Japan: Look to Scandinavia?

John Sandvand writes about some possible solutions to Japan’s birth rate “problem”, using Norway as an example.

As I wrote on his blog, the ideas are great in theory, but I worry that the problem is much more ingrained culturally and a few government measures won’t change the situation much. There would need to be a wholesale change in the image of women in the workplace for the measures to be effective.

However, in the end, the problem of declining birth-rates is common in most rich industralised nations and with the extreme population density in Japan, I don’t see the big problem if the population decreases slightly. Sure, there will need to be a solution to the Pensions issue, but the government has plenty of ways to raise cash for that (Sales tax, less needless road construction and so on).

What do people think about this?

1 Comment so far

  1. John Sandvand (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 7:03 am

    The experience in Scandinavia is that clear political actions over time will change the attitudes of people. For instance there were no lack of objections among people when four weeks of the “maternity” leave were reserved for the father. Over time, though, it contributed to make it much easier for men to choose to stay home with their children. Today it is quite common that men stay up to several months at home taking care of the children.
    These changes take long time, but brave political measures will speed it up.
    And in Japan it would be smart for economic reasons also, I think …

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