Policy Responses to Population-Declining Society: Development and Challenges of Family Policies in Japan


With declining fertility and an increasingly aging population, Japan faces a critical turning point in terms of family policy. These demographic changes, which have occurred against a backdrop of long-term economic stagnation, have strained many current social programs including universal health care and the national pension plan to the breaking point and threaten continued erosion of Japan’s safety net. In response, the Japanese government has implemented various policies and mounted campaigns aimed at increasing total fertility rate and overall family well-being in order to secure a more robust labor force, today and in the future, to support Japan’s aging population. Yet the effectiveness of such policies has been undermined by social norms, gender ideologies, and values that are deeply entrenched in Japanese culture. In this chapter, we present an overview of current Japanese family policies with relevant background information and identify challenges to family policy development and implementation in Japan.


Aging Demographic changes Fertility Ie system Japan 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human DevelopmentWashington State University VancouverVancouverUSA
  2. 2.G30 Human Sciences Undergraduate Degree ProgramOsaka UniversitySuita-city, OsakaJapan

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