealth shift taking place as we watch income gaps increase around the world.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    There's already a shortage of available jobs and by adding more people into the pool of potential candidates it'll only get worse for University grads.

    Actually no there is no shortage of jobs for people willing to work. The problem is that the jobs people WANT are not available. Plus Japanese companies usually do not hire for needed positions but general and then decide after hiring where to place them.

  • 1

    Johannes Weber

    There's another aspect, which the article neglects: field of expertise. The typical fields of expertise which generate new paths of substantial growth in industrialised countries are engineering and science. In these fields, the typical quota of female students are significantly lower than those of male students (e.g. physics in many universities has typical female quotas of some 20% - after subtracting asipiring teachers, the quota drops to some 15% - going to phd level, the quota drops to less than 10% in many fields of research). Those women who walk this way till the end do perfectly fine (with rare exceptions to the rule). There is a clear lack of women trying to enter these fields. With less masters or phds, lower-ranking positions and less pay is a natural consequence.

    Thus, hiring more women will not necessarily create an influx of large numbers of skilled workers and thinkers. Young women also have to enter these traditionally "male" fields in greater numbers to put their own mark on society. A change of hiring procedures (like gender neutral contracts which change the special treatment of women due to "maternity" to an (optional) general treatment of "parenthood") or a general gender quota on corporate boards are only one half of the solution. And they are the easier part, because they can be enforced by laws. Changing the mindset of people - their willingness to tackle hard challenges, swimming upstream for many years, overcoming gender-related prejudices (e.g. women are better with people and men are better with science, both of which is nonsense) - cannot be done by law. This is the hard part of the problem.

    And a high level of education might even help securing a job where both parents have the option of working at home on some days of the week. Not to mention that their postions more often than not are far more flexible concerning working hours. A father can take care of a child just as well as a mother. And will do so quite often, if the mother earns substantially more. Which is far more probable with a scientific or technical degree.

  • 3

    Tamarama

    I certainly believe that women, should they want to once their kids are regularly attending school, be allowed to re-enter the workforce. But Japan's corportate culture would need to change to accomodate that too in the respect that; 1, It's OK to do so, and 2. Provisions are made for mothers (and in fact all workers) to head home come 4 or 5 o'clock so they can be with the kids after they finish school/clubs/Juku etc.

    But there is also the fact that many Japanese women simply don't want to work. I have a good mate living in Australia who is married to a Japanese woman, and whilst she is currently working, she is desperate to quit and just 'be a housewife'. She seems to think that is her right and is a fair a reasonable thing to do. No probs that hubby heads off to work each morning, just as long as she can 'enjoy her life'. And they don't even have kids yet. So whenever we catch up with them she has the temerity to complain bitterly and at length about how hard her job is (she has a menial and cushy civil service gig) whilst her husband, who truly does have a really tough job, has to sit there and grit his teeth.

  • 3

    cleo

    Consider this, many if not most stay at home mothers and sometimes fathers too, don't watch or raise their kids at home, even though they don't work, they put them in day care anyway.

    I'm calling you out on that one. many of not most??? Simply not true.

    http://www.ndl.go.jp/jp/data/publication/issue/0490.pdf

    As of 2001, 58.1% of children of pre-school age were cared for by one or other parent; 10.6% by a grandparent; 25.9% were in day care, and 20.8% went to kindergarten.

    It's a very, very far cry to assume that a majority of the 25.9% in day care have stay-at-home parents, especially considering the waiting lists and points system for getting into day care. Be at home and not ill/disabled, and you have no chance of getting a place.

    This is precisely one problem mothers who want to return to work after raising a baby have; if they have no job, they cannot get the child into daycare; and unless the child is in daycare, they cannot get a job.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    You are giving data from 2005 and calling that accurate for today? I only know from what I have been told by both public and private day care providers. Public providers can only, usually, accept children if one or the other parent is working.

    Private providers are a different story and from what I have been led to believe is that NOW, in 2012, many if not most, is the rule and not the exception.

  • 4

    zurcronium

    Fact is women in this country are better educated than men, not a recent trend and the gap between the sexes is widening as of late. But yet they are paid less. Sexism is built into the system and women know this. That is why many who may want to work opt out.

    For those women who do want to stay home, maybe they cannot handle a job, that is their choice. But you can see in them two things, an obsession with their kids (the dreaded helicopter mom that teachers complain about constantly) and also that that are being sadly underutilized. Kids in daycare are healthier, especially at lower income levels where there is not a lot to offer the kids at home to help them learn and grow. These are facts, not personal mumbo-jumbo myth making about the June Cleaver 1950s mom as I can see above. There is nothing magical about stay-at-home moms and the kids they rear. If stay-at-home moms really cared about their kids they would work so Dad could spend some time with the kids. Average time for Dads to interact with their kids, 15 minutes a day. So Moms hover and Dads are absent, not a recipe for healthy results. Would be better if Moms worked, therefore letting Dad work less, for the kids.

    If the thrust of this article is correct then stay-at-home moms in the long run are diminishing the economic future of Japan. This will be the world their kids live in, no jobs, no hope, no future. Perhaps stay-at-home moms could be taxed to make up for their negative impact on the economy. A fund could be set up to help women work and make a better Japan for their kids.

    Japan needs to change in many ways, the stay-at-home mom myth needs to go the way of the wood burning stove of the country to improve.

  • 1

    cleo

    Private providers are a different story and from what I have been led to believe is that NOW, in 2012, many if not most, is the rule and not the exception.

    Private certified day cares follow the same rules as the public day cares. If by 'private providers' you mean the places that are refused official certification, then they will accept the children of parents who do not work/want to leave their kids for longer periods of time than is normally considered acceptable; but they also tend to be much more expensive, so your average non-working parents are unlikely to be their first pool of customers. It is simply not true that most, or even many, non-working parents put their kids into day care. Especially not the expensive uncertified kind. They quite simply couldn't afford it on a single income. Not meaning to be rude, but maybe what you have been 'led to believe' comes from a conversation with one 'private provider' trying to impress a furriner?

    women who do want to stay home, maybe they cannot handle a job

    Or maybe they're handling a more important, more satisfying, more challenging job than anything the corporate world can offer.

    you can see in them two things, an obsession with their kids (the dreaded helicopter mom that teachers complain about constantly) and also that that are being sadly underutilized

    There's a huge difference between being focussed on your kids and being a 'helicopter mum'. And there is nothing 'sadly underutilised' about a person who is devoting herself to ensuring that the next generation starts out right.

    Kids in daycare are healthier, especially at lower income levels where there is not a lot to offer the kids at home to help them learn and grow.

    I did read something once (can't be bothered to go looking for it now) about a study that did show that the kids of middle-class families and above did better at home with Mum, while kids from poorer families and single-parent families did better in daycare. The study came to the conclusion that in the poorer family, the increased income from the working parent provided better nutrition, the relaxation of money worries produced a more laid-back parent, and the child got more mental stimulation at day care than he would have got at home with a parent too concerned about finding the next meal and paying bills to be able to give the child quality time. To some extent these are stereotypes, of course; but the bottom line seems to be, if you have the choice, it's better to make the right choice for the child, not for yourself. And if you don't have the choice and have to work, there's no need to beat yourself up about it, just get on with it and do what has to be done, the kid will be OK.

  • 4

    smithinjapan

    I know Japanese women with more talent and skill in their pinky fingers than the men who hold positions of power here, but the women, if they seek work, are often forced to stand on the bottom rung of the latter and serve tea to the men who make bad decisions. That's not going to change in the near future except for a few cases which will serve as lip service to change, and Japan will fall further still. You should see the look on some people's faces when they are present with the fact that China outranks them by 32 places. But hey, in that respect many people here are like ostriches.

  • -2

    Cos

    It's the intangible things like families spending time together and eating home cooked meals that really matter in life, not corporate balance sheets.

    Yes, the dishes bought at Daiei and microwaved by the fair hand of your depressive (if not abusive) Mum... while Dad is eating at Izakaya with his girlfriends.

    If stay-at-home moms really cared about their kids they would work so Dad could spend some time with the kids.

    Exactly. In many country, the fathers now refuse to be left out. I complain the children stuck 6 years under total control of the otaku mother. So many children that can't spend time with the rest of the family, that don't play with other children everyday. In the 50's, 60's, at the limit 70's, with large families living all together, close communities, streets being relatively safe playgrounds, the children whose mothers stayed at home could get a suitable social environment. But that's totally different in the case of the middle class kyoiku mum that keeps the living doll in a mansion or even a small house, Mum+baby only, and a telly maybe. The Dad passing a few hours to take a bath, change clothes, snore, sometimes grab food with beer and watch the baby and try to see if the house's boss has something to tell him besides "don't touch the baby with your dirty paws... sleep in the living room... bring more money". The kid meets 4 persons in the month...on good months. I don't have stats. It's not a rarity and it's not wonderful at all.

    even though they don't work, they put them in day care anyway. I'm calling you out on that one. many of not most??? Simply not true.

    You link says it's true. The rate of kids attending kindergarten/preschool but the same document you mention gives a 68% average attendance rate for the 3 to 6 yr olds... In comparison it's 99% in France where it's totally free from 3. But Japan has too much natality and too many women in workforce ? If so no point in making it free.

    As of 2001, 58.1% of children of pre-school age were cared for by one or other parent; 10.6% by a grandparent; 25.9% were in day care, and 20.8% went to kindergarten.

    That's a mistranslation. I didn't find the English version, but you can tell them it's crap. The Japanese chart says that in average the children spend 58.1% of the time from zero to six with parents, ~% with grandparents, daycare, preschool... The same children cared by mother at 2 month old goes to kindergarten at 5 yr old.

    if they have no job, they cannot get the child into daycare; and unless the child is in daycare, they cannot get a job.

    Maybe in the sticks. In cities, there is daycare if you can pay. The problem is elsewhere. If the mother has quit her job for a few years, her career is over. Anywhere in the world try to look for a job with a CV saying you've not worked for 6 years. Your past degrees and experience are no longer taken into consideration. Exceptions are few. These mothers restart at zero, on the unqualified baito market. The only solution is women not quitting, staying employed when they get babies, taking a few months of leave and coming back, and for both parents, the option of temporary arrangement for part time or some flexibility to work from home on child sick days, or even finish the work from home after family dinner if zangyo are necessary for business. My sister's company proposes that and they have no cases of women quitting after child birth, from factory workers to CEO. It's a big global corporations, small businesses can't do it (without some kind of State support). But in Japan, even global size companies have never made the effort.

  • 4

    GW

    Bottom line is life pretty crap for most in Japan, terrible work hours, brutal inefficiency, little daycare options.,etc etc

    Until Japan realizes its ways aint working & starts to work smarter the rot will continue, work live balance is a fantasy for the vast majority & doesnt look to be getting better only worse!

  • 0

    cleo

    That's a mistranslation. I didn't find the English version, but you can tell them it's crap. The Japanese chart says that in average the children spend 58.1% of the time from zero to six with parents, ~% with grandparents, daycare, preschool... The same children cared by mother at 2 month old goes to kindergarten at 5 yr old.

    I don't think there is an English version. What the Japanese chart says is that 58.5% of preschool age children are cared for primarily by one or other parent. It's not about how much time on average a child spends where. Your interpretation would have kids being passed around from parents to grandparents to certified day-care to uncertified day-care to kindergarten.....

    And, you do understand the difference between day-care and kindergarten?

    Japan has too much natality and too many women in workforce ?

    I think you'll find what the article is saying is that there are not enough women in the workforce, not that there are too many. And that there are not enough nursery places. If by 'too much natality' you mean a high birthrate, you're wrong there, too.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Sadly, with failed leaders like Abe coming into power on the foundation of "Bring back Japan" it seems the nation is hell-bent on keeping the same methods that has ensured its failure instead of addressing the issues seriously and bringing about positive change. As such, it's very, very highly unlikely that workers will face less hours and be given more time off to child-rear -- instead said leaders want a return to the post-war 'sacrifice' that brought Japan back from the ashes. Japan is moving further and further backwards, and in attempts to deal with the problem take measures that force it back further still. The nation is obsessed with past glory and trying to recreate it on ideals that worked way back when instead of seeking new ways to be better and bring about a new type of glory and prosperity.

    Women are the way, in part. But as with the fact that Japan doesn't want to address the fact that it needs to import foreign workers to survive, it doesn't want to change the machine that puts women down.

  • 1

    mikihouse

    First Japan has to admit they have a problem...

  • 2

    Vienna1sausage

    The sad truth is Japanese women are not interested in working. Most of the very content with being a housewives, having the token one or two children, getting together with friends at family restaurants during the day, and taking care of the household.
    This is the Japanese woman's idea of living "the dream".

  • 2

    cracaphat

    How long has this myth been perpetuated by the media?The average single female with no prospect of it ending, would kill to get married and stay at home in the kitchen.That's what my female students keep telling me.They all wanna stop working,even the ones in their mid 20s.

  • 2

    zichi

    Vienna1sausage

    The sad truth is Japanese women are not interested in working

    I don't know any young women like that. The ones I do know are working and want to keep it that way.

  • -3

    JeffLee

    Japans chronically underperforming economy

    Not really, In GDP per capita terms, Japan performs quite well, outpacing many Western countries. Living standards are actually rising, while in the US, they're on the decline.

    Turning all the women into serious career types isn't the solution, and the jobless rate would also escalate to levels seen in Spain and Greece. No thanks!

  • 6

    Aliasis

    And the whole "60% of what men earn" is a statistical falsehood. All things being equal, same years of education, same KIND of education, same years of experience, women DON'T earn less than men.

    That is NOT true at all. Women DO earn less than men, for the SAME work. In most countries, America included, women have every disadvantage. In Japan, it's worse tenfold. Women are constantly degraded, harassed, and not taken seriously in the workplace, and yes, many MANY women do work and want to work their way up the corporate ladder. Yet, they get their butts pinched and made to serve tea. It is so convenient for men to deny sexism by saying "it's what the women want."

  • 0

    AustPaul

    Why isn't there an 'apetite' for immigration? Language/cultural barrier? If this plan fails and the birth rate doesn't change this might have to be seriously considered....

  • -5

    fupayme

    Until women in general are willing to take on the real tough jobs or work the long hours that men are forced to do, it doesn't matter how many women enter the workforce as all it will just create is a huge demand in the white collar jobs, thus making employers like myself able to lower wages, increase hours and give less benefits

    Im all for equality, as long as the women want to pick up a shovel, put in the hours, and do some real work.

    lets ask some of these women to work in hazardous jobs, or jobs outdoors in bad weather, or maybe require them to relocate to a far away location for a position

    Oh wait....women figured out that doing this stuff sucks, and that is probably why they would rather be housewives, or only want positions that allow them to have flex time, or go home early, or other random benefits that no man is allowed to have.

    you give a human being choices, and of course the majority are going to choose the path which gives the most freedom

    If my wife wants to work 12-14 hours a day to pay all the bills, and secure our future investments, I am more than happy to stay home and take care of the kids or just work part time, then on my free time I can do other things that I actually enjoy doing

    But yeah....that ain't gonna happen

  • 3

    zurcronium

    Or maybe they're handling a more important, more satisfying, more challenging job than anything the corporate world can offer.

    Nice thing to tell yourself anyway. Not all women, or men for that matter, can make it in the corporate world. Some can and are unable to find work due to the outdated and frankly delusion notion that a stay-at-home mom is better for their kids development. Depends on the situation. But continuing to promote that myth keeps women who can handle a job from getting one. That is damaging to society and to Japan in particular. And of course a huge waste of human capital. To continue the stay at home myth will doom Japan as the article makes very clear.

    The famous study on the incredible benefits of daycare for preschool kids is the Perry Preschool study. Kids in daycare are better adjusted and more successful later in life than kids who are stuck at home with their moms only.

  • 13

    zichi

    Too many sexist narrow viewed comments.

  • -6

    fupayme

    yeah its sexist to talk about reality

  • 4

    zichi

    @fupayme,

    yeah its sexist to talk about reality

    What reality? Women in both Europe and America work in well paid jobs and occupy some of the highest levels without a threat to men-in-work and have been doing it for decades.

  • 5

    herefornow

    Japan is ranked an embarrassing 101st out of 135 countries in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual Global Gender Gap Report, down three places from last year. Near neighbour China is at 69th.

    Key sentences of the whole article. "Embarrassing" to whom? The writer may think it is embarrassing for the world's third largest economy to rank 101st in gender gap, but the good old boys who run Japan Inc. and are driving the country into economic disaster don't. They are very happy having a culture that values kawaii over accomplishment for women. And they'll let the country sink further rather than swallow their pride.

  • 2

    Vienna1sausage

    Zichi I am not sure if you live in a bubble or not but I teach Speech presentations at a very reputable university in Tokyo. I teach five different classes each semester, coming to a total of 150 different students. Roughly half of these students are women. The final presentation of the session is always "my future goal and dreams". I would say less than ten percent (and that is being generous) of female students even mention wanting to work. And if they do it is something like "flight attendant" or "international business women". When I do follow-up questions at the end of presentations if they would want some kind of career, such as working at a company, they would look at me with an embarrassed "you've got to be kidding" look. I have have had contact with thousands of young female students over the past several years and very few of them have shown any interest in having a serious career after marriage. I have always been perplexed by this. This doesn't include my friends who are married to Japanese women who show no interest in working either. This is not "narrow thinking" as you have so narrowly categorized this opinion, rather it is my experience. Obviously you have more knowledge about this particular subject .... Enlighten me with your sources.

  • 6

    zichi

    Vienna1sausage,

    all of my young female friends work, they are in their late 20's and early 30"s. One of them is a civil engineer, working outdoors in all weathers, another a driver of long distant heavy trucks. They have all been to university.

    And my comment to fupayme was because has far back as the 1960's I worked with female engineers in the heavy chemical industry and I have worked with female carpenters, plumbers, electricians on big building sites. A strong woman is more capable than a weak man.

    If the women I know who have married and have young children have expressed a desire to return to work or set up their own business.

    I guess not all young women are like the ones you have met with your uni experience, and who knows if they were actually telling you the truth or what they thought you wanted to hear?

  • 0

    Vienna1sausage

    Zilchi I completely agree that women are just as strong (or even stronger) than men, but I am guessing we just travel in completely different circles.

    Anyway, I usually agree with your opinions (and enjoy them) but now with this particular one.

    I do hope that you are right because I believe that utilizing the female workforce would be an integral part of getting Japan out of this declining birthdate mess.

  • -1

    cleo

    The famous study on the incredible benefits of daycare for preschool kids is the Perry Preschool study.

    The Perry Preschool study targeted 123 disadvantaged African-Americans born in poverty and at high risk of failing in school, and put them in a special high-quality pre-school programme at ages 3 and 4. That's preschool, aka kindergarten, and a special programme at that. A very far cry from putting an unweaned, nappy-wearing baby not yet walking or talking with a child-minder so that its mother can follow her career. Kindergarten is not daycare. Apples are not oranges.

    The 'incredible' effects of the programme included things like 'only' 36% of those who had had the benefit of the programme having been arrested 5 times or more by age 40, compared with 55% in the control group; and 67% with an IQ of 90 or more at age 5, compared with 28% in the control group.

  • 0

    Eduardo Gonzalez

    Worsening even further to 1998 levels

  • -2

    JeffLee

    all of my young female friends work,

    The Japanese women who gravitate toward gailjin tend to be the mavericks or even social rejects, anyway.

    Vienna1's sampling of 150 university students is much more credible case. Stating things like, "Well, my mates do this, my and mates do that, so it must be true," isn't really worth much in a debate about half the nation's population.

  • 0

    volland

    if you are intersted in this subject, and do want some actual information on the it, there is an article in the JapanTimes today,,,,

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fd20121125pb.html

  • -2

    VisceralRage

    Japanese women need to have more children. Replacement level birth rates is what is needed for economic growth, particularly if immigration is not desired.

  • 1

    nedinjapan

    My wife, that I am trying to divorce now, has a good job but hates working. She asks why she must work when I make enough money for her to spend? And let me tell you this: She is not the only one; she says what the Japanese society has taught her, to be a parasite and feed on all of their husbands' income, and they call it "Management".
    Those without somebody to pay for their expenses, for their bags, their visits to esthe, ..., they may work, and I respect them highly.

  • 2

    GW

    Lets face to work in Japan SUCKS bigtime for both sexes! I'd have left these shores many many moons ago if I was a salary man, for the vast majority it is an aweful existence. And when you look at work at a typical J-company, if I was a woman I dont think I'd go for it or want it, not thanks!

    So its pretty easy to see why women dont want to enter the J-rat race.

    If Japan can fix the hell that is "work" BOTH sexes will want to work!

  • 4

    ruthgottstein

    Ir'a way beyond women in the workplace. What Japan needs is women moving into leadership...and they need to do this--badly.

    All the Japanese women I have met over the years have the ability and the understanding to be leaders. They simply must assert their skills--and help save their country.

  • -1

    JapanGal

    Open up immigration is the only solution in my opinion.

  • 3

    fidaruzki

    Is it just me, or why when people talk or discussing women in workforce, many would always think about them in corporate world? How about small businesses? The SMEs. It does contribute to the national income. Women could have the choice to work in industries that caters to their needs. Mothers with design degree maybe could work from home.

    Or those with montessori knowledge could open child minding centres for working mothers (who prefers to work)... The issue here is whether there are avenue for working mothers to have their children taken care of during working hours, whether they have flexible working hours so they could breastfeed their babies, and more importantly, whether the mothers themselves want to work. I think women does not have choice when they are single parents, because in the end of the day, they need to bring food to the table.

    So if they are working, does that make them bad mothers?

  • 1

    sighclops

    I've met countless women with their single goal in life to be a housewife. find mr. right and keep the house in order.

    The whole "single income" mantra needs to be dealt with early on in life. We don't live in the 50s!

  • 1

    WilliB

    skghclops:

    " The whole "single income" mantra needs to be dealt with early on in life. We don't live in the 50s! "

    Ironically, if you look at the high income sector of society, you will that the "single income" mantra is very much alive. E.g. how many Tokyo expat wifes do you know who take a 9-5 drudge job, just to find meaning in live? If there is enough money from one income, exactly why is it necessary to work more? And how exactly is sitting from 9-5 in a stuffy office shuffling papers around more satisfying than taking care of kids?

    I think you could very well argue that the whole "double income mantra" is a successful sale of more economic pressure to the middle and lower classes.

  • 0

    WilliB

    VisceralRage:

    " Japanese women need to have more children. Replacement level birth rates is what is needed for economic growth, particularly if immigration is not desired. "

    As I pointed out already, if the Japanese government wants BOTH women in the workforce AND more Japanese children, they´d better put some tax money into public childcare facilities. Because juggling both children and work in the current system is simply too much. Which is why you see all these young Japanese couples with their fashionable dressed Chihuahuas (sometimes even pushing them in a pram, as if to send a message).

  • 1

    Nessie

    It's not a weapon if you can't deploy it.

  • 0

    illsayit

    > But there is also the fact that many Japanese women simply don't want to work. I have a good mate living in Australia who is married to a Japanese woman, and whilst she is currently working, she is desperate to quit and just 'be a housewife'. She seems to think that is her right and is a fair a reasonable thing to do. No probs that hubby heads off to work each morning, just as long as she can 'enjoy her life'. And they don't even have kids yet. So whenever we catch up with them she has the temerity to complain bitterly and at length about how hard her job is (she has a menial and cushy civil service gig) whilst her husband, who truly does have a really tough job, has to sit there and grit his teeth

    youve gotta laugh at this one though-like yeah right?!?! And that'S why the guy is still married to her and not you. You sure he wasnt gritting his teeth at you there honey. Im sure when he went home with his wife he had a different face to what you were seeing. Sheesh! As if anybody can tell what is going on in anothers marriage completely. You must think you are some sort of professional on the subject Tamarama.

    @Nessie -deployed- lol. Yeah it must be confusing to some now that the title is weapon in stead of machine.hahahaha

  • -2

    Blacklabel

    I would be more than happy to have more women in the workforce and be in upper management, etc.

    But....they are going to get there working 6 hour days and feeling "well protected" in the workplace. It doesnt matter if her productivity didnt decrease working 6 hr days, I could also do my work in 6 hours a day but am not given the opportunity because I am a man. If I have to be in the office for work 12 hrs, then so should she, right? Equal rights means to be treated the SAME, so why are we treating people different in the name of "equal" rights?

    And 6 years of parental leave? SIX years? what kind of a place is this? Also, I am quite sure that men are "eligible" for it, but cant actually take it. If anyone actually gets it, which I doubt, it would be women.

  • 1

    sighclops

    cracaphat hit the nail on the head (awesome alias btw!)

  • -1

    trinklets2

    Subtlely, there is already migration in the surge of foreign trainees. That's why there's a pseudo shortage of jobs. I remember months before when I was looking for a job at Hello Work, the staff would say "Ahh that job won't fit you because you don't know kanji and your Japanese isn't fluent." What about those hordes of trainees, mostly young women from other Asian countries? They never know Japanese not even kanji except the Chinese trainees but are able to do the factory job as well. Somebody must be earning behind all of these while nailing down the govt. Why the govt? If people with less income would opt not to marry or procreate, would evade paying into the pension fund and thus could be prospective welfare applicant in the future and less income means minimal consumerism, then where to Japan?

  • 0

    BertieWooster

    Mikihouse-san,

    Your post was very interesting:

    First Japan has to admit they have a problem...

    That is totally, totally right.

    In order to solve a problem, first of all, you have to admit that there is one.

    And then state precisely what the problem is.

    Only then do you have a chance of solving it.

    There are a lot of Japanese people who are living in a TV dream world and are not looking at the fact that their house of cards is about to collapse.

  • 0

    cracaphat

    Thanx sighclops.

  • 0

    volland

    @VisceralRageNov. 26, 2012 - 08:50AM JST "Japanese women need to have more children. Replacement level birth rates is what is needed for economic growth, particularly if immigration is not desired."

    No, maybe people like you need that. japanese women certainly do not..... I actually see a few signs that more and more japanese women stop being as stupid as that.

    The numbers that will vote for the Ishihara gang will tell us how many still think in your medieval way...

  • 2

    HonestDictator

    Love and attention? So* only* the mother is responsible for that is what I'm hearing from both Cleo and NS. I'm sorry, you seem to equate 2 parents working professional jobs as being unable to balance both work and family. Get with the times. Parents that are unable to find that balance are the ones that think that finances are the only thing required/ or that. I'm living in a country where financial stability and family care are equally important. And life insurance doesn't cover the lifetime of the surviving family members (disregarding that you have to pry a claim from the insurance companies cold dead fingers if they can't rip you off as much as possible). Plus I forgot to mention the husband doesn't even have to die. What if he gets laid off and can't find work for a long term period? Obviously he can't get the claim from life insurance... and he obviously can't keep up the payments on it either.

    As for the lack of love and attention, from personal experience being raised by a single parent I got both the love and attention I needed as well as my mother meeting financial needs as best she could. Unfortunately she was unable to pursue her professional career and ended up doing various minimum wage jobs that still had her working longer than a decent 40 hour week for much less than she could have made. Compared to the neighbors where I grew up where a majority of the single mothers were either doing drugs, having men in and out of their doors and having more babies (and not working because the amount of children they were having was bringing in a good welfare income), beating their children, and in no way inspiring their children positively to better their lives. Having one parent at home means nothing if that parent has no morality in their personality.

    Many professional jobs have maternity leave for a reason. Because they expect the mother to be able to return to work after her pregnancy and nursing period. I know in Japan its a different story and that is what needs to be changed.

  • 0

    cleo

    Compared to the neighbors where I grew up where a majority of the single mothers were either doing drugs, having men in and out of their doors and having more babies (and not working because the amount of children they were having was bringing in a good welfare income), beating their children, and in no way inspiring their children positively to better their lives.

    It's been mentioned that studies have shown, children in a poor environment (financially, morally and socially, like the one you describe) do better if they are put in day care from an early age and the parent works. Children in a middle-class environment do better at home with a parent for the first two to three years. 'The mother next door didn't work and she beat her kids' is not really a valid argument for all babies to be put in day care as soon as Mum is able to walk again. I could just as easily point to my middle-class, professional/academic friends who put their kids in child-care as babies so that Mum could continue her career; they now have problems with rebellious, low-achieving kids. Does that mean all kids put in day care as babies turn out bad? Not at all. But why take the risk, when it's only a few years? By all means go back to work when the kid is old enough for kindergarten or school.

  • -1

    HonestDictator

    Once again you passed by the potential of the father Cleo. The mother isn't the only one capable of taking care of the baby during those ages when the mum goes back to work.

  • 0

    cleo

    Once again you passed by the potential of the father Cleo. The mother isn't the only one capable of taking care of the baby during those ages when the mum goes back to work.

    Mmm, where did I do that? I said a parent. If the couple agree that the father should stay home instead, fine. I have no argument with that.

  • 0

    HonestDictator

    is not really a valid argument for all babies to be put in day care as soon as Mum is able to walk again. I could just as easily point to my middle-class, professional/academic friends who put their kids in child-care as babies so that Mum could continue her career;

    Sorry but that part just seemed mom-centric to me. In many EU and western countries it is becoming more and more common thing for employers to offer on site daycare (holy smokes, parents can join their kids during break time...). So working parents aren't always too far from their children when needed. Some countries are even ahead of that by actually paying for nannies to support working parents.

    Your POV and my POV are not the end all solutions for every family. Every family has to adjust to find what works best for them. For you its obvious you desire to stay with your children as much as possible. For others it can be the exact opposite. I've known some parents that even though they've "lavished love and attention" to their children the kids still make their own choices that end very badly no matter how nurturing the environment they grew up in. Remember children are a LOT smarter than when you and I were young and can actually comprehend a lot more at 6 years old than we used to.

  • 0

    HonestDictator

    The issue with Japan isn't just only that they need to allow more women to work equally in the workforce, but they need to support services that keep working parents in mind. Having on site day care is blasphemy!

  • -1

    cleo

    HD -

    Sorry but that part just seemed mom-centric to me.

    Well, it was the couples in question that decided junior had to go into daycare so that Mum could continue working. Not one of them considered Dad giving up his career. In that sense, yes, they were Mum-centric in their thinking. Them, not me.

    it is becoming more and more common thing for employers to offer on site daycare

    It depends on the employer, of course. If a person chooses their workplace according to whether it has childcare facilities, they could still complain that having a child restricted their career choices because they couldn't work in a place that didn't have those facilities.

    Every family has to adjust to find what works best for them.

    Exactly. What's best for them, not what outsiders tell them is best.

  • -3

    ka_chan

    Women in the work force is bit of a trap. There have always been women in the work force. But. if you look at the US, as more and more women were expected to work starting in the late 1960's, income flattened. Corporation took advantage by paying women 60% of the going rate. At some point in the 1980s, most house wives had to work since you needed the additional income. Meaning that 2 incomes in the 1980s was the same as 1. Even today with women's wages for the same job at 75-80% of men, both incomes are needed since all incomes are declining. It is at a point where we are seeing income levels of a century or more ago which lead to unions. Basically, all wages in the US have been declining since the 1960's except the top income levels. As Japan, it takes 20 average workers to equal that of the CEO but today in the US, the CEO makes 250 average workers wage, The problem with Japan is that women are never treated as equals. The worst countries to be a women in the developed world are Japan and S. Korea.
    I don't buy the woman needs to stay home to take of the kids since in Japanese history, women have always worked. The upper class women had servants that took care of the children. Children were also sent to work for the family too, at an early age.

  • -1

    flygirl1221

    Well if women asserted themselves more and demanded equal pay for equal work, then corporations can't take advantage of them. This is a big part of the gender wage gap in western countries- women don't negotiate their salaries and don't assert themselves enough.

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    Give everybody an equal foothold and watch the country prosper beyond compare.

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    Give everybody an equal foothold and watch the country prosper beyond compare.

    The Japanese government has to help single mothers, single women, housewives and etc.

    Waiting list for childcare is incredible. I've never seen that before.

    Improve childcare make more schools and watch.

  • 0

    HonestDictator

    Businesses in Japan should also look at another growing option for professional careers that do not require a lot of direct interaction like work at home stations. People with disabilities, and parent's with special needs children, or just stay at home parents will still be able to do their job naturally without having to leave their home or take a commute to work. That was another trend I forgot to mention earlier. Usually it involves the company purchasing a PC or laptop and sometimes a business phone that allows the employee to connect to their company network or make business calls etc.

  • 0

    fidaruzki

    Talk about stay at home mothers and those who works, and can't help noticing some indirectly implying that those stay at home mothers are better than those who works. While it is true in some cases, but in some cases children with both parents working are not totally left out in the love department too.

    It's like saying children from broken homes would be society trash and we all know it is just not true.

    I've seen people with both parents working and they still excels and i've seen some children from single income parent, with mothers staying at home, supposedly nurturing them, turned out to be criminals. And i've seen children from broken homes hold big positions and great job at work.

    You see, while it is true that mothers need to nurture their children, but she are not supposed to stand alone. I believe to create better society is not one person job, but the rest of the people in the society. And it just not helping if the said stays at home mothers spend the majority of their time at some pachinko parlour, wasting away the hard earned money

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