Characteristics and Problems of the Countermeasures Against Low Fertility in Japan: Reasons that Fertility Is not Increasing

  • Shigeki MatsudaEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Population Studies book series (BRIEFSPOPULAT)


Japan has had unacceptably low fertility since the mid-1970s, but the government did not officially recognize low fertility as a problem and initiate countermeasures against it until the early-1990s, when the low fertility was spurred by the “1.57 shock.” For about 20 years, policy designed as a countermeasure has been based on two pillars: increasing the number of childcare facilities and supporting a desirable work-life balance. However, the total fertility rate remains low because of a mismatch between the main targets of policy: couples in which both partners are regular employees, particularly in big cities, and the actual reasons for low fertility. These reasons are: (1) increasing hesitation among young adults to get married because of deteriorating employment opportunities and (2) the heavy financial burdens on families where mothers are either homemakers or part-time workers and on families that face the dual burden of childrearing and educational costs. Therefore, in addition to the childcare and work-life balance approach, policies likely to increase fertility should focus on lightening the financial burdens of parenthood and education and on improving employment options and opportunities for single young adults.


Low fertility countermeasures Childcare facility Work-life balance Education cost 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chukyo UniversityNagoyaJapan

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