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Work-Sex Balance: Putting Japan in the Mood to Procreate

With one of the world's lowest birth rates, it's not the first time the Japanese government has tried to get in bed with the people. In the '90s, a government-organized dating program failed to produce results — and, yes, by results I mean babies. But now it's turning to the already-married business class, hoping they'll have more children if employers ensure they're home in time for sex.

A new survey shows that the average couple in Japan has sex 45 times per year. That's less than half the global average of 103 times. Why so low? To find out,


Citing lack of energy, more than one third of couples under 50 did not have sex in the previous month. With health experts warning that people are too tired for sex, the government is now trying to persuade employers to give workers more time "at home." That's certainly a euphemism!

Though some companies have already made an independent effort to minimize time in the office, the labor ministry is writing a bill that would exempt employees with children under three from overtime and limit their work days to six hours. While I'm sure more sex leads to more pregnancies (problem solved!), I doubt it would increase the number of planned ones.

Having time for sex and having time for kids are two major, and completely different, problems. Is it really a smart way to grow a population? Or should they do whatever it takes?


wolvesvane wolvesvane 6 years
hey Shadowdamage, i'll explain gothic lolita to you-or really, just lolita in general. it's a fashion. that's all. not sexual (although, like everything in the /entire world/, it can be twisted to be), despite what the word lolita means in the past/other countries. in Japan, it's simply a style, a preference of clothing. girls who wear it like Victorian-era style and such related things (like lace, high collars, petticoats, curls, ruffles, ribbons, dainty gloves, high socks, parasols, etc etc etc). like cosplay, it's been sexualized by people who don't know much at all about it, and perverts. perverts ruin everything. also: cosplay is not a fetish on it's own, in case you didn't pick up on that. the word itself means costume playing, it's just pure fun for nerds. :3 (although, like absolutely everything, can be sexualized) and what do video games and teenagers have to do with sex? that's a bit broad, don't you think? fun fact: "hentai" translates literally to "pervert" in Japanese, and means porn in general, although in Western cultures hentai means anime porn (the Japanese word indicating origins in the worst, misleading way).
mafalda_quino mafalda_quino 8 years
Stephley, do you happen to have the link to the "little appendage that could" article? I have a few proud, chest-beating, male Greek friends I'd like to forward it to..!
pixelhaze pixelhaze 8 years
oh Myst you're right, I had forgotten but I did read something about that. And I was talking to a friend of mine who lived in Japan (Japanese bf) who said there are no protections for careerwomen who get pregnant? maybe it varies by company but supposedly they resent you and don't guarantee your job, or they try to force you to quit so they don't have to give you maternity leave. I do find this very funny though, seeing as they have the exact opposite problem in China.
stephley stephley 8 years
Ahh Jessie, kids are so lovely - mine's the best thing about life for sure!
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
I definitely know my fellow classmates and I are seriously rethinking having children. With college loans, the cost of housing, the need for even more then a BA and the job market. none of think well be able to live decently and afford kids. Also women are changing and we don't want to give up our careers to be pregnant and stay home. Women are changing faster then gender roles and responsibilities and we're American, so I imagine how it must be else where.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
i dont think the problem is lack of time for sex as much as lack of time for kids (as mentionned) and lack of desire for a family-orietated lifestyle, for whatever reasons. so large financial incentives for kids might be a better plan!
Myst Myst 8 years
Exactly Coral and that's why a lot of women now are putting off getting married and having children.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
When I was in Japan, women did want to have a career, but once you have a baby it is expected that you will quit your career and focus on being a mom for the sake of your children. And not just like being is a mom is a full time job here in America. There are specific expectations in how you are involved in your child's school and everything else whether you like it or not. It really bears reading a good book on Japanese culture to really grasp the mother's duties.
stephley stephley 8 years
Wait a minute, there was an article yesterday saying that in a survey of European men, Greek men had the smallest apparatus - does size matter or not?
Myst Myst 8 years
Superchange, it's really a cultural thing. People waiting longer as well as a lot of the families have at the most two children. It's very rare, at least from my experience to meet a Japanese family in Japan, that has more than two children. When I was growing up there the majority of all the people that I knew were either an only child or had one other sibling. Unfortunately for Japan, it's becoming an old nation. People are living longer and the younger generation aren't that intent of having children anytime soon.
supercharger5150 supercharger5150 8 years
I'm wondering if it's cultural...? Like Myst and Meike have said, that people and women are waiting longer. I also wonder because the Japanese people I know, that work with my BF are ALL having babies- in America. And I do mean all, and I'm jealous. This story really surprised me actually.
mafalda_quino mafalda_quino 8 years
Janneth, it's Greece followed by Brazil apparently, but the survey was only conducted in 26 countries.
janneth janneth 8 years
I wonder which countries have the most.
Myst Myst 8 years
I lived in Japan from the time I was 10 until 17 and go back and visit every year. My boyfriend is Japanese and French, but born and raised in Japan so I'm with you Meike with the resent of some of the commentaries on here. The thing with Japan it's not that people are having less sex, just is that, a lot of women are more career minded nowadays and aren't that intent on getting married now and are having children later in life. That's the basic reason of why the country has such a low birth rate, plus Japan isn't very big on immigration. It's only in the past few years that they have become more open to immigration and even then full citizenship isn't granted to most foreigners. Japan is a homogenous nation and they would prefer to keep it that way, as it is their right.
Meike Meike 8 years
Heh. As a Japanese person, I resent some of the commentary and stereotyping but whatever, not like the statistics apply to me.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
I love the fact the work ethic trumps sex in Japanese culture. Maybe they can give us some. And maybe the fact that they are sexually free in art and thought is why they aren't pent up horn dogs like our fellow Americans. I love when my Pakistan friends describe us as a repressed society bombarded with sexual images. You could choke on the hypocrisy.
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
Its not being overworked, its all that damn cosplay! That's enough to mess up anyone's mind. I mean - what in the HELL is a Gothic Lolita anyway? (I've seen it, it still doesn't answer my questions.) That's before we start covering the topic of hentai, teenagers, and video games. Which -er - I'm not doin' anytime soon. Nooosir. :P
psterling psterling 8 years
I would LOVE to have 6 hour work days! I'd totally move to Japan :-)
Roarman Roarman 8 years
Maybe they are too busy pleasuring themselves to all of the weird porn to actually do it with another human being. I have to agree that having sex and having a baby are not the same thing. Talk about not having time for sex. Throw a baby in there and the number will fall to below 10 times a year.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
LOL maybe they should cut down on the production of some of the weird porn they have ( injured girl ugh etc...) maybe that will help people procrate.
krae85 krae85 8 years
so weird.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
I know beavis Japanese people are some freaky but 45 times a year???? You must be deeply in love wiht someone to accept that.
stephley stephley 8 years
Ask not what your country can do for you... I'm having a little trouble with the idea that so many people in one country are too overworked to have sex - maybe they all need counseling.
indielove indielove 8 years
"Here's my to do list: 1) Learn Japanese 2) Move to Japan 3) Have sex" You're such a nympho. ;)
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