Thursday, March 30, 2023

“Let us lower your debt… if you have a child”, the birth problem in Japan and a desperate measure

Marco Carrasco, professor of East Asian studies in the Faculty of Civil Law and Political Science at UNMSM

-Has the Kishida faction prepared the most insane proposal?

In principle, and in doctrine, such a proposal is not remote. It is of great concern to find measures to reverse the problem. Our survey showed that one of the main reasons for young people not having children is affordability. Not just to have, but to have, to retain, to work, to invest in care, health, education. Focusing on young people, Kishida believes that forgiving student debt can be an incentive. These loans tend to have a lower interest rate, but many low- and middle-income families use them.

– What would be the main criticism?

Although it is “good”, many opponents criticize that two different issues are mixed up. For them, childbirth is another matter, family planning; and another issue of students, which affects everyone, especially low and middle income. They see it as forcing their children to reduce their debt, and that doesn’t go down well with the population, they think it creates some degree of discrimination based on personal choice.

Why are birth rates so low in Asia?

It takes place largely in Japan, in particular, in Asia, in general. Most surveys indicate that the economic situation, as I mentioned earlier, but even since 1990, real income in Japan has remained stable, not increased. It is not useful for families. There are other social factors, such as the increase in the participation of women in the labor force, which is now between 70% and 75% and has grown. Two other facts are life expectancy, Japan leads that order in almost the whole world; and the Japanese against others.

Like migration, why the resistance?

It is true that historically Japan has not been a country that has welcomed immigration. Over the years, the possibility has been revealed a little more, especially for the return of Japanese descendants to settle in other countries, such as those born in Peru or Brazil. The reason is that Japanese society has traditionally maintained the idea that a homogenous community and governments are sufficient, and has not sought to take effective measures in this respect. The current government seems to be following the same line, now let’s see what happens.

-What do you think is happening?

I’m very pessimistic, I don’t think there will be a marked change because this is a global problem. It will be important to look at the Japanese case, now it is an isolated case, but eventually we will all face it. South Korea is experiencing a similar situation and China was surprised last year with its apparent population limits. All this, added to the fact that there are not many young people, has an economic impact.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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