Japan birthrate keeps falling

From Japan Digest: University Disputes Government’s Rosy Claim That Birthrate Will Rise
Japan’s birthrate is likely to keep falling for the foreseeable future, reaching 1.24 children per woman per lifetime by 2017, the Nihon University Population Research Institute said. The prediction directly contradicts current government assumptions, on which many economic decisions are being made. The country’s birthrate has fallen steadily since the early 1970s, and hit a record low at 1.33 in 2001, as women are marrying later and having fewer babies when they do. Though the accelerating trend forced the government to lower its population projections earlier this year, it is still predicting that the birthrate will bottom out at 1.31 in 2001, and start rising, to 1.38 by 2025. The Nihon University researchers begged to differ, saying the realities of life in modern Japan point to further delays in marriage and a continuing fall in birthrates. Chief reason for the continuing trend is a shrinkage of the income gap between men and women, the institute said. Women hesitate to give up their high-paying jobs to stay home with children. The institute said it thinks that’s the major reason for a decline in birthrates that began in the 1980s and accelerated sharply in the 1990s. It said the trend will become more pronounced in the coming decade, causing still more women to postpone marriage and babies. If it’s right, the government will have to raise employee pension premiums to about 31% of monthly pay, split between employer and employee, by 2025, rather than 28% it now plans to charge then, to maintain current levels of pension payments, Nihon Keizai said.
Japanese companies are going to have to quickly integrate more support for working mothers if the nation hopes to stem the falling birthrate. If it is money concerns that are leading women to have fewer babies later in life, then it’s clear that Japanese business must intervene IF they care about having Japanese people to work in the companies in the future.